Jewish heritage in Kaunas
First inhabitants settled down in the area of modern Kaunas 8000 years ago and by 15th century the city was already growing on the confluence of Nemunas and Neris rivers. Due to its convenient location, it quickly became a trading centre of the Great Lithuanian Dutchy. Kaunas is special due to its well-preserved street plan of the Old (15th century) and New Town (19th century) and a great number of historic sights, including a fully preserved and UNESCO listed pre-war period residential area in the functionalist style, as well as Jewish heritage.
The Kaunas Jewish community was first mentioned in written sources in the second half of 17th century. Up until mid 19th century, the community was mainly inhabiting Vilijampole area, located by Vilija river (now Neris river). In 1858, the Jewish community started spreading, settling down in various parts of the city. During this period, many sinagogues were built, in addition to houses and communal buildings; Vilijampole area, the heart of the Jewish community in Kaunas became home to academic centre ‘Kneset – Israel’. In 1897, population of Kaunas was 70,920 people, with 25,052 being Jewish, according to the city chronicles. Most famous Jews of Kaunas include: Hermann Minkowski (1864-1909), Arbit Blatas (1908-1999), Yehezkel Streichman (1906-1993), Emmanuel Levinas (1906 – 1995), Abraham Mapu (1808 – 1867), Leah Goldberg ( 1911-1970), Leon Bramson (1869 – 1941).
During the tour your will learn about the history of Kaunas, see the main sights of the Old and New Town, get to know the Jewish history in the city and visit Vilijampole area.
2,5 – 3 h
When: We will arrange the tour at a time convenient for you!
Pick-up point: We will pick you up from your hotel in Kaunas, railway/bus station or other place upon your request
Price per 1 person: 25 EUR p.p. (15+ people)
Included in the price: Tour guide service, transportation, pedestrian tour in Kaunas Old Town, visiting the surviving Jewish cultural and historical sights (please note that a tour inside the sights is not included). Visit to Vilijampole area and a scenic lookout offering a spectacular view of the city.
Optional: Visit to Ohel Jakov Choral Synagogue, Sugihara House, Kaunas 9th Fortification Sight, M.K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art and other museums of your choice.