Our specialty is to help people to discover their Heritage. In Ukraine, there are many shtetls and routes people traveled. It might not be your exact heritage, but check itineraries we have already designed for clients. Here you can see sample of our work, see places to visit and things to do, distances to travel and get an idea on approximate prices.
Most likely you will have to arrive Kiev and start sightseeing there and then travel to your destination in Ukraine. If you want to see other Ukrainian cities, we recommend Odessa on the Black Sea and Lviv in Western Ukraine. Odessa is a beautiful city port built by French Governor De Ribas. Most people see it in one day from Black Sea cruise but it is worth to spend at least few nights there. It is very different cosmopolitan city, mix of Germans, Greek, Jews, Russians, Ukrainians lived there. Even Sylvester Stallone has heritage linked to Odessa!
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine and it is a beautiful city. It has a long history of Jewish settlements. There has been an important Jewish community in Kiev for more than a thousand years. At the turn of the 20th Century, Kiev was one of the most important centers of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. Jewish synagogues, schools, businesses and markets were prominently represented in a city where Jewish businessmen, engineers, scientists, teachers, doctors, lawyers, writers, artists and tailors all lived and prospered. Israeli political leaders Golda Meir and Ephraim Katzir, as well as the Soviet poet Ilya Ehrenburg were born in Kyiv. Renowned Jewish writers Sholom Aleichem and Isaac Babel and poet Osip Mandelstam lived for long periods in the city. The construction of many beautiful buildings, such as Bessarabskyi Market and the Kyiv Region Hospital, was financed by wealthy Jewish patrons. Babi Yar, memorial commemorates the sad history of which is well known all over the world.
Besides Jewish History, the city boasts beautiful cathedrals:
Saint Sophia Cathedral a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE see the magnificent mosaic architecture. Climb the steps to the Bell Tower for a panoramic view over Kiev and see the many Golden Domes on the horizon. The cathedral is one of Ukraine's national treasures, visit the ancient entrance to the city Golden Gate, the tour will take you to Saint Andrews Cathedral built in the year 752 the church stands on a hill overlooking the Dnipro River it is listed as a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.
Pechersk Lavra Monastery is UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE also known as Kiev Monastery Caves since its construction in 1051 a monastery and cave were excavated for the monk's desired life of seclusion and prayer. It has been the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. The site is 70 acres in size with 11 Churches and religious structures. Here you will see the golden domed temples and old frescoes preserved on the cave walls. Underground vaults shelter 123 Saints resting in coffins for many centuries; today the relics are worshiped by thousands of Christians from around the world. During the last century many historical structures have been restored to their former glory. The great Golden Bell Tower can be seen from miles away.
Lviv was founded in 13C by Prince Danylo Galitsky of Galicia, named after his son Leo, therefore name Lviv (Lion). It has more of Western Polish culture since for years it has been part of Austro-Hungarian empire and then Poland. After WWII, the Soviets annexed Galicia and it became part of Soviet Union. It is one of the most European cities in Ukraine (Odessa has French influence and Lviv has Austro-Hungarian, Polish influence). It has rich history and many Unesco world heritage sites.
As for Jewish history, it goes back to pre-WWII when it was large Jewish population in the city and shtetles nearby. But most of them were killed in Lviv ghetto or sent and perished in concentration camps Janowska near Lviv or Belzec, Poland. After war there left tiny Jewish community, but after collapse of Soviet Union, Jewish life is back.You will see sites like Golden Rose synagogue, old Jewish Hospital and the Jewish Quarter ("Staroevereiskaia Street"). From Lviv it is a short flight to Warsaw if you want to continue your Jewish Heritage tour to Poland.
Suggested sites in Lviv for touring:
Former Golden Rose Synagogue
Former Hassidic Synagogue (the functioning Jewish community Center)
Former Jewish hospital founded by Rappaport
Old Jewish quarters
The monument to the victims of the Jewish Ghetto (1992)
The Holocaust memorial (1993)
Sholom Alejchem house with Memorial Plaque
Department of Judaism at the Lviv Museum of History and Religion
So most routes are between these three cities. Usually these trips are combined with neighboring countries (Baltics, Russia, Belorus, Poland).
Here are some itineraries we've done for many years in business for our clients. All tours are private tour, include accommodations and touring and are just for guideline.
3 night Lviv , Volodymyr Volynsky, Zhovkva, 2007, 6 people
Day 1. Arrival Lviv from Warsaw.
Day 2. Trip to Voldymyr – Volynsky (135 km from Lviv) via Zhovkva. Visit one of the oldest and in the past beautiful synagogue. Unfortunately not functioning now, under reconstructions. No Jews left there..Whole day visit of Voldymyr Volynsky , return to Lviv overnight.
Day 3. City tour of Lviv
Day 4. Fly to your next destination
3 days in Kiev, 2009, 2 people
Arrival Kiev, transfer to hotel.
Day 2. City tour with a visit of Jewish sites including 2 Synagogues (Brodsky and Podol), Baby Yar - near former Jewish cemetery site. 6 hrs
Day 3. Sholom Aleichem Museum, Lavra Monastery with an exchibition of Jewish silver ritual objects, visit of Hatikva center, 8 hrs
Day 4, Departure to airport home.
7 nights in Kiev , Lviv and site trips to Malyn, Ukrainka, Komarno (shtetls), 2009, 4 people
Day 1. Arrival Kiev, transfer to hotel
Day 2. 9:30am. Meet your guide in the lobby of hotel. Morning City Tour including St. Sophia Cathedral and Monastery in caves and Babi Yar Memorial, Jewish Heritage of Kiev tour includes visit to central Brodsky Synagogue, Old Podil with Synagogue, memorial to Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel, Sholom Aleichem monument. Afternoon: Chernobyl Museum (Malyn is in the zone that was affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe.
Day 3. Full Day Trip to Malyn (shtetl)
Day 4. Half day trip to Ukrainka Village (shtetl), 5-6 hours, transfer to train station, 17:00 train to Lviv, arrival 23:30, transfer to hotel
Day 5. Lviv tour (see sights above)
Day 6. Day trip of Komarno (shtetl)
Day 7. Free day for personal discoveries
Day 8. Fly to Warsaw.
3 nights in Kiev and trip to Uman, Sokolivka and Buki, 2009, 2 people
Day 1. Arrival Kiev from Prague
Day 2. half a day sightseeing of Jewish Kiev
Day 3, full day trip to Uman, Sokolivka and Buki
Day 4, Morning tour of Kiev, afternoon transfer to airport for flight to St. Petersburg.
2 nights Uman - Kiev, Pogrebische, Gaysin, Belaya Tserkov, Skvira, 2008, 2 people
Day 1. Arrival Kiev from St. Petersburg, transfer to Uman, overnight
Day 2. Uman, visit of the burial site of Rebe Nachman and departure for Pogrebische (via Gaysyn, Illintsi). Arrival Pogrebische - a birth place of famous Sadagora Dynasty Rabbi - it was a very important Jewish settlement. Its big wooden Synagogue (not survived) is in the "Best Ukrainian Synagogues collection". Drive to Kiev (via Skvira and Belaya Tserkov), stop for lunch in Belaya Tserkov. Evening arrival Kiev.
Day 3. Jewish Kiev tour in the morning, transfer to airport in the afternoon for flight to London
7 nights in Kiev, Vinnitsa, Uman, Zhitomir, Berdichev, Megjibosh, Golovanevsk and Odessa, 2011, 2 people
Day 1. Arrival from Vilnius, transfer to hotel, half day tour, visit synagogue in the Afternoon
Day 2. Explore Jewish Kiev and St. Sophia Cathedral, Pecherska Lavra monastery
Day 3. Departure for Vinnitza , with stops in Zhitomir, Berdichev and Megjibosh. Visit Hitle's bunker near Vinnitsa. Zhitomir, visit Old Jewish quarter, graves of Reb Wolf, Reb Aaron the Great Maggid, Bogunsky Forest Memorial whichis the site of mass graves & Synagogue. Proceed to Berdichev, once been known as Jerusalem of Volhynia province), where you will have a chance to visit Old Jewish quarter, Synagogue & Jewish cemetery with Tsadik Levy-Yitshok grave. Among the sites, which attract large numbers of Jewish visitors, is Uman where we take you from Berdichev. If time permits, visit Medjibosh with the gravesite of Ba'al Shem. Total distance: Zhitomyr- Berdichev-Khmelnik-Medjibosh-Vinnitsa = 450 km - 8-9 hrs with stops. Arrival Uman in the evening, check into hotel
Day 4. Uman, visit Rebe Nachman's grave and Sophievsky Park
Day 5. Depart from Uman to Odessa via Golovanevsk (7-8 hours)
Day 6. Arrival Odessa, 6 hour Jewish Odessa tour
Day 7. 1/2 day tour of Odessa
Day 8. Fly to Kiev and connect to flight to Paris
4 nights in Kiev - Rovno - Ostrog - Shepetovka - Kiev, 2010, 2 people
Day 1, arrival Kiev, transfer to hotel, free time
Day 2, full day city tour of Kiev
Day 3 Drive to Rovno 5-6 hours, detour to visit Berdichev, Overnight Rovno
Day 4.Visit Ostrog and Shepetovka with local guide
Day 5. Return Kiev
Day 6, fly home
7 days Kiev-Kirovograd, 6 nights, 2010, 2 people
Day 1 arrival in Kiev
Day 2 Kiev sightseeing - 6 hrs (with St Sophia) and Baby Yar
Day 3 Kiev sightseeing - 4 hrs Lavra monastery and Museum of Sholom Aleichem
Day 4 drive to Kirovograd, vila Smela and Znamenka, overnight
Day 5 Kirovograd sightseeing and visits of native sites with local guide/interpreter
Day 6 half day in Kirovograd on your own to explore the city and drive back to Kiev with driver, private car, overnight
Day 7 home bound flight Price
8 nights Kiev - Uman - Kamenets-Podolsky - Ornyn - Chernivtsi - Lviv , 2011, 3 people
1. arrival Kiev
Day 2. Sightseeng Kiev Jewish and regular sites
Day 3. Departure for Vinnitsa, visit Hitler's Bunker, arrival Uman.
Day 4. Uman, visit Rebe Nachman's grave. Uman's famous Sophievsky park
Day 5. Departure Kamenets-Podolsky, stop in Medjibosh with grave of Ba'al Shem Tov. Overnight Kamenets
Day 6, Kamenets, city tour museum-town where Polish, Jewish, Russia, Armenian, Ukrainian culture flourished in the past), followed by departure for Ornyn to visit your family Heritage sites. Back to Kamenets in the evening.
Day 7. Visit Chernivtsi
Day 8. Lviv , Jewish sites
Day 9, fly home from Lviv
5 nights, Kiev with side trip to Radomysl, train to Lviv, 2011, family of 4
Inquire for your itinerary and price.
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