We start our tour in the Castle District where the first Jews of Buda settled in the 13th century. We see the small, Medieval synagogue in the former Jewish street (interior visit available only from May until October). You will learn about Jewish life during the Turkish occupation in the 16th -17th centuries. Then we continue to Old Buda. In the 18th century German and Czech Jewish settlers established homes there.
Under the patronage of the noble Zichy family, the Jewish colony of Old Buda developed into a prominent community. Take a look at the interior of the recently (Sept, 2010) re-opened Old Buda Synagogue. Built in 1820-21 in the Classical style, for long decades it was used as a TV studio. Today this synagogue belongs to the World known Chabad – Lubavitch Movement.
Also in Buda we will visit the Frankel Synagogue, which was built in 1888 in the Neo-gothic style. Here you can hear about one of the most vibrant Jewish Communities in Budapest. The Frankel Synagogue offers a day to day program, and on Friday evenings almost 100 people attend Service.
Before we cross the River Danube and get to Pest, there is an opportunity to visit the oldest, still existing Jewish Cemetery. It is in the middle of Buda, nestled between modern houses and office buildings. It is very sad and at the same time very picturesque, in certain ways similar to the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. Here we can find the gravesite of Rabbi Koppel Reich; he was one of the greatest drawing many pilgrimages to this very day.
On the Pest side, our tour includes a walk in the old Jewish Quarter, an interior visit of the Dohany Street Synagogue (Europe’s biggest), the Jewish Museum, the Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue and the Rumbach Street Synagogue. Also see the Holocaust Memorial.
Then drive to the “Shoes Memorial” on the River Bank. This is the memorial place from where the Hungarian Nazis shot the Jews into the Danube River in the winter of 1944-45. Then continue to the “Glass-house”. This is a remarkable place that both served as a shelter and hiding place for about 3,000 Jews saved by Carl Lutz, the Consul of Switzerland in late 1944, and was also the center of the underground Zionist organization in Hungary.
During the tour you will see several other memorials, such as the Raoul Wallenberg Memoiral, and also get first-hand information about modern Jewish life in Hungary.