In the Footsteps of Jewish Writers
Imperial Kiev through Habsburg Galicia and Bukovina
- See the stomping grounds of the great Jewish writers and their creations.
- Stroll the thoroughfares and grand boulevards of the once “Jewish metropolis” of Kiev.
- Take in Ukraine’s unexpected mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Soviet styles.
- Explore charming towns with warrens of medieval streets imbued with the faded charm of pastel Habsburg splendor.
Itinerary – 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Kiev, Ukraine
Depart on an overnight flight. Arrive in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine and the mother city of the medieval Kievan Rus Slavic state. Today this modern city on the Dnipro (Dnieper) River is a city of 3 million, encompassing countless architectural and artistic treasures. Discover the city’s role in the birth of modern Yiddish literature from the early days to its peak as the center of the radical movement for new Jewish literature and art.
Hotel Premier Palace* (D)
Day 3 — Kiev
Today we explore the town Sholem Aleichem fictionalized as Yehupetz in his work. We’ll discover Kiev’s classic sites beginning with a visit to St. Sophia Cathedral and Monastery—a medieval architectural marvel. Then, wend down the Andreevsky Descent into Kiev’s historically Jewish Podol neighborhood. The charming Descent, largely unchanged since the 19th century, is a wonderful place to stroll and shop. Following lunch, discover the city’s rich Jewish heritage as we explore the Podol. Admire the newly-restored Great Choral Synagogue as well as the Podol shul. We’ll end the day with a visit to the Sholem Aleichem Museum. Enjoy a free evening to discover the city.
Day 4 — Kiev/Chernivtsi
Spend the morning exploring underground labyrinths dug by monks at the Caves Monastery and read the early stories of I.J. Singer that take place in Kiev’s Jewish quarters. Then, we’ll head to the airport for a short flight to Chernivtsi (formerly, Czernowitz). This city on the Prut River, nestled in the Carpathian Mountains has, in the last century, been Austrian, Romanian, Soviet, and Ukrainian. The old town still retains the pastel Habsburg buildings of the 18th century. After we arrive in the city and check in to our hotel, we’ll gather in the evening for a group dinner at a local restaurant.
Hotel Georg Palace* (B,L)
Day 5 — Chernivtsi
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll spend a full day in this multi-ethnic city, visiting its visually-striking university (which in Austro-Hungarian times was predominantly Jewish) and the Armenian Cathedral. Because of its multilingual nature, Chernivtsi was the site of the Yiddish Language Conference and we’ll examine the phenomenon of Yiddishism at the Jewish National House, constructed for the event in 1908. We’ll read the work of I.L. Perets (the keynote speaker at the conference) and the poetry of the great, peripatetic Yiddish poet Itzik Manger. Then, we visit the home of Manger’s schoolmate, the genius of modern German poetry, Paul Celan.
Day 6 — Chernivtsi/Kolomyia/Yaremche
Depart for Yaremche, stopping en route in Kolomyia to explore Itzik Manger’s childhood home. We’ll wander through this prototypical Galician shtetl that once boasted a Jewish majority before visiting the quaint Pysanka Museum dedicated to the ancient Ukrainian folk art of hand-painted eggs. After lunch, we stop for a poetry reading at the tiny hamlet of Stopchativ before arriving in the spa town of Yaremche in the evening.
Yaremcha Club Hotel* (B,L)
Day 7 — Yaremche/Ivano-Frankivsk/Lviv
Long a favorite resort destination — especially of well-heeled Galicianers — Yaremche sits in the heart of the Carpathians. The village is preserved in the typical style of the Hutsuls (Carpathian highlanders), with wooden buildings and red clay tiles. Browse the market where Hutsul arts and crafts can be found before setting out for Ivano-Frankivsk (in Yiddish, Stanislav or Stanisle), once the first stop for Galician Jews on the way into the wider world. After lunch in the city, tour the old market square with its Art Deco former city hall, the pink and lavender medical school, and the lovely Great Synagogue. We continue onto Lviv, arriving in the early evening.
Hotel Leopolis* (B,D)
Day 8 — Lviv
The capital of Galicia, through the years known by its diverse citizens as Lemberik in Yiddish, Lwów to the Poles, Lemberg to the Germans, and Lvov in Russian, today Lviv is the most beautiful city in Ukraine. Well-preserved buildings grace the central square of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We begin exploring the wide, tree-lined Prospekt Svobody (Freedom Avenue) by the old cobbled Market Square. In the evening, schedules permitting, attend a performance at the grand Lviv Opera.
Day 9 — Lviv/Galician Shtetlakh
After breakfast we set off for the Galician towns nearby. We’ll stop in Drohobych, whose rich historical and cultural heritage is evidenced by the city’s stunning architecture. Drohobych is the hometown of the great Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz whose work we’ll read at his childhood home before continuing on to Truskavets, a natural springs spa resort in the Carpathian foothills. Bring a little glass to take the waters; the town is famed for its curative, if pungent, mineral waters whose healing powers attract visitors from around the world. We’ll return to our hotel in the evening and say goodbye to Ukraine at our farewell dinner with live music by local klezmorim.
Day 10 — Lviv/Vienna, Austria
This morning we’ll take in the fabled Jewish history of Lviv, including a visit to the recently refurbishd synagogue. While only around 7,000 Jews live here today (compared to well over 100,000 in 1939), the old Jewish Quarter is beginning to see a reemergence. After lunch, transfer to the airport for a flight to the glorious city of Vienna. On arrival, we’ll head to the hotel and enjoy a free evening in Freud’s City of Dreams.
Day 11 — Vienna/Home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight or relax in Vienna with an optional two-night extension. (B)
August 26–September 5, 2012
|26 Aug: Kiev||31 Aug: Yaremche|
|27 Aug: Kiev||1 Sept: Lviv|
|28 Aug: Kiev||2 Sept: Lviv|
|29 Aug: Chernivtsi||3 Sept: Lviv|
|30 Aug: Chernivtsi||4 Sept: Vienna|
*Hotels listed on this itinerary are based on availability. Should a particular hotel become unavailable, an equivalent hotel will be booked instead.
A two-day, post-trip extension. Add on a full-day tour of Vienna plus an additional free day to explore the city.
Dr. Rob Adler Peckerar
Rob Adler Peckerar is a pioneer of Jewish cultural travel throughout Europe. He is the author of numerous articles about Yiddish literature and cultural memory. He began leading tours to the sites of illustrious Jewish life as the director of education at the National Yiddish Book Center. As professor of Jewish literature and culture at the University of Colorado, he lectured on Jewish cultural history and world Jewish literature and created a residential study program on Jewish arts and literature in Venice, Italy. He is the executive director of Yiddishkayt.
|Footsteps of Jewish Writers||$4,495|
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $795. International round trip airfare from originating city is not included in the expedition pricing. Economy airfare from Los Angeles to Kiev and return from Lviv-Vienna is from $960 (subject to change). Optional, personally-guided excursions to requested towns, cities, and villages can be arranged, in advance, at extra cost.
Rates reflect cash discount and are based on receiving final payment by check or wire transfer. Final payments buy credit card are subject to a 3% convenience fee.
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