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Portugal

Jewish Legacy in Portugal
Purpose: Heritage, Culture, History, Discovery, Fun
No. of days: 10 days - 9 nights
First & Last Cities: Lisbon
Other cities: Tomar, Coimbra, Oporto, Lamego, Viseu, Trancoso, Belmonte, Castelo Branco, Castelo de Vide, Evora
Starting cost: $2,879

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Day 1: Lisbon

Arrival at Lisbon airport and private transfer to the hotel. Check-in. Rest of the day free. Overnight in Lisbon.

 

Day 2: Lisbon

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for a full day tour of Lisbon, finding all about the Jewish legacy in the Portuguese capital. It is known that until 1496 there were three Jewish Quarters in Lisbon. Besides strolling through Alfama, we will visit the church of São Domingos, in Rossio, in Largo de S. Domingos, where the Jewish Massacre of Lisbon took place in 1506. In the afternoon, we leave towards the district of Belém, where were built the monuments alluding to the time of the Maritime Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries. Free time to lunch. We will stop at the Belém Tower (classified as World Heritage by UNESCO), the 15th century fortress and departure point of car-avels, and at the Discoveries Monument to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. We will then visit the Monastery of Jeronimos (classified as World Heritage by UNESCO), a masterpiece of Manueline architecture. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Lisbon. [B]

 

Day 3: Lisbon, Tomar, Coimbra

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. We set off to Tomar to visit the Synagogue and Luso-Hebrew Museum of Abraham Zacuto. A very rare example of a medieval Jewish temple and of pre-Renaissance Portuguese art, the Tomar Synagogue is the only one of its kind from this period to have been fully preserved in Portugal. Before leaving, it is mandatory to visit the Templar’s Castle and the Convent of Christ in Tomar, a unique monument in the history of the western world, awarded the classification of world heritage by UNESCO. Built on a site that was originally used for Roman worship, this vast monumental complex illustrates seven centuries of Portugal's history and contains several important mementoes of decisive moments in the history of the western world. Free time to lunch. Departure to Coimbra. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Coimbra. [B]

 

Day 4: Coimbra, Oporto

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. On the banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra is famous for its University, the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe, which over time has shaped its image to become "the city of students". In the Middle Age, the city housed three Jewish quarters. We will stroll around the old part of the city before heading to Oporto. Arrival to Oporto and afternoon at leisure. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Oporto. [B]

 

Day 5: Oporto

Breakfast at the hotel. Discover the Jewish Oporto and walk along the streets where a community was born and developed, a community that is supposed to have appeared just before the foundation of Portugal. The Jewish quarter of the city was situated deep in the heart of the village, which, in the 12th century, was located near the Cathedral, in the area that is today defined by the ruins of the Convent of Monchique, by the Torre dos Clérigos, Sé, Alfândega do Oporto and the square and tunnel of Ribeira – and where some Jewish altars still survive in pri-vate estates. Walk towards the area of Palácio da Bolsa and the old Mercado Ferreira Borges. This is where another Jewish quarter once stood, with a synagogue in its center, in what is today known as Rua do Comércio do Oporto. In the Boavista area, the hub of Jewish life in the 17th and 18th centuries, visi-tors can see the Kadoorie synagogue, the largest synagogue in the Iberian Peninsula Jewish temple built between 1929 and 1937. In the afternoon, you will take a 50-minutes cruise through the Douro before heading back to the hotel. Overnight in Oporto. [B]

 

Day 6: Oporto, Lamego, Viseu

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Departure to Lamego. From the 15th century on, Lamego had two Jewries: the old Jewry near the Porta do Sol and the new Jewry next to the Church of Santa Maria de Almacave. They occupied Rua Nova, Rua da Seara, Rua da Cruz and Rua da Fonte Velha, amongst others. In Rua Nova, the inscription on the right-hand side of the pointed arch doorway indicates that it could have been a synagogue, despite the present day Christian symbols. Free time for lunch. We will then continue towards Viseu, an ancient city, built of grey stone but at the same time green, lively and welcoming, Viseu was considered the best of Portugal in the quality of life ranking. In this region Aristides de Sousa Mendes was born, a Portuguese diplomat who has saved 30,000 lives from the Holocaust when he was in Bordeaux, France, as a Portuguese consul. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Viseu. [B]

 

Day 7: Viseu, Trancoso, Belmonte, Castelo Branco

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Departure towards the medieval town of Trancoso, strongly marked by an ancestral Jewish presence. The town’s historic center, surrounded by walls, allows us to discover the façades of old houses, where regular granite stones follow the sinuous outline of the streets, kept since the middle ages. We will visit to the Isaac Cardoso Jewish Culture Interpretation Centre. Founded in 2012, the goal of this space, where the modern Beit Mayim (the Well of Living Water) synagogue stands out, is to be a place for culture and debate by teaching about the ancient legacy Beira Jewish communities have left behind. We leave to Belmonte, which is, perhaps, the Portuguese town with the strongest Jewish presence and it stands out because it was a unique case, within the Iberian Peninsula, where Hebrew culture and tradition have lasted since the early 16th century until today. We will visit the Jewish Museum, the first museum that portrays the History of Jewish people in Portugal, as well as its integration in the society and the decisive role it played in Portuguese culture, art, literature and trade. We will end the day in Castelo Branco, city that became a refuge to a large community of New Christians when the Jews were expelled or forced to convert by the Inquisition. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Castelo Branco. [B]

 

Day 8: Castelo Branco, Castelo de Vide, Evora

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Before heading to the re-gion of Alentejo, we will visit the Garden of the Bishop’s Palace in Castelo Branco, one of the most original examples of the Ba-roque in Portugal. Castelo de Vide, a mediaeval charmed town with white houses, also known for its Jewish quarter. Free time to lunch. We continue to Évora, standing in the middle of the beautiful plains of the Alentejo. This walled city was declared World Heritage by UNESCO. We will visit the Roman Temple, dating back to the 3rd century AD and recovered in the 19th century and the strange Chapel of Bones, built in rom the 16th century, with its pillars and walls covered by bones. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight in Évora. [B]

 

Day 9: Evora, Lisbon

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Return to Lisbon and check-in at the hotel. Rest of the day free. Overnight in Lisbon. [B]

 

Day 10: Lisbon

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Private transfer from the hotel to Lisbon airport. [B]

 

[B] = Breakfast

 

Note: Most monuments are closed on Mondays and on national holidays.