We will be delighted to show you Lithuania's treasured port city, formerly known as Memel, on our Jewish Klaipeda Tour. Lithuania’s third largest city will captivate you with its tranquil lagoon, the white sand beaches, and its distinct German flavour.
The city was founded by Teutonic knights on the mouth of the river Danė, where they found a strategic advantage point. The Klaipeda Castle, now partially reconstructed, was built in 1252.The Castle’s Towers offer a beautiful panoramic view extending across the city.
The Old Town of Klaipeda reflects the strong German influence left after their ruling. A large number of old houses were built in the typical German, wood-framed Fachwerk, giving Klaipeda a warm fisherman’s town’s atmosphere.
Klaipeda’s Jewish Heritage represents an essential part of our tour, since like most important cities in almost every European country, Klaipeda too has a rich Jewish history. Jews settled down in Klaipeda around the 15th century, and where expelled in 1567. With a few exceptions, Jews were only allowed to come to the city for short periods of time for business reasons, until 1812, when emancipation was granted to the Jews of Prussia, and limitations applied to their stay in the city were lifted. In 1823 the Jewish community consecrated the first Jewish institution in the city, a cemetery.
In the middle of the 19th century, both the German and the polish-Lithuanian Jews, founded their own synagogue, while the Jewish hospital was erected in 1870.
The Jewish population grew exponentially in the period after World War I, and when the region was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1939, almost all of Klaipėda’s 7,000 Jews managed to escape to Lithuania. Nevertheless, they didn’t manage to escape from the Nazi terror: as the war between Germany and the Soviet Union broke out in June 1941, Lithuania was occupied by the Germans, and soon afterwards almost all the Jews were deported. Some returned in 1945, and by 1967, the Jewish population numbered about 1,000.
The Sinagogų gatvę (the streets of Synagogues), home of the local Jewish Community and the remnants of the former Jewish Cemetery form what is the continuation of the Jewish life in Klaipeda.
This Jewish tour will not skip some of the major city highlights. You will have a chance to see the central point of the city is the Drama Theatre Square, home of the neoclassic Drama Theatre, and a typical meeting point for the locals. Located on the same square is the symbol of the city, the famous monument to Taravos Anike, a character from a popular German folk song, yet another example of the strong German cultural influence.
Another eye-catching site is the educational vessel Meridian, offering a marine exposition and the means to learn all about Meridian’s structure, gadgets used on the ship and its former voyages.
When it comes to entertainment, Klaipeda may boast with dolphin shows and maritime exhibitions within the Lithuanian Sea Museum situated in a 19th-century fort.
Embark on a both thrilling and relaxing journey through Klaipeda’s past and present with our Jewish Klaipeda Tour!