A visit to Portugal wouldn’t automatically open up the vastly significant moments and contributions of the Jewish Communities. Our journey will provide the keys. Spend quality time in the picturesque climate and indulgent culture and learn about arts, philosophy, commerce and sciences added to significantly by the Jews. Marranos, Bnai Anusim, Secret Jews and more await you.
Wednesday Lisbon, Thursday Evora & Marvao
After meeting your tour guide at the airport you will immediately be taken through the panoramic delights and Jewish soul of the capital of Portugal and one of the most charming capitals of all Europe. Wednesday and Thursday’s key moments will include:
- The site of the 1506 Jewish Massacre
- The Castle of Saint George (with the best panoramic view of the city)
- The well preserved Jewish Quarter in Alfama.
- The Shaare Tikvá Syagogue and the Commerce Square
- Belém Tower and the Monument to the Discoveries
- Sintra, classified by UNESCO and one of the most romantic places in Europe.
- Dinner and overnight at NEYA LISBOA ECO HOTEL****
- Évora, delightful Portuguese city that is situated in the heart of Alentejo region with Diana Roman temple and Praça do Giraldo
- Castelo de Vide
- Marvão, medieval walled town, one of Portugal’s treasures known for its narrow streets and picturesque recesses, its Manueline pillory, and its Gothic windows and wrought iron balconies.
- Dinner and overnight at the HOTEL TRYP COLINA DO CASTELO****
Friday Tomar & Coimbra , Shabbat Belmonte
We continue to follow the paths of triumph, salvation and destruction before a mesmerising Shabbat with Rabbi Morris and a shrinking Jewish Community with one of the most unique stories in the world. Highlights will include:
- Departure to Tomar, in the ‘Costa de Prata’ region (Silver Coast region). Former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar, Tomar is a city of great charm for its artistic and cultural wealth
- The synagogue was originally built in 1430 when the local Jewish community came to prominence. It was situated in the heart of what was then the Judearia. There is also an ancient Mikvah to see.
- Coimbra, the old university town, charming and romantic ancient capital of Portugal with the old university, Universidade, that shelters one of the most ancient libraries in Europe.
- Check in to Hotel Sinai****
- Shabbat with the Local Community
Check out of the Hotel.
Finish the journey in Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal and world famous for its wine. With the Douro river at his feet, Porto is a fascinating city where their ancient and contemporary architecture, its bridges and the preserved historic center are distinguished in the landscape. It is one of the oldest European Centers, and registered as a UNESCO World Heritage since 1996. Its origins date back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire.
The history of the Jews in Oport is still somewhat obscure. A document dated from 1362 makes a reference to a synagogue near Aldas street, close to one of the gates to the city. Short panoramic tour to the historical Centre, the Cathedral, Clerigos Tower, the Sinagoga Mekor Haim (Hot lunch and meeting with community leaders) and the Lello & Irmão Library. Visit to the Church of São Francisco, originally dated back to the XIV century, impresses with its majestic gilded interior, constituting one of the most important works of the Baroque in Portugal. Continue with a visit to the famous Stock Exchange Palace, designed by the will of portuenses merchants in order to develop and regulate their trade relations.
Brief walking tour along the typical Ribeira district, part of the Historic Center, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
Return to Airport in time for outbound flight.
When Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, some fled by sea to Morocco or Italy, others remained and converted, while the rest went by land to Portugal, where there already was a comparatively small Jewish community from centuries earlier. It was a place of refuge for these Jews until 1496, when king Emanuel expelled them once again. However, this time around, the Jews weren’t really allowed to leave, but were instead converted en masse, and forced to stay put as Catholics.
There is still much to learn and explore, join an expert in the field for an unforgettable journey and an uplifting Shabbat.