DOURO PRIVATE RIVER CRUISE
Land Tours Included In Your All-Inclusive River Cruise Holiday!
Porto – Barca D’ Alva – Salamanca – Belmonte – Pinhão – Regua – Lamego
Begin your journey down the Douro River, with its dramatic gorges, lush vineyards, and tranquil fishing villages in Porto and continue on to the ancient and picturesque city of Lamego. Enter Spain to visit Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the beautiful inland countryside before concluding your cruise in Porto.
Jewish Portugal: At the height of Jewish culture in Portugal there were more than 150 Jewish communities throughout the nation. Every major town, village and port had a Judiaria (Jewish quarter) with its own institutions and places of worship. With the banning of Judaism in 1496, these communities ended, as Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or leave Portugal. Many walls, gates, carvings, and religious sites have vanished in the last five centuries, but in most cases the memory of those once-thriving Judiarias is remembered in place names, historic markers, and subtle signs such as Mezuzot door slots, inscriptions and local tales.
Our cruise highlights the magical sights and sounds as we journey along the mighty Douro and of Jewish Portugal. Our expert guides will bring to life over a thousand years of the region’s Jewish history and heritage and the current historical and cultural wonders of these cities and regions. Exciting and educational itineraries, riverboat cruising, and delicious Glatt kosher cuisine will make this the vacation of a lifetime!
Day 1: Tuesday: Porto
Welcome Aboard! 15:00 Check in at Vila Nova de Gaia pier
17:00 Set sail to Entre-os-Rios Welcome orientation & Dinner
20:30 Arrival at Entre-os- Rios
Overnight at Entre-os-Rios
Day 2 Wednesday: Barca D’ Alva
06:00 Ship set sail to Barca d’ Alva
Enjoy a leisurely day soaking up the beauty of the Douro River as you cruise to Barca d’Alva. Sailing east along the Douro, you will see dramatic, sheer rock formations, picturesque terraced vineyards and graceful bridges and trestles along the way; you will also pass through two of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho Dams. We’ll arrive in early evening at Barca d’Alva, not far from the Spanish border. On board activates include engaging lectures, Portuguese lessons, and cooking demonstration.
21:00 Arrival at Barca d’ Alva, evening Flamenco show
Overnight at Barca D’ Alva
Day 3 Thursday: Salamanca
08:00 Departure, by bus for Salamanca
Salamanca, once a seat of Jewish learning, and one of Europe’s oldest college towns. In expression of both these facets, a statue just outside the 12th century University honors Fray Luís de León, the poet-priest and Hebrew scholar who descended from Jewish conversos (forcibly converted Spanish Jews). This translator of the first Spanish version of the “Song of Songs” was dragged off by the Inquisition (he spent years imprisoned before returning to his classroom). Begin with a walking tour of the Old Town and see the Plaza Mayor (one of Spain’s most delightful public spaces), the eye-catching Casa de las Conchas (which, as its name implies, is covered with “shells”), the popular Art Nouveau/Art Déco Museum (built in 1995), and the Jewish Quarter – a well-preserved enclave, one of the oldest in the Spanish Empire, that is Salamanca’s jewel and main attraction
Return to boat 17:30 pm, 18:00 ship set sail to Pocinho 19:00 arrival
Overnight at Pocinho
Day 4 Friday: Belmonte
08:30 departure by bus to Belmonte
Belmonte, Portugal: This minute locale, population under 7,000, is home to hundreds of Jews who survived the Inquisition by practicing secretly. These brave souls are the only “hidden Jews” (formerly known by the pejorative name, “Marranos,”) known to live in the Iberian Peninsula. Until 1990, they continued to protect their privacy and secret faith. Now, they openly proclaim their Jewishness, and have been received warmly by the Portuguese. (Spain, taking notice, is currently welcoming all hidden Jews of its past to return – and gain full citizenship!). The Jews of Belmonte can be found in carefully preserved stone houses, as we will see on a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter. Our tour includes a visit the Synagogue and the Museum of Portuguese Jewish History, located in a repurposed 18th century Catholic schoolhouse, including meeting with members of the community!
13:00 Return to the ship set sail to Pinhão, arrives at Pinhão 15:00
Shabbat docked at Pinhão
Day 5 Shabbat: Pinhão
Shabbat at leisure in Pinhão
Shabbat programming including engaging lectures and afternoon village walking tour
Day 6 Sunday: Regua
07:00 Ship set sail to Régua
09:00 departure, by bus, to visit Lamego
Since the 14th century the Jews from the important town of Lamego occupied the area between the Castle and the “Santa Maria de Almacave” church. In the next century, there were already two Jewish quarters; the oldest was located next to the “Sun door” and the new one near the churchyard. In this quarter was located the synagogue in the old “Rua da Esnoga”. In 1436, the number of inhabitants in those two areas exceeded the 400. As of D. Duarte’s reign, the two quarters were closed at night by doors placed for that purpose. In “Rua Nova” (old Jewry new) we can see a characteristic granitic ogival portal (now with a Christian inscription). It may have been here where the old synagogue was located. The importance of Lamego is already attested in 1139 because of the famous “Cortes” (met in Almacave’s church) where the king Afonso Henriques was hailed king of Portugal. “José de Lamego”, Jewish cobbler, received from “Pêro da Covilhã”, in Cairo, the information that allowed D. João II to know all the data about the East African, Arabic and Indic coasts that permitted the launch of Vasco da Gama’s trip.
13:00 Return to the ship, set sail to Vila Nova de Gaia
20:00 Ship’s arrives at Vila Nova de Gaia
Overnight at Vila Nova de Gaia
Day 7 Monday: Porto
09:00 Departure, by bus, Porto City tour (panoramic)
13:00 return to ship for lunch
14:30 “Jewish Heritage Tour”, with visit to Porto Synagogue
18:00 Return to ship
19:30 Farewell dinner
Discover Porto; the name of a city and a fortified wine, one of the most famous in the world, aged at the wine cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, next to the Douro River. Its historical center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and preserves many beautiful monuments.
Once a major community of Jewish merchants thrived in this great city of the north. The city’s first Jewish area was along the Rua de Santa Ana. In 1386 King D. John I gave the community land near church of Nossa Senhora da Vitûria. The main synagogue stood on the Escadas da Vitûria; a place still locally called “Escadas da Esnoga.” A plaque marks the site. Nearby, there is an ancient Jewish cemetery at Passeio das Virtudes. Many Jewish merchants had their offices along the famed Porto riverfront in the Ribeira area along the Rua da Alfandega. Another Jewish community once flourished at the Rua Monte dos Jude’s, where in 1826 an important ancient Hebrew plaque was unearthed. Recently, the main synagogue for the Jewish quarter was discovered during renovation to an ancient building. Behind a false wall, workers stumbled on to an ark thought to be from the 15th century. This important discovery is being carefully preserved and researched to learn more about he once sizable Jewish population of Porto.
We visit the largest synagogue on the Iberian Peninsula “Kandoorie Mekor Haim” founded by Captain Arthur Barros Bastos in 1938 including a meeting with members from the local Jewish community. Walk through the narrow streets and UNESCO center from the Sé Cathedral, where the first synagogue was built, to Montes dos Olivais where the Jewish Quarter was situated, witnessing the highlights of one of the world’s most romantic cities. Overnight at Vila Nova de Gaia
Day 8 Tuesday: Porto
09:00 Disembarkation and continue to Lisbon for post tour extension
Post Tour Lisbon
Day 8 Tuesday: Porto to Lisbon
09:00 Disembarkation and continue to Lisbon for post tour extension
11:30 Arrive Lisbon begin city tour
16:00 Hotel check-in
Day 9 Wednesday: Lisbon
9:30 Begin Jewish heritage Tour
Afternoon at leisure
Day 10 Thursday: Depart
Lisbon: Lisbon is Europe’s second-oldest capital (after Athens), once home to the world’s greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, becoming the first true world city, the capital of an empire spreading over all continents, from South America (Brazil) to Asia (Macao, China; Goa, India). The former launch pad for many of the world’s greatest voyages is now where modern travelers come to discover.
The stunning capital city of Portugal, and one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Western Europe, it is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage, with striking modernism and liberal thinking. As a holiday destination, Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, lively nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate.
Jewish Lisbon: In May of 2012 a sensational discovery by Archaeologists of Jena University revealed Hebrew inscriptions on stone which point to the Jewish people residing in Portugal as early as 390 C.E. However, some Biblical Archaeologists believe that Tartessian texts found in Southern Portugal in 1922 suggests a Jewish presence dating to the time of King Solomon.
Walking through the quaint side streets of Lisbon your guide and historian will explain these recent findings and unveil hidden elements in the architecture, explaining the influence of great Jewish sages like The Abravanel- a philosopher and statesman, and Abraham Zucato who altered the course of the Age of Discovery. The Jews of Portugal throughout history held social and political ranks with the favor of kings, and conciliatory relations between Muslims and Christians alike. However, these periods were equally marked by inquisitions, forced baptisms and brutal massacres which have been overlooked in many historical references.
On this post tour extension you will discover the amazing story of Crypto-Jews, (Cristão-Novos) a distinctive sub-group of Sephardim in Portugal who survived over 400 years of persecution in secret. At the site of the Inquisitors Palace, learn little known facts about the Portuguese Inquisition and the controversy of the Marquis of Pombal whose authority destroyed Jewish heritage but saved lives at the same time.
Stand at the deportation point during WWII where thousands of Jewish refugees escaped Nazi persecution, among them famous names like Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and many others who contributed to the arts, sciences and politics of the world stage. Learn about Portugal’s own Oskar Schindler, a righteous gentile who is responsible for the single largest rescue mission of WWII, deifying state orders to save thousands feeling the horrors of the 3rd Reich. Beyond the former Jewish quarters, there are stories in artifacts festooned around the city that will bring deeper understanding of the Early Modern Diaspora, The Passover Massacre, Crypto-Jewish practices and famous Jewish families associated with Portugal.
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