Jewish Heritage Walking Tour, Budapest

Over the centuries, the Jews of Budapest were many times expelled from the city and had to rebuild their homes and lives after it. Therefore, it is amazing to see how much they have re-created and many of it is still preserved even after the WWII and the communist regime. This tour covers some of the most important sites that provide an insight into the history and culture of the Jewish population in the city.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Jewish Heritage Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Jewish Heritage Walking Tour
Guide Location: Hungary » Budapest (See other walking tours in Budapest)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Author: kane
1
Orthodox Synagogue

1) Orthodox Synagogue

The Orthodox Synagogue is the physical and spiritual center of Jewish life in the 8th District. It is located at 29-31 Kazinczy utca at Dob, Budapest, nestled in a quaint little community that has a kosher eating establishment, a school, and a prayer room. Nearby there is also a mikvah, which is the only one to be found anywhere in Budapest. The structure was built in 1913.

The Hungarian Orthodox Jews, which make this house of worship their home, are a rather unique off shoot of Conservative Judaism. They maintain many of the practices of the Jewish immigrants of Germany and Moravia. There is also a strong Hassidic background in these people, which came to the area from Poland and Galatia.

Many of the people who attend synagogue here are either the survivors of WWII or their descendants. Despite deportation by the Nazis, many of the original Hungarian settlers of Kazinczy were able to come home by 1944.

The easiest way to get to the Synagogue is by subway. You will make use of the M1, M2, or M3 line to Deak ter Station. You can then take M2 to Astoria Station, and then walk to Karoly korut in the direction of Deak ter. Once there, make a right at Dob utca.
2
Rumbach utca Synagogue

2) Rumbach utca Synagogue

Located in the old historic district of the town of Pest is the Rumbach Street Synagogue. The inner section of the city is called Belvaros. The spiritual home of the local Hungarian Jews was built in 1872, designed by Viennese architect Otto Wagner.

It is a classic example of Moorish rival styling. The synagogue is octagonal, and has a beautiful balcony. The walls are painted and decorated in Islamic patterns and paint colors; the roof is domed. One might find similarities between this building and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

The outside of this very old structure is also much decorated. It is adorned in like fashion to the brickwork that can be found on the synagogue at Dohany utca. The vertical striping is very remarkable. You also need to take note of the two minaret octagonal turrets that tower high into the air. The cream, green, and deep red colors façade, along with the oriental style arches, make the perfect backdrop to the windows that contain the Star of David.

Sadly, the schul (another name for the synagogue) is not being used any more for religious services. The building is in bad need of repair. Once the reconstruction is finished, though, it is due to be reopened.
3
Tree of Life / Raoul Wallenberg Park

3) Tree of Life / Raoul Wallenberg Park (must see)

Raoul Wallenberg Park is a place of commemoration for the people who risked their lives to help keep the Jewish population of Budapest safe during the days of WWII. Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat at the time and one of the main leaders in the movement to protect the Hungarian Jews. If this group had been caught, they would have been executed.

The famous Tree of Life memorial is a commemorative sculpture that has its home in the center of the park. It was designed to pay tribute to the 5,000 Holocaust victims that are buried in the area. It is made into the shape of a willow tree, which in traditional Hungarian Jewish thinking, is a symbol of mourning. It can also represent an overturned menorah. There is also a synagogue here, with some rather famous copies of Torahs housed in their ark.

The park was started in the 1990s after Hungary was returned to a democratic state. A large donation from the world famous Estee Lauder (approximately $5 million U.S.) made the whole memorial possible, with completion having occurred in 1996.

Tip:
You can walk by the outside of the park to see the tree, but it's probably better to go inside and see it (staying outside is free while going inside requires an admission fee).
4
Great Synagogue

4) Great Synagogue (must see)

This famous historical spot is also referred to as the Dohány Street Synagogue. It is the largest of the Jewish houses of worship located in Budapest. The building was erected from 1854 to 1859. It was designed by the famous Viennese designer and architect Ludwig Forster.

The overall design is Moorish. It has two traditional tall towers that make the location viewable all over the city. You can also see the influence of Gothic, Romantic, and Byzantine art throughout this beautiful location.

The Great Synagogue is 174 feet long and approximately 90 feet wide. It can hold a little over 2900 people, split evenly between the women’s area and the men’s area. It is the second largest building of its kind in the world. Only the Temple Emanu-El in New York City is larger. The two towers that help to make the location distinct rise an impressive 143 feet into the air.

You will also want to look for the Jewish Heroes’ Mausoleum that is next door. The cemetery and gardens contain monuments to Jews who died during the Holocaust, as well as the bodies of non-Jewish people who helped to protect the lives of so many people.

Why You Should Visit:
Very large and very unique synagogue, with well-organised tours in many languages.

Tip:
Go upstairs and spend some time in the museum and archives as they are particularly informative and enlightening.
You do have to dress modestly, though you can pay for an overall-type thing if your clothing isn't suitable.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Tue, Thu: 10am-4pm; Wed: 10:30am-4pm; Fri: 10am-2pm
5
Rabbinical Seminary

5) Rabbinical Seminary

Rabbinical Seminary was founded in the very beginning of the 20th century. The seminary has a vast library giving the visitor access to over 150 000 highly valued works of Jewish literature. The rabbinical Seminary is one of the few that were operating during the regime of the communists.
6
Holocaust Memorial Center

6) Holocaust Memorial Center (must see)

The Holocaust Museum was opened to the public in February of 2004. The mission of this place is to present and preserve a permanent history of the Holocaust, and the role that the Hungarian people played during this part of World War II history. During this time, over 500,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis. There were also 50,000 Roma who were executed during the oppression.

The site used to be a synagogue. As plans were being made to build the museum, a decision was made to include the temple in the museum. So, it was renovated as well.

One of the things you will note about the displays is the very personal touch that has been used. There are accounts of real people here. In the first exhibit, called the Wedding Room, you will be taken back in time to how life was prior to the start of the war. You will then be taken to the Synagogue display, which has glass pews that contain pictures of lost houses of prayer, and murdered individuals. You will finally be brought to the place where the museum commemorates the citizens of Hungary and the foreign diplomats who risked their lives to help the Jews.

Why You Should Visit:
A well planned and executed exhibition, both informative and moving.
Combines individual family histories with overall political movements.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm, closed on Mondays

Walking Tours in Budapest, Hungary

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Creating your own self-guided walk in Budapest is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Pest Walking Tour

Pest Walking Tour

Separated from its western neighbor Buda by the magnificent river Danube, the eastern part of Bupadest, formally known as Pest, takes up almost two thirds of the Hungarian capital. Unlike hilly Buda, Pest is predominantly a flat plain with a pretty buzzing and bourgeois setting. It houses some truly magnificent architectural sights, including the Hungarian Parliament itself. In part, this is probably the reason why the Hungarians habitually refer to their capital city as simply "Pest". This walk invites you to explore some of the key attractions of this part of Budapest.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Ruin Pubs Tour

Ruin Pubs Tour

A truly unique attraction to the city of Budapest, ruin pubs are thriving modern establishments that are located inside old abandoned buildings. The antiquity inherent in their architecture adds a certain character to these pubs. Inside the spots found on the Budapest Ruin Pubs Tour guests are treated to an assortment of entertainment opportunities, including hot DJ sets, live musical acts, film screenings, theatrical performances, and much more.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Buda Walking Tour

Buda Walking Tour

The capital of Hungary Budapest is a relatively young city, resulted from an 1873 merger between Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the east. Set on a number of hills, Buda is the site of a grand Hapsburg palace with a detached, imperial air of old-time wealth. While in Buda, you can enjoy sweeping views of the opposite Pest, lying across the river, from the Fisherman's Bastion on Castle Hill or Gellért Hill to the south. Come on this walk and see these and other key attractions of this magnificent part of the Hungarian capital.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Nightlife Tour, Part 2

Nightlife Tour, Part 2

This leg of the Budapest Nightlife Tour features more great establishments from the city’s diverse palette of venues offering entertainment after dark. Anything from high class adult entertainment and world class DJs sets, to drag shows, live comedy, an exclusive member’s only singles club, and more. Being a major international hub, Budapest packs a mighty punch when it comes to entertaining its many visitors as well as its locals.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Margaret Island on the river Danube is a popular recreational area. Stretching for around 2.5 km, this place was declared a public park in 1908. Beautiful landscaped parks, ancient ruins and various sports facilities dot the island. The island can be accessed by the Margaret Bridge on the south and the Arpad Bridge in the north. This is a quiet place to laze around and enjoy your day. Vehicular traffic is not allowed on the island and is pedestrian friendly.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Budapest without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Budapest, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km

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