We are thrilled to announce that the results of the Jewish History Tours project, co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union, are now available and embedded within the pages of the European Routes of Jewish Heritage. This significant collaboration has connected Europeana, the European digital library, with the European Routes of Jewish Heritage certified by the Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, highlighting the project’s achievements as a best practice example for other cultural routes under the Council of Europe.
Jewish History Tours is a groundbreaking initiative that harnesses the power of location-based storytelling to create captivating and immersive tours focusing on pan-European topics such as multiculturalism, persecution, and migration. These exceptional tours are meticulously crafted by local partners who possess in-depth knowledge of the local Jewish history and the sites that narrate those compelling stories.
One of the core aspects of the project is the inclusion of digitized collections from Europeana, offering a wealth of historical materials. Leveraging innovative AI-powered tools, the tours are enhanced with near-human quality translations into various European languages and AI-generated voiceovers, resulting in a seamless and enriching experience for visitors.
Strengthening the connection between heritage and tourism has been a strategic priority for the project, which has established a fruitful collaboration between Europeana and the European Routes of Jewish Heritage. The latter is a robust network comprising over 20 members, collectively representing numerous heritage destinations and sites across Europe.
To date, the project has successfully developed tours in more than ten locations in Europe and nearby regions, including Berlin, Barcelona, Lublin, Sighet, Halberstadt, Ismir, Minsk, Polotsk, and Baku. Each tour, expertly curated by local partners, often incorporates fascinating items from the digitized collections made available by the project on Europeana.
With a focus on promoting tourism, the European Union recognizes the importance of connecting heritage and travel. The Jewish History Tours project actively supports this priority by forging strategic partnerships with various platforms dedicated to tourists, including Clio Muse Tours, izi.Travel, Azerbaijan Travel, and World Jewish Travel. The project is also exploring collaborations with commercial partners in the tourism industry, such as hotels and travel companies, to expand the reach and impact of the developed tours.
Europeana plays a vital role as a strategic partner, not only by publishing an abundance of new materials related to Jewish life in Europe but also by employing innovative location-based enrichment technology for digitized collections. As part of the project, Europeana is continuously enhancing its API to provide the ability to query by location, further enhancing the user experience.
We invite other heritage organizations, tourist platforms, businesses, and destination marketing organizations to join us in this remarkable journey. If you are interested in exploring partnership opportunities with the project, please reach out at email@example.com.
In the words of Debra Brunner, Route Manager of the Jewish Heritage Route in Belarus and CEO of The Together Plan:
“We are building the Jewish Heritage Route in Belarus in partnership with communities, individuals, historians and our valued team in Belarus. The Jewish History Tours pilot programme offered us the opportunity to learn, skill build, create and produce. Through the training that the Jewish Heritage Network delivered in collaboration with Izi Travel – we learned how to plan, research and produce high quality audio tours. This training set in motion a chain of production. Our team in Minsk instructed our communities, historians and archivists to carry out research, identify Jewish heritage buildings and sites, and produce high resolution images in villages and towns across Belarus. Moreover, the project also gave us the opportunity to utilise and showcase some of the digital assets we already had in our care. […]
The outcome of being part of this programme has been of enormous value for the development of our route. We now have two published audio tours with three more in production: a complehensive Jewish Belarus collection of images, audio recordings and films on the Europeana platform, and one Europeana publication with more planned for the future. We are now training local community actors in Belarus to learn how to create audio tours which in itself is a community building tool. Moreover, people both inside and outside of Belarus are accessing the tours, as well as our collection on Europeana. […]
Being part of this program has been of enormous value for the development of our route. We are immensely grateful to the AEPJ for creating opportunities such as this.”
As the Jewish History Tours project continues to build self-guided tours in various European locations, we look forward to further growth, innovation, and collaboration in preserving and promoting Jewish heritage across the continent.
For more information and to get involved, visit the Jewish History Tours website and follow our updates on social media.
Together, let us celebrate and share the rich tapestry of Jewish history in Europe!