This delightful tour combines sight-seeing in Eastern Europe with investigating the history of Mennonites in Poland. During a few days in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, marvel at colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and the city’s famous Old Town Square. Also visit important sites in Krakow and Warsaw in Poland. Guided by Mennonite historian, John Sharp, learn more about the country that sheltered Dutch and German Mennonites beginning as early as the 1530’s right up to the Second World War. Some families stayed in the Vistula Delta of Poland for generations, later migrating to South Russia, Ukraine, and the American Midwest.
Discover Prague & the Mennonite Sojourn in Poland
Monday, May 24 Prague, Czech Republic
Tour begins in Prague. Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers, and either relax at the hotel or join a group activity. Visit Vyšehrad, a historic fort considered the beginning of Prague as a capital. Stroll in the gardens, and maybe visit the 11th century cathedral. (Note: flights should arrive by noon if possible.)
Tuesday, May 25 Prague
Following a good night’s rest, you’ll be ready for a guided city tour to see the magnificent sights of Prague, including the Old Town Square (with its famous Astronomical Clock), Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, and much more. Free time in the afternoon for further exploration, shopping, or rest as time permits. Optional evening concert.
Wednesday, May 26 Bratislava / Brno
This morning, drive to Bratislava to learn more about the history of the Hutterites—a group of Anabaptists dating back to the earliest days of the Reformation. Here you’ll visit a Hutterite house in Veľké Leváre, dating from 1717, giving you insight into their communal way of life. Continue on to Brno for the night.
Thursday, May 27 Kraków, Poland
Relax and enjoy the countryside as you journey to Krakow, Poland. Stretch your legs and take in the scenery at stops en route.
Friday, May 28 Kraków
Take a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mines are sometimes called “The Underground Salt Cathedral” because they contain historic statues and mythical figures, as well as contemporary sculptures, all carved from salt. Visit Kraków’s bustling market square, and the fascinating Rynek underground museum below it.
Saturday, May 29 Warsaw
Travel on to Warsaw, Poland’s capital. On a guided city tour, see the beautifully restored Old Market Square, the Cathedral of St. John, the Barbican outpost fort and adjoining city wall, the monument to the 1944 uprising, and more.
Sunday, May 30 Vistula Delta / Toruń
On this portion of our tour, you’ll begin to be immersed in the Mennonite story. Your first stops include historic Mennonite sites in the Vistula delta region. At Deutsch Kazun, see a former Mennonite Church that was still in use during the Second World War. In Deutsch Wymysle, some Mennonite homes still stand. As you walk around the former church and cemetery, look for the names of your ancestors. Next, travel to Toruń—the birthplace of famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus—for a walking tour of one of the oldest urban centers in Poland.
Monday, May 31 Gdańsk
Continue along the Vistula Valley towards Gdańsk via a number of Mennonite towns, possibly including Schoensee and Nickelstein. Visit Montau, formerly a prosperous Mennonite community. Stop at the well-preserved cemetery in Montauerweide.
Tuesday, June 1 Gdańsk
Visit with Father Ropiejko at the Pentecostal church in Gdańsk, which was once a Mennonite church. Spend time in the beautiful Oliwa Gardens and enjoy an organ concert at the Oliwa Cathedral. Tour the historic city centre of Gdańsk including a museum in the town hall and the Church of St. Mary.
Wednesday, June 2 Gdańsk
Visit Stutthof Concentration Camp. Then continue to delve into the Mennonite history of Poland during visits to the Tiegenhagen cemetery; Nowy Dwor (Tiegenhof) with its Mennonite Museum; Elbing with its former Mennonite church that now belongs to a Polish National Catholic congregation; and Ellerwald, a former church site and cemetery where many Mennonites are buried. Optional concert in Gdańsk this evening.
Thursday, June 3 Gdańsk
Begin the day with a tour of Malbork Castle, once the fortress of Teutonic Knights who came to Poland in the 1300’s and built this expansive, fortified monastery. Enjoy lunch at the castle before exploring more historic Mennonite centres including Neumuensterberg, featuring stately farm homes; and Heubuden, once the center of a large Mennonite community, and its cemetery.
Friday, June 4
Depart for home enriched with new experiences and new friends.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.