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Jewish Historical Tour

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From2,700 €
Price
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5 Days
Availability : Jan 16’ - Dec 16’
Lisbon
O'Porto
Min Age : 9+
Max People : 12
Tour Details

Come with us and discover the Jewish heritage on this tour which we have arranged especially for you.

We share the history of a people who, since early times, have been persecuted by the preconceptions of countries. For a long time they made their mark in history which we now remember.

Welcome!

Departure Location

Lisbon International Airport

Return Location

O’Porto International Airport

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • 4 Nights 4* Half Board Hotel
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location
  • Travel and Hotels Insurance
  • Luxury Tour Vehicle

Price Excludes

  • Air Fares
  • Some Meals (designated in tiitnerary)
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Entrance Fees
  • Free On-Board Wifi
  • On-board Mineral Water
What to Expect

Expect to be dazzled and suprised everyday. You will be visiting Portugal’s most emblematic cities and monuments, with a professional guide taking care of the tour in evey moment.

  • Amazing Monuments, 2500 years of history
  • Great Nightlife in the world safest country
  • Tax-Free Shopping Opportunities
  • Incredible food and wine
  • Friendly and Easygoing people
  • The best selfies you will ever make :-)
Itinerary

Day 1Lisbon

LISBON
One of the most delightful cities in the world, popularized in poetry and by Fado, Lisbon is the Sephardite city of the Iberian Peninsula with the greatest Jewish history. It is the seat of several important families with international Hebrew symbology such as Guedaliah Yahya, Gracia Nassi (Benveniste), Isaac and Judah Abravanel, among others. Walk around Lisbon and learn of the extraordinary history of this people who have fought against the most diverse adversities and never lost their faith.

The community of Lisbon is divided into four Jewish quarters:

o Jewish Quarter of Pedreira – In 1317 this area which was situated in the current Largo do Carmo was extinguished by D. Dinis.
o Old Jewish Quarter- Bordered by Rua Nova, by the churches of S. Nicolau, Madalena and S. Julião;
o Jewish Quarter of Teracenas – Known as the New Jewish Quarter and established by D. Dinis it comprised only one street which was later destroyed on the order of D.
Fenando.
o Jewish Quarter of Alfama – It was started in the 13th century and was built as a district according to the administrative model of the time, as applied to ethnic minorities. They had their own representatives who worked with the royal powers.

The synagogue was constructed in 1373 (in Rua das Judiaria) without royal authority. After the edict of D. Manuel it was decreed that all the Jewish Quarters be extinguished. Currently we can find vestiges of this ancient Jewish quarter on some doors that bear the Star of David. The Jewish street in Alfama is all that remains of this community.

Church of São Domingos in Lisbon – History shows that this church, a former convent, witnessed the massacre of the Jews which was known as the Pogrom of Lisbon or Easter Massacre of 1506.
On 19 April, when the faithful were praying for the end of the drought, hunger and plague that dominated the country, someone swore they saw the face of Christ on the altar. The faithful considered this a miracle, a message from the Messiah. A Christian convert (convert from Judaism) who also attended the Mass, tried to explain that what he had seen was only a reflection of the light. The enraged congregation beat him to death.

Shaaré Tikva Synagogue or “Gates of Hope”
This was the first synagogue to be built from scratch in Portugal after the order to expel the Jews issued by D. Manuel I.
In 1810, there were three small synagogues in private homes and throughout the 19th century numerous attempts were made by the community to create a synagogue.
Only on 4 March 1897 did the Portuguese Jews decide at a general meeting to create a committee for the establishment of a synagogue presided over by Leão Amzalathe first stone.
A project of 1897 of the architect Miguel Ventura Terra, it was only inaugurated on 18 May 1904.
The synagogue was built in a walled courtyard because legislation decreed that all “non Catholic” religious premises could not be built facing the street
In1948 it was extended by the architect Carlos Ramos. It had a rectangular floor facing Jerusalem. It is the main Synagogue of the Israelite Community of Lisbon.
At its centenary in 2004 the wall was finally pulled down.

Memorial to the victims of the Pantron massacre
It was inaugurated on 19 April 2008 by order of the City Council of Lisbon, as a tribute to the victims of persecution, intolerance and religious fanaticism of the Jewish massacre in 1506. More than 2000 Jews were murdered through the intolerance of the masses, encouraged by the Dominicans. It is the work of the architect Graça Bachman.

Day 2Tomar

Tomar – This historical city, with more than thirty thousand years of human occupation, was taken back from the Moors in 1147 by King Afonso Henriques and donated to Gualdim Pais, Grand Master of the Order of Templars. The origins of the Jewish community in Tomar began in the 14th century when Jews joined the service of the Templar Order and later its successor the Order of Christ. n 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the city welcomed a large number of artisans, businessmen and merchants who brought vital knowledge of new trade routes in Africa in the Age of Portuguese Discoveries. It is calculated that the Jewish population of Tomar in the middle of the 15th century was 30% to 40% of the total inhabitants of the city.

Jewish Quarter – It’s extensive demographic growth that sparked the creation of a Jewish Quarter in Rua Direito (now Rua Dr. Joaquim Jacinto), near the Praça de São João (now Praça da República) and the Corredoura. At the junction with Rua dos Moinhos, lived the “gatekeeper” of the Jewish Quarter who closed the gates at sundown and opened them in the morning. It was with the forcible conversion in 1497 and creation of the figure of the Christian Convert that the Jewish Quarter of Tomar was abolished.

“Os Estaus”
The Jewish businesses could occupy these Gothic arcades. There are now only two visible ones left. The ones that were not demolished were walled by order of Infante D. Henrique.

The Convent of Christ -The Convent of Christ was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. It symbolises the Mediaeval European World and the Crusades. It was founded in 1160 by D. Gualdim Pais, Grand Master of the Order of Templar Knights. It comprises seven cloisters and other buildings. Its interior contains notable architectural works. The main cloister of the Convent of Christ is probably the most monumental and finest work of the Renaissance. The architect was Diogo de Torralva.

After creating the court of the Inquisition, the persecution began of Jews and Christian Converts. Many managed to flee to Holland, the Ottoman Empire or England. Others who did not wish to convert were imprisoned, tortured and executed in the “Autos de Fé” (Acts of Faith).

Overnight in Tomar

Day 3Covilhã - Belmonte

Covilhã – This pretty city, home of the Fifteenth Century Explorers, land of the wool industry, is in the southeast flank of the Serra da Estrela.

From the 12th century the Jewish community of Covilhã was until its dissolution, one of the strongest in Portugal. At the end of the 15th century there were more than 400 Jews whose activities were as artisans, merchants or doctors. The Jews and Christian Converts were closely linked to the development of the wool industry and some members of the community played a large part in the Discoveries, namely Master José Vizinho (astronomer to King João II) and Rui Faleiro (organiser of Fernão de Magalhães’ circumnavigation), among the great personalities in the history of the country.

Jewish Quarter of Covilhã – Building of the Jewish district began inside the Christian wall but due to the increased population at the end of the 14th century it expanded outside the wall. There were at least three Jewish cores.
The Jewish Quarter of Covilhã is currently located in the urban area of the city outside the walls as is the former synagogue.

Church of Santa Maria – The denunciations against secret Jews or Judaists were made in the Churches of Santa Maria and Santa Madalena; only the former can visited. This church is known as the Chapel of Santa Maria do Castelo and it was built in the middle of the 16th century.

Belmonte – The history of this small town begins in the 12th century when the municipal council received its charter from D. Sancho I in 1199. It is the birthplace of the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil in the 15th century. The Jewish community has been established in this town since the middle ages and there have been remains of Hebrew culture and traditions from the 16th century to present day.

With around 3600 inhabitants, 300 are descendants of Jews who survived the Inquisition and were practising their religion for centuries in secret. They developed a closed community – the largest surviving community in the Iberian Peninsula – which was kept secret until 1990.

The Jews of Belmonte are the last community in the Peninsula of Crypto Judaic origin to survive and they remain united today with a synagogue, rabbi and their own cemetery.

Belmonte Castle – is located on a rocky mountain at an altitude or about 650 metres. It is not certain when it was built but it is believed to be in the 13th century. It was famous for being the residence of the Cabral family and Pedro Álvares Cabral lived there. It has an unusual mixture of architectural styles, Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Eighteenth century.

Bet Eliahu Synagogue – It was inaugurated in 1996, 500 years after the edict of D. Manuel which imposed the sanction of expulsion or conversion on the Jews in Portugal. The architect was Neves Dias.

The secret community – In 1920 Samuel Schwarz, an engineer of Polish-Jewish extraction who was working in Belmonte, discovered the existence of Jews. He wrote in this book that they were “a separate community from the Catholic community, retaining the very characteristic practices, customs and costumes which they were fearful of maintaining”.

The traditions, organisation and religious structure of the last secret Jews in Portugal were found to be alive. They had continued to marry only among themselves for centuries and anyone who broke this rule was expelled from the community. In 1925, with the intention of making the world aware of the existence of this secret community, Samuel Schwarz wrote the book “ Christian Converts in Portugal in the
20th Century” published separately from the journal “Archaeology and History“, of the Society of Architects. Samuel Schwarz truly made every effort for the Crypto Judaists of Belmonte to return officially to Judaism.

Jewish Museum – The only Jewish museum in the country was inaugurated on
17 April 2005. It describes the history of the community of this region who took refuge and resisted centuries of religious persecution. It is located in the last stronghold of the Crypto Judaic community which was established there in the 15th century. It has numerous religious artefacts and day to day items used by Hebrew families.

Overnight in Belmonte

Day 4Guarda - Cabanas de Viriato - O'Porto

Guarda
The city known as Strong, Rich, Cold, Loyal and Beautiful, has housed Jewish communities since the 18th century. At the end of the 14th century around 200 Jews lived there and about 50 years afterwards the inhabitants of the Jewish faith numbered between 600 and 850. The families had names such as Ergas, Castro, Falilho, Baruc, Mocatel, Marcos, Querido, Alva, Cáceres, Castelão, among others.

Jewish Quarter – Walking around the walls of the historic centre of Guarda we come to the former Jewish quarter near Porta D’El Rei. The houses are ground level houses or houses with a single storey or they have two doors (merchants’ houses normally had one door to the residence and another that gave on to the commercial premises, with windows and verandas with one or more porches.

Marks of Mezuzah – We can find on the door posts (Mezuzah) hollowed out marks around 10 cm high and 2 cm long and others that are deeper which were used to shelter a case with a small piece of parchment on which were ritually written the words “Dt 6, 4-9; 11,13-21”, quotations from two books of the Old Testament. The Mezuzah is a powerful symbol identifying a Jewish house and symbolises the characteristics of God and divine protection for the home and the family.

Cabanas de Viriato
This town in Carregal do Sal is a compulsory stop on our tour. It is really rural, genuine, a land of simple and generous people. It was the birthplace of one of the greatest Portuguese heroes who saved thousands of Jews during the Second World War.

House of Aristides de Sousa Mendes – Born on 19 July 1885 he was the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux when the Nazis invaded France. He defied the dictator António de Oliveira Salazar and for five years he granted and falsified thousands of entry visas for refugees of various nationalities who wanted to leave France in 1940. Aristides, saying that he was inspired by a divine power, decided to grant visas to everyone who requested one: “From now on I will give visas to everybody, whatever their nationality, race or religion (…) If I have to disobey an order I prefer it is an order of man rather than of God..” He saved tens of thousands of people from the Holocaust, with the help of his children and nephews and rabbi Kruger.

In 1966 the Yad Vashem Memorial – memorial of the Holocaust, in Israel – honoured him by awarding him the title “Righteous Among the Nations”. Only in 1987 after much international pressure was a public Portuguese honour granted and his family was awarded the Order of Liberty.

Overnight in Porto

Day 5O'Porto

Known worldwide for its vineyards, bridges, old and contemporary architecture, the city of Porto is well known for being recognised in almost all tourism categories of tourism of the World Travel Awards. The Jews lived and established a community in the city under the protection of the king and influenced several moments in the history of Portugal, especially through their scientific and economic contribution in the Age of the Discoveries.

Jewish Quarter of Rua do Comércio – The Jews were in this Jewish Quarter for six years until D. João I asked
the council of Porto to move the Jews to inside the city walls.

Jewish Quarter of Olival – With an area of around two hectares, the Jews lived here for more than one century and compared with the rest of the city (steep, narrow streets) the Jewish Quarter was symmetrical to the wide open streets. Here lived tailors, doctors, shoemakers, merchants, fairground people and goldsmiths. The Jews had representatives for them to the king, a rabbi, an Ombudsman who advised him and also a chancellor and a scribe.

Rua de S. Bento Vitória – In the street now called S. Bento Vitória was the most famous and last Jewish Quarter of Porto. In 1386, by order of D. João I, it became the main thoroughfare of the New Jewish Quarter of Olival. It was located within the Fernandine walls of Porto (now the Vitória district). During the day the Jews had total freedom of action, buying and selling in the city but at night they had to return when they heard the bell of Trindades in the tower of the Olival gate. In 1487, king D. João II welcomed and authorized that thirty families expelled from Spain and their rabbi be admitted here.

Kosher Port Wine – We make a short stop in the Taylor’s cellars to taste the unique Kosher Port Wine.

Kadoorie Synagogue or Kadoorie Mekor Haim Synagogue (“Source of Life”) In the area of Boavista, it is possible to visit the Kadoorie synagogue. It was built at the side of the German College and inaugurated in 1938. The Portuguese authorities planted large trees between the synagogue and the college, the Second World War happened and the Nazis destroyed synagogues throughout Europe (called “Kristallnacht”). It is now the headquarters of the Israelite Community of Porto and the largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula.

Vitória Steps – In Rua da Vitória are the old “Esnoga” Steps. “Esnoga” comes from the word Synagogue.

D. Rodrigo da Cunha wrote in the Catalogue of the Bishops of Porto, that “below the Church of Nossa Senhora was located the Synagogue in a street or alley that used to be called Viela da Esnoga, a corruption of Synagogue which was converted into a chapel dedicated to S. Roque…”.

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