The World of Shtetls

Lublin Region

August 13-17, 2017

In order to fully understand the pre-war Jewish life in Poland and sense the spirit of the long gone culture, it is important to visit its provincial areas. It was there in the Lublin Region, where Jewish culture once flourished in dozens of its multicultural small towns - the shtetls. This is the place where tradition meets modernity and the past merges into the present. On this tour we will take you to an amazing journey through the little towns and cities located in the landscape of the Lublin Region. You will follow the traces of heritage, enjoy the beauty of the nature, taste the traditional cuisine and relax in the peaceful surroundings.

DAY 1, August 13th: Introduction to Lublin Region’s traditional culture

till 14.00 Arrival to Lublin*, accommodation in Ilan**** Hotel

Ilan**** Hotel is located in the historical building of Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, which formerly served as the largest and most prestigious rabbinical school in the world. Its Jewish traditions remained and are now combined with the highest quality and standard of service. Ilan**** Hotel can be found right in the center of Lublin, not 800 meters from the Old Town, which makes it an ideal starting point of a great trip around the city and its numerous cultural and historical sights. Ilan**** Hotel provides kosher food.

* Participants organize their travel to and back from Lublin on their own.

14.00 meeting with your guide in the hotel lobby and beginning of a tour

Skansen. The Open Air Village Museum in Lublin located in the valley of Czechówka River is one of the biggest open air museums in Poland. Owing to its rich architecture, exhibits and also the concern of intangible heritage of the region, it shows the cultural diversity of the province. It gathers items related to the former life in the village, in the manor and in the small town. It also preserves the knowledge about customs, rituals, traditions and everyday work of people living in the past.
Visit: open-air exhibitions reflecting the landscape and ethnographic diversification of Lublin region: Lublin Upland, Roztocze, Vistula Region, Podlasie and Bug Region, provincial town.

Dinner - traditional Polish cuisine

Night in Lublin

DAY 2, August 14th: Jerusalem of Polish Kingdom: Lublin

Jewish District of Lublin. The oldest mention of the Jewish settlement in Lublin dates back to the 14th c. The Jewish city flourished for centuries around the royal castle and the Old Town, the center of today's Lublin. The traditional community changed quickly at the end of the 18th c. with the settlement of Rabbi Yaakov Itzhak Horowitz, the Seer of Lublin, on the outskirts of the city.
Visit: the area of the former Jewish district in the Old Town.

The "Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre" Center. The center is a local government cultural institution which research and collects data about the Jewish city of Lublin. In its activities, the Centre draws on the symbolic and historical significance of its residence, the Grodzka Gate, also known as the Jewish Gate.

Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin. Opened in June 1930, Lublin yeshiva was the dream project of Rabbi Meir Shapiro, who became the first head of the school. Its impressive building survived the war and in 2006 a synagogue was reopened in its interiors.

Old Jewish Cemetery. Known to be established as early as in 15th c., it is the oldest Jewish cemetery still existing in Poland. Destructed during WWII and neglected in the post-war period, it still holds some precious tombstones with the matzevah of Seer of Lublin among them.

Dinner - Jewish restaurant

Night in Lublin

DAY 3, August 15th: Charm of Vistula Region: Kuzmir and Naleczow

Travel to Kazimierz Dolny

Kazimierz Dolny (Kuzmir on Vistula). The Jewish settlement in this town is known to have existed already in the times of King Casimir the Great, who in the 14th c. granted privileges to the Polish Jews. Legend has it that in this town King Casimir had a romance with a Jewish girl called Ester. In the 19th c. tzadik Ezechiel ben Zvi-Hirsch Taub settled here and made hasidism the mainstream among Kazimierz’s Jews.
Visit: The synagogue (today museum), the Jewish cemetery and the lapidarium, the main square and its historical buildings and the Three Crosses Hill (viewpoint to the town and Vistula river).

Travel Naleczow

Naleczow. We will take a short break from the Jewish stories for an opportunity to enjoy one of the most popular health resorts in Poland. The microclimate here encourages treatment and regeneration of the body and gives a perfect conditions for relaxation and recreation. Naleczow offers modern SPA facilities, a swimming pool complex and variety of body wellness and beauty treatments. One of the main attractions of Naleczow is its beautiful 18th century park, the heart of the town, surrounded by dozens of historic villas.
Visit: SPA complex, 18th century park.

Dinner in Naleczow

Travel to Lublin

Night in Lublin

DAY 4, August 16th: Shtetls and ideal town in the province: Szczebrzeszyn, Jozefow, Zamosc

Travel to Szczebrzeszyn

Szczebrzeszyn (Shebreshin). The oldest mention of a Jewish community there dates back to the 15th c. Within a few centuries, Jews dealing mainly with crafts and trade settled around the main square. In the 16th c., a cemetery was established on the outskirts of the town’s centre. Today, it is one of the oldest and biggest preserved cemeteries in Poland, holding hundreds of tombstones.
Visit: the synagogue building (today culture centre), Jewish cemetery and the memorial for the victims of mass execution on the site.

Travel to Jozefow

Jozefow. The Jewish settlement there was established with the town, in the 18th c. In the 19th c., Becalel Waks established the first Hebrew printing house in Jozefow. Within the next few decades, the town became famous as the most active printing centre in the Lublin Region, having over half of its Jewish population working in printing and involved in selling books.
Visit: the synagogue building (today a library), Jewish cemetery, quarry, execution site and the memorial in the forest.

Travel to Zamosc

Zamosc. A UNESCO World Heritage site. Zamosc was established in the 16th c. as an ideal renaissance town. Jews settled in Zamosc shortly after its establishment and within a few decades they became an important and influential community in the town. Among the many famous names that originate from its Jewish community, you can find the important Yiddish author I. L. Peretz and the 19th century socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.
Visit: The renaissance main square, the Jewish quarter in the Old Town and the renaissance synagogue (today culture centre), the building of the mikvah and the lapidarium at the new cemetery site.

Travel to Lublin

Dinner - concert/theatre show

Night in Lublin

DAY 5, August 17th: Departure

Visit to the Museum of the History of Lublin in the Royal Castle (Romanesque tower called a donjon and the Gothic Holy Trinity Royal Chapel)

12.00 check out from the hotel, the end of the tour

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PRICE: 1650 PLN in a twin room

           1950 PLN in a single room


  • accommodation in Ilan**** Hotel

  • half-board (4 breakfasts, 4 dinners), all dinners served in top local restaurants

  • transportation with comfortable minibus/bus

  • one concert/theatre show

  • entrance tickets

  • meetings with people involved in Polish-Jewish dialogue, education and heritage preservation

  • experienced local guide

  • travel insurance


  • cost of travel to and back from Lublin is not included in the price of the trip

  • price does not include entrance to SPA Naleczow (optional) 

The program in conducted in English


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