Birthplaces of Europe: Thessaloniki

Europe was not born in one single place. With "Birthplaces of Europe", the European School Munich is running a challenging project dealing with the history of different places in Europe. This school year the Greek, Italian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish and Portuguese participants went on an excursion to the Greek city of Thessaloniki. On Europe Day last Thursday, the pupils from the classes S1 to S6 presented their research on the city to guest of honour: The European School Munich was very pleased to welcome its patron for this project, the Greek Consul General in Munich, Mrs Panagiota Konstantinopoulou. The participation of Archimandrite Peter Klitsch, who teaches Greek Orthodox religious education in the primary school of the ESM, was also a great pleasure for everyone.

During the study trip to Thessaloniki in April, the students of the ESM discovered a variety of historical aspects within the city. They went on a day trip to Meteora, a religious unique area (see picture), and also visited the impressive royal tombs of Vergina. Following the Greek Consulate’s friendly invitation to visit the Town Hall, the students had a personal meeting with Thessaloniki’s mayor, Mr. Boutaris. He was enthusiastic about the school’s activities and gave the students useful educational material on the city’s history. The students did not only enjoy every single moment during their stay in Greece, they also discovered the Greek hospitality, got to know each other and made friends.

The students had spent a lot of time and effort throughout the year. On Europe Day they could finally show to the consul general what they had learned during their intensive engagement with Thessaloniki’s history and culture: The students gave talks about the time of ancient Greece, Roman and Byzantine history, the time of Christianisation and the city’s role in European history and in forming the Balkan. The children were also very interested in the era of German occupation during the rule of the Nazis and the genocide against the city’s Jews. Earlier in May the school was visited by Mrs. Alexandra Mitsiali, a multi-award winning Greek writer. She wrote a historical novel on the resistance during World War II, titled “Barefoot Heroes”.

The trip and the author’s visit made it possible for the pupils to get to know the city from multiple perspectives. The European School Munich thanks Mrs Konstantinopoulou and the Greek Consulate General very much for having made these unique experiences possible.

Involved teachers:
•    Greek - P. Papakosta
•    Italian - E. Gajeri
•    Slovakian - J. Hesse
•    Slovenian - K. Manfredini-Schmidt
•    Bulgarian - R. Trifonova
•    Romanian - E. Kasalicky
•    Polish - A. Lidzbarska
•    Portuguese - M. Pereira