What better way to delve into St. Petersburg's rich Jewish heritage than in the synagogues? This intriguing tour visits two of the most outstanding, starting with the more than 100-year-old, Moorish-designed Big Choral Synagogue, one of the largest in Europe. Today, the Synagogue is a center of Jewish culture and education in St. Petersburg. As a special treat, you will have a unique opportunity to hear a concert performed by the Synagogue cantor and other Jewish musicians during your visit. Your tour also includes a stop at the nearby Small Synagogue, which is used for everyday services.
Continuing on, you will next make your way to Theater Square, which is closely associated with Anton Rubinshtein, the esteemed Jewish composer and pianist who established The Conservatoire, the oldest Russian school of music. Many outstanding figures of the musical world were educated within its walls, including violinist David Oistrakh and master cellist Mstislav Rastropovich. Later, you will have a chance to view the Peter and Paul Fortress, the city's very first structure, which was soon converted from a fortress into the main political prison of the Russian Empire. Peter the Great's son, Prince Alexis; writers Fyodor Dostoevsky and Maxim Gorky, and Leon Trotsky were all prisoners here. Crossing the Palace Bridge, you will pass the St. Petersburg State University and the Academy of Fine Arts, a famous educational establishment where well-known Russian-Jewish painters such as Isaac Levitan and Marc Chagall were educated.
Please note: This tour includes minimal walking with some steps to negotiate at the Synagogues. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Men are required to wear kipas (yamas) when entering the Synagogues. If you do not have one, they are available at the entrance. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.