Suggested Private Excursions for Budapest
Budapest- Jewish Heritage Tour in Budapest
A brief history of the
Jews in Hungary:
The earliest traces of Jewish communities in Hungary date back to the 11th century. Jews were granted rights to liberty and freedom of worship by Béla IV after the Tatar invasion. They were renowned for being the treasurers and chamberlains of the royal administration from 1220. The medieval Mint stood near Szt. György Square in the Buda Castle and the first Jewish quarter was formed here. One can still see the remains of a medieval Jewish prayer house - with original tomb stones from the time - in the former 'Judengasse' a short walk from the Mathias church. When Buda was recaptured from the Turks in 1686, the Jews were also expelled. In the 18th century they helped to create a flourishing industrial city in Ancient Buda (Óbuda) and near today's Árpád bridge with famous dyeing workshops and a textile factory established by the reputed Goldberger family. The late 18th century witnessed the birth of new Jewish communities in Pest and the then largest synagogue in the world was constructed between 1854 and 1859 on what is today called Dohány Street. During the Second World War 600,000 of the 724,000-strong Jewish population in Hungary perished in Nazi concentration camps.
We drive our guests to St. Stephen's Park to see the WWII Victims' Memorial in New Leopold Town - a former middle class Jewish District and then we drive back to downtown to see the World's second largest and Europe's largest Synagogue, the Dohany street Synagogue, with seating for 3000. It was built in the middle of the 19th century in Romantic style for the around 30,000 Jewish community of Pest mainly living in this part of the town. The onion domes are strikingly Oriental-Byzantine, as is the facade: the patterns in the brickwork were inspired by ancient ruins in the Middle East. But for all its exoticism, the design also expresses 19th century Hungarian Jews' aspirations toward assimilation. The twin towers evoke church steeples, and the organ inside the synagogue is a clear concession to Christian tradition. It's gigantic hall rests on cast iron columns and arches - a real architectural novelty at that time. A visit the Jewish Museum in the adjacent building is also included. The museum displays items from the 18th and 19th centuries, from both Hungary and abroad, grouped according to the holiday or occasion on which they were used.
Next to the main building lie the arcades of the Jewish Heroes' Mausoleum and Temple in memory of the thousands of Jewish martyrs who died during the Second World War and the ghetto, created here by German troops during the war.
We also show our guests the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Garden with our beautiful Holocaust Memorial - the Tree of Life. The monument was created by Imre Varga - a well-known Hungarian contemporary sculptor. Tony Curtis has donated a million Dollars for the construction of the Monument. Our knowledgeable guides explain about the horror of the nazi occupation, the deportations and the liberation of the ghetto.
Evening program: Dinner at the famous Gundel restaurant, (optional) and/or Evening River cruise on the Danube river with all the illuminated sights of Budapest (1 hr., 2 drink included) (optional)
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Suggested Private Excursion operated by an independent third party provider
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