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Jewish History Tours in Vilnius

Jewish History Tours in Vilnius

Vilnius was once known as a hub for Jewish learning and culture, with a thriving community of Talmudic scholars, rabbis, intellectuals, artists, and educators. And, though the city’s Jewish community was decimated during World War II, evidence of its rich Jewish heritage remains. See below to discover more about Vilnius’ Jewish history.

Jewish History in Vilnius

For more than 600 years, the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius was a major Jewish intellectual center. Prior to World War II, the city was home to between 60,000 and 100,000 Jewish residents and 100 synagogues. During the war, however, the Nazis all but obliterated its Jewish population, instantly extinguishing a once rich and vibrant culture.

Ways to Learn About Jewish History in Vilnius

  • Take a walking tour of Old Town and learn about key Jewish figures from Vilnius’ history, such as Gaon of Vilna, a famous Talmudic scholar.

  • Explore the former Jewish ghettos of Vilnius —Big and Little ghettos—where the city’s Jewish population were kept prior to the Nazi’s “liquidation” of the area.

  • See the still-functioning Choral Synagogue of Vilnius, the only synagogue in the city to have survived World War II and Soviet rule.

  • Spot vestiges of the once-thriving Jewish community of Vilnius, such as Yiddish shop signs.

  • Visit sites where important Jewish institutions once stood, such as the Great Synagogue of Vilna, which was damaged in World War II and was later demolished by the Soviets.

  • Browse exhibits detailing the art and culture of Lithuanian Jews at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.

  • Take a moment of silence at the Flame of Hope monument, situated in the courtyard of the old Vilnius Ghetto Council, which memorializes the Lithuanian Jews killed in the Holocaust.

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3 Tours and Activities

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Private Jewish Vilnius Tour

Private Jewish Vilnius Tour

star-5
7
Enhance your experience of Vilnius’ enchanting Old Town on a private 3-hour tour of the city’s most picturesque district. With a knowledgeable guide, stroll the ambient tangle of streets and gain fascinating insight into the city’s rich Jewish heritage. Hear of influential Jewish figures like the Gaon of Vilna and admire an incredible architectural array steeped in religious history. Receive the undivided attention of your guide on this private and customizable tour.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$90.88
Price varies by group size
From
$90.88
Price varies by group size

Regular 2 hr walking tour of Jewish Vilnius

Regular 2 hr walking tour of Jewish Vilnius

star-5
73
If you don’t know the history behind the Jewish quarter of Lithuania’s capital city, you could miss out on a lot while exploring on your own. Opt instead to travel with a guide during this Vilnius Jewish cultural tour, and listen to stories from WWII. Walk on foot through the former Jewish quarter, and gain a better understanding for the significance of this area.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$14.54
From
$14.54

Vilnius Signs of History: Long Way to Freedom

Vilnius Signs of History: Long Way to Freedom

Go in-depth into Lithuania's history during this walking tour of Vilnius. With a guide in the lead providing insightful historical commentary, you'll learn much more than you would simply wandering around the capital on your own. With special emphasis on the past Soviet occupation, current inclusion in the European Union, and the events of the 50 intervening years, you'll get a full picture of this complex country.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$12.12
From
$12.12