Visit Warsaw, and find out why Poland tourism is on the rise! Once home to the second largest Jewish community in the world (after New York), Poland’s capital is renowned for the courageous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Today, the city is the center of the movement within Poland to re-establish Jewish communities. With the opening of The Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2014, Warsaw is once again becoming a center of Jewish life in Europe.
We begin at the Jewish Historical Institute, a center for the study of the culture and history of Polish Jews, located in the building that once housed both of the Main Judaic Library and Institute of Judaic Studies. Next door was the former Great Synagogue. We will see the Ester Rahel Kaminska State Jewish Theatre, named after ‘the mother of Yiddish theatre.’ The Jewish Cemetery of Warsaw (1806) holds the graves of several important figures. There is also a memorial stone to those who fought in the 1943 ghetto uprising and a memorial to the children who were interned in the ghetto. At the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, it is time to remember the Warsaw ghetto uprising; pieces of the former ghetto walls serve as haunting memorials as well. At the Umschlagplatz Memorial we mourn the loss of 300,000 Warsaw Jews who were deported en masse to Treblinka extermination camp. The memorial structure is reminiscent of a freight car, with representative names of victims on the wall and a tree of hope planted inside one of the walls. This hope has come alive in today’s Jewish community of Warsaw, which is small but vibrant. We will visit the neo-Romanesque Nozyk Synagogue, the only surviving synagogue from the pre-war period. In the 1970s the offices of the Warsaw Jewish Community and the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland were relocated here and presently it houses the offices of ‘Midrasz’, the Jewish monthly newspaper, as well as the Head Rabbi of Warsaw and Poland, making this the center of Jewish life in present day Warsaw. Along the route we will visit several other sites: Castle Square, St. John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market Square, the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, the Monument of Warsaw Uprising, the monument to the Victims of Katyn, the Royal Castle and the Grand Theatre among others.
And now, no visit is complete without a visit to Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews housed in a post-modernist glass building with its multi-media exhibit of Polish Jewish life for the last millennium. We are thrilled to have this museum as an option on our tours!
We also offer tours in Krakow and can design for you tailored programs that include excursions to smaller towns and cities all over Poland.
Warsaw is also one of our many port destinations. If you plan to come to Warsaw by cruise ship, we look forward to arranging for transfer and arrival for your
memorable Warsaw shore excursion!
How to Rebuild a City
After having been destroyed during WWII, Warsaw had to be rebuilt quickly. Learn about the techniques used by 20th century architects in the reconstruction of this medieval city. This tour will lead you through the Old Town and along the Royal Route, starting near the Castle Square and ending near the Academy of Science. You will also visit Mariensztat, a picturesque neighborhood which appeared in the first color film made in Poland.
Why is the oldest skyscraper in Warsaw also known as Stalin's "wedding cake"? Why were communist-designed avenues so wide? The answers to these questions and more will be found and discussed during this tour. You will visit the former headquarters of the communist party, the government district, and a model socialist neighborhood in this exploration of a unique period in Polish history.