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New interactive map for regional Jewish heritage tourism trail in Poland
Kolbuszowa, Jewish cemetery, 2007. Photo: Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Chassidic Route, a regional tourist trail in southeastern Poland connecting more than two dozen Jewish heritage sites, now features an interactive map allowing users to explore the route either geographically or chronologically through images, short descriptions, and data visualizations about the changes to Jewish communities over time. This interactive map and data visualization are intended to shine a light on the important places along the Chassidic Route and inspire enthusiasm for Jewish heritage preservation in the region and around the world.

World Monuments Fund (WMF) partnered with Periscopic, an industry-leading information visualization firm, to create the interactive map. The Chassidic Route was developed in 2008 by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, with funding from WMF, to connect numerous towns and cities throughout southeastern Poland that were once centers of Chassidism, a branch of Jewish orthodoxy that emerged during the eighteenth century. From humble cemeteries to imposing synagogues, these towns contain invaluable reminders of a centuries-old Jewish presence that has survived invasions, plagues, wars, and countless other threats.

The Chassidic Route begins with Zamosc Synagogue, a significant Renaissance-era structure that, after being abandoned for decades, was transformed between 2009 and 2010 into a multi-purpose cultural venue and serves as the route’s visitor center. The restoration of Zamosc Synagogue was funded in part by World Monuments Fund’s Jewish Heritage Program, a special initiative of the organization launched in 1988 to lead international efforts in preserving Jewish cultural heritage sites around the world.

Sarah Sher, WMF’s Jewish Heritage Program Associate, stated: “In addition to our conservation and interpretation work at Jewish heritage sites, WMF believes it is important to expand online resources on this topic so that the information is accessible and engaging. The Chassidic Route interactive map takes one of our successful conservation projects, Zamosc Renaissance Synagogue, and puts it within a compelling narrative where the user can explore nearby sites, different architectural styles, and how these different Polish Jewish communities evolved over time. It’s a fun way to plan a trip, or just a fun way to explore this region of Poland from the comfort of your home.”

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