Jewish heritage Turkey-Bulgaria 9 days
The tours takes you step-by-step through the Jewish (or formerly Jewish) neighborhoods of Istanbul, Edirne, Plovdiv, Sofia,, Some of non-Jewish sites of importance in the same neighborhoods are also mentioned.
Day 01 Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul, assistance and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in istanbul.
Day 02 Istanbul (B-L)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, visit the neighborhood of galata where many of the jews fleeing from spanish inquisition in 1492 settled. Visit the Galata tower, built by the genoese in 1303. Continue to Neve shalom synagogue, the biggest one in Istanbul, bulit in 1951 for the sepharadic jews. In the afternoon, visit the Hippodrome, Blue mosque and Topkapi palace. Overnight in istanbul.
Day 03 Istanbul - Edirne (B-L)
Early breakfast at the hotel and check-out. departure for edirne, the second capital of ottoman empire situated in the northwest of turkey with borders with greece and bulgaria.visit the great synagogue of edirne restored by the prime ministry general directorate of foundations (opened on thursday, 26 march 2015) the great synagogue is one of the most important faith centres of edirne, hosting the houses of worship of three sacred religions. it was built with the permission of the ottoman government and the edict of abdulhamid ii in january 1906. it is the largest synagogue in balkans, and the third largest in europe. the restoration of the synagogue was initiated in 2010 in the scope of the reforms addressing the religious freedom and social life requirements of various religious groups in turkey. the synagogue is opened for service after five years of effort.possibility to visit selimiye mosque, the symbol of edirne. carrying the name of the then reigning sultan selim ii, the mosque was built by famous architect sinan. architect sinan finished the construction in 1575, when he was 85 and considered selimiye mosque to be his “master piece”. its huge dome is even higher than that of hagia sophia. selimiye mosque is the crown of edirne with its simple but glorious existence. unesco added selimiye mosque and its social complex to its world heritage list on june 27, 2011. overnight in edirne.
Day 04 Edirne / Plovdiv (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Departure for Plovdiv. upon arrival sightseeing tour of Plovdiv, including the synagogue in Plovdiv this is one of the ancient monuments in the city. The first data date back to the third, fourth century ad, when Plovdiv is called thrace. it was found an inscription in greek and drawing a gold sedmochislenik / menorah / a colored mosaic floor, dating from the third, fourth century ad. Our archeologists exploring the cultural monuments in the city said that it is a valuable cultural monument. After that visit of the old city complex, including the roman theatre lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon - visit of the impressive bachkovo monastery (35km), the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria. back to Plovdiv. Free time. Dinner and overnight in Plovdiv.
Day 05 Plovdiv – Veliko turnovo - Rousse(B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Proceed to Kazanluk - the valley of the roses. Sightseeing tour of the city, visiting the museum of the roses, an unique thracian tomb and the shipka monastery complex dedicated to the liberators of Bulgaria. Lunch in Kazanluk. Proceed to Veliko turnovo - the capital of medieval Bulgaria. Sightseeing tour of Veliko turnovo - visit of the royal palace and fortress, where in 14th century, the Bulgarian king tsar ivan alexander (1331-1371), which governs these gatherings, is married to ... Jewish. this is the queen sarah, the mother of the last medieval Bulgarian ruler shishman (1371-1396). Before the wedding she is baptized and took the name theodora. Rather, it is the initiator of these gatherings. Several monasteries and churches from 13-14 century are included as wll in the sightseeing program. Lunch. In the afternoon half-day excursion to arbanassi - impressive small village with traditional Bulgarian houses and churches from 13-14 century. Back to Veliko turnovo. Free time for shopping in the samovodksa charshia street where you can find a diversity of art craft and handmade souvenirs. Proceed to rousse. Dinner and overnight in Rousse.
Day 06 Rousse (B-L)
Breakfast at the hotel. City tour of Rousse. Visit of the world famous writer elias canetti’s house (he was a Bulgarian-born novelist and non-fiction writer of sephardi jewish ancestry who wrote in German. He won the nobel prize in literature in 1981). Sightseeing tour of the city, on the danube bridge. Lunch. Visit of the ivanovo monastery, included in the list of unesco (in contrast to the traditional monastery complex which consists of 1-2 churches and a residential part, the ivanovo monastery represents a network of small churches, chapels and cells hewn into the rocks, 32m above the waters of the picturesque canyon of the roussenski lom river.). Overnight in Rousse.
Day 07 Rousse - Sofia (B-L-D)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Proceed to Sofia. Sightseeing tour of Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria. Places of interest - the biggest orthodox cathedral on the balkan peninsula "Alexander nevski", roman ruins of serdica 3 c., the saint george rotunda church 4 c., the saint sofia basilica church 5 c., the small so called Russian church, the national theatre "Ivan vazov", national gallery of fine arts (former royal palace), the parliament, sofia university. After the visit of the saint george rotunda church, the program continues with the visit of the sofia synagogue - the largest in Bulgaria and the third largest in europe after those in Budapest and Amsterdam. It was built in 1909 at the old synagogue and ahab hased. The style of the building is spanish-moorish and resembles a synagogue destroyed by the nazis in Vienna. The church can hold up to 1300 pilgrims, and the chandelier is the largest in the country and weighs 2 tons. Recently, the synagogue was renovated with funds provided by the state of Israel as well as from private donations. From may 1992 at the temple also functions to the jewish historical museum organizatsiyaata of Bulgarian jews shalom. The museum is a continuation of the earlier exhibition "rescue of bulgarian jews 1941-1944. Lunch. Dinner at bulgarian traditional folklore restaurant. Overnight in sofia.
Day 08 Sofia - Istanbul (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. proceed to Istanbul. Arrival, free afternoon. Overnight in istanbul.
Day 09 Istanbul - Airport (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out (latest check-out time is 12:00 hours). Departure transfer to the airport to catch the flight to the next destination.