KIEV - In 1802 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov came to Uman, then a sleepy, remote town in the Ukraine, and asked his followers to be buried there, near the mass grave of some 30,000 Jews who were murdered in a local pogrom.
Anyone visiting the grave, promised the rabbi, would be saved from the torments of hell.
In the centuries that followed, especially since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the gravesite has become a coveted religious site and the surrounding land – priceless.
According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth Thursday, the gravesite has also become a $50 million a year tourist attraction, with various airlines sending up to 80 flights a month to Uman and ticket prices ranging up to $700, and accommodation prices ranging from $100 to $700 a night.
The Israeli presence in neighborhoods surrounding the gravesite in mass, buying up hundreds of apartments in the area and causing a spike in real estate prices.
A one-bedroom apartment several blocks form the grave is usually sold for about $15,000; a one-bedroom in Pushkina Street, just across from the site, goes for as much as $60,000.