Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

OUR TRIP TO APEDALE PARK November 20, 2008

Filed under: Typical places — philjohnson @ 11:07 pm

Last week we went for a school trip to Apedale, a very nice and typical  Country Park near our town Chesterton.There we visited an acient wood.  As the name, Watermills Wood,suggests – there were, at one time, mills in these woods which ground things such as corn or wheat into flour. Later, coal mines were dug here using water from the stream running through the wood. We can tell that the opencast mine did not dig into the wood by the age of the trees, we know they are very old from their size. The path is where the narrow railway lines were and a steam engine at the top of the woods would help pull wagons up to collect the coal.

When the hole left by the opencast mine was filled in, trees were planted in some places but some parts were left as open grassland. This was to encourage certain wildlife to live here. (e.g. skylarks and lapwings, known as ‘peawits’, who nest on the ground.)

Water and heat is needed to make steam. Burning coal provided the heat and water was drawn from the pond. Silver birch trees grow very quickly and so that explains the number of them here. When all the industry stopped, these trees would have been some of the first ones to grow.


The Brickworks can be seen from here. 50 years ago several ovens could be seen with black smoke coming out of their chimneys. Chesterton High School, the site of an early Roman fort, can be seen on the hill opposite.

There are clues there was a coalmine. For example, they had to separate the stuff they did want (coal) from the stuff they didn’t want, such as a rock called shale. As they dug, the rocks from Watermills Colliery were dumped onto a heap. As the rocks got higher, the materials became squashed and the gas contained in them burned. (spontaneous combustion) Sometimes these fires can last for two years. In the wood we can see red ash which is the name of the rock after it has burned.

Traditional British trees such as oak, elm and beech take a long time to grow. So, to avoid the park looking bare, fast growing trees such as the willow, alder and silver birch were planted. Oak, elm and beech were planted in between. The plan is to remove the ‘fast growers’ once the others are established to a reasonable height.


The limestone path from the Heathcote tower to the gate leading out of the woods, was laid by Churchfields schoolchildren some years ago.

We can see the base of the old tower, there would have been a tall chimney above this. Cages took the men and coal up and down and steam was needed to power the engine for the railway. Water was taken from nearby pools for the steam. The chimney was to carry away the smoke from the coal being burned. Richard Heathcote owned the mines. He had realised the valley had potential for profit and so he purchased the land. At the base of the tower he had religious messages engraved : “live and let live” and “regard the end”. (this last phrase meant : prepare for when you die).

Here are some photos of our trip:


Philip&Kids: Class 4 – Churchfields Primary School – Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme – England – UK


Churches in Bucharest November 17, 2008

Filed under: Religious traditions,Typical places — ivasil @ 5:48 pm

Antim Monastery
It was founded by the metropolitan bishop Antim Ivireanul, a famous name of our culture.
He started one of the first printing works in Romania, was a writer and a sculptor.
The monastery was designed by Antim himself, two of the original plans still exist. Antim payed for the building of the monastery himself.
It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest in the Brancovenesc style.
It was planned as a fortress, the church in the middle and the cells around it, with a tower in each corner. During the Phanariot regime the church was robbed by the Greek in1790 and brought to a pitiful state.
It was only restored completely in 1870.

Bucur Church
According to he tradition, it was first built of wood by Bucur, the shepherd who founded our town.
The ruler Mircea cel Batran then raised the brick church in 1416, even before the city had become the capital of Wallachia.
This is said to be the second oldest church in Bucharest.

Casin Monastery
It mixes the Brancovenesc style (with the entrance columns) and the Byzantine one (the shape of the Greek cross, mosaics, the high and spacious building).
It’s one of the tallest churches in Bucharest, meant to be seen from far away.

Coltea Church

It was founded by Spatarul (the Sword Bearer) Catacuzino between 1701-1702
I has rich adornments specific to the Brancovenesc style.
The frescos are painted by Gh. Tattarescu.

The Old Court Church
One of the most valuable buildings of the religious architecture from the Feudal Age, the oldest in Bucharest. It is preserved in its initial form built between 1545-1547 by the ruler Mircea Ciobanul for the needs of the Ruling Court. There are also some frescos from the reign of Serban Cantacuzino still preserved. It was declared a historical monument.

Domnita Balasa Church
The church is built in the Neo-Roman style.
The original building was founded by Domnita Balasa, the 6th daughter of Constantin Brancoveanu. Her tomb can be seen inside the church.
The stained glass windows were made in Munich and the chandelier in Vienna.
Just outside the church there is Domnita Balasa’s statue, one of the best works of Carol Storck.
The inscription on the pedestal mentions the estates the church had received.
The church is a historical and architectural monument.

Radu Voda Monastery
It was built in 1568 by Mircea Ciobanu’s son, set on fire by the Turks withdrawing from the glorious attack of Michael the Brave and restored during the reign of Radu Mihnea.
It hosts Gh Tattarescu’s paintings.
It is an important monument of our capital due to its troubled history and historical value. The first library in Bucharest functioned here during the 16th century.

Mihai Voda Monastery
It was built by Michael the Brave between 1589-1591 on the place of an old church.
It had strong defense walls and royal houses that were later used as residence of the Phanariot rulers.
The present complex includes the church (an architectural and historical monument), the Palace of the State Archives and the Belfry.

The Patriarchal Cathedral
This stunning 17th-century cathedral, situated on a hill overlooking Southern Bucharest, is the Romanian Orthodox Church headquarters.
A fabulous fresco of the blessed and the damned, ascending to heaven or tumbling into hell, adorns the entrance, as well as the oldest icon on the site, depicting patron saints Constantin and Helen (1665).
It was built between 1656-1658, by the ruler Costantin Serban Basarab and finished in the time of Radu Leon when it became the headquarters of the Metropolitan Church. The hill it is standing on is therefore called the Metropolitan Hill.
The only thing left from the monastery’s establishments is a beautiful belfry built during Constantin Brancoveanu’s reign, in 1698.

St. Nicholas Church
It is also called The Russian church, because it is built in a typical Russian style. It is the only such church in Romania.
People also call it Students’ Church because since 1933 it’s been the Bucharest University chapel of ease.
It was built between 1905-1909 and partly financed by the Tzar Nicholas. It was destined to be used by the Russian community.
The seven onion-shaped tower roofs used to be gold gilded, but it was washed away by the rain.

The New St. Spiridon Church
This is the biggest church in Bucharest.
The iconostasis is painted by Gheoghe Tattarescu and the stained glass windows were made in Vienna in 1860

The Old St. Spiridon Church
This small church on the Dambovita’s shore has many strange features.
First, its shape is unusual for the Orthodox churches, because it has no towers.
Then, it’s position: it stood at first on the left bank of the Dambovita. Due to the river’s channelling, it now stands on the right bank. As the ground went down after the works, it now is one meter lower than the street’s level, so instead of climbing stairs to get in, you have to go down.
It is the only Orthodox church in the world that has the inscription above the entrance written in Greek and Arab instead of Slavonic.
Last, but the most important: this is not the original church, the one built in the 17th century. That one was destroyed in 1987 during Ceausescu’s regime. As it was so small, one afternoon was enough for the bull-dozers to tear it down.
It was rebuilt in 1992 on the same spot and using the parts that had been preserved from the old church: the entrance with the inscription, the columns, the window-frames and the icons.

Stavropoleos Church
The small and beautiful Stavropoleos church is hidden behind the National History Museum, between higher buildings.
According to its story, it was founded by a Greek monk named Ioanichie, who settled down here.
It is built in the Brâncovenesc Style, a typical Romanian style from the 17th-19th centuries. It can be seen in its columns, pedestals, balcony and the carved ornaments showing plants and animals. The church survived many earthquakes, starting with two very bad ones in 1802 and 1838, but now both the building itself and the surrounding area need major rehabilitation.

Zlatari Church
The legend says it was first built of wood during the reign of Matei Basarab (17th century) by the Greek craftsmen who were making gold objects.
It was rebuilt in 1705 and then again after the 1802 and 1838 earthquakes, using Xavier Villacrosse’s plans.
The interior paintings made by Gh. Tattarescu and the silver framed icons are real works of art. Unfortunately, the painting needs urgent reparations.

Irina and the kids from School 92, Bucharest


Italian review for “Traditions across Europe”!/ Riconoscimento italiano per “Traditions across Europe”! November 14, 2008

Filed under: 1 — Gina @ 11:29 pm

“Traditions across Europe” è stato selezionato tra i progetti italiani etwinning dell’anno scolastico 2007/2008 e pubblicato nel volume “Le competenze chiave nell’apprendimento permanente: il contributo di eTwinning” relativamente alla competenza “Consapevolezza ed espressione culturali”. La presentazione della pubblicazione e del progetto è avvenuta durante il seminario tenutosi a Pistoia  nei giorni 10 e 11 novembre 2008.

“Traditions across Europe” has been selected among the  Italian etwinnig projects of the school year 2007 / 2008 and published in the volume :”Le competenze chiave nell’apprendimento permanente: il contributo di eTwinning” (The key competences in the longlife learning: the Etwinning contribute) in order to the competence “Consapevolezza ed espressione culturali” (cultural consciousness and expression). The presentation of the publication and of the project took place during the seminary of Pistoia in the days 10 and 11 November 2008:

Ecco alcune immagini del seminario / Here are some images of the seminary:

Gina e Mario – Scuola Primaria “A. Ciancia”- Francavilla in Sinni (PZ)- Italia


The Fallen Day: 4th November/ La Festa dei Caduti: il 4 novembre November 5, 2008

Filed under: National Days — Mario @ 11:48 pm

Il 4 novembre, importante data storica per l’Italia, si celebra l’armistizio del 1918 che pose fine alla Prima Guerra Mondiale. In questa occasione si è soliti ricordare quanti hanno dato la loro vita per la Patria e celebrare con sfilate, deposizione di corone vicino ai monumenti dei caduti, L’alzabandiera, l’intonazione dell’Inno nazionale con la mano sul cuore,  discorsi per ricordare il passato. Quest’anno anche noi abbiamo partecipato ad una manifestazione organizzata dall’amministrazione comunale.

 On the 4th November, important historical date for Italy, we celebrate the 1918 armistice that ended the First World War. In this occasion  we usually remember all the people gave their lives for the Country and and celebrate with parades, leaving wreaths next to the war memorials, the flag-raising ceremony, the intonation of the National Anthem with our hand on our heart and speeches to remember the past. This year we also partecipate to a ceremony organized by the municipal authority.

 Ecco alcune immagini della cerimonia/ Here are some of images of the ceremony:

Classe 5^B- Scuola Primaria “A. Ciancia”- Francavilla in Sinni (PZ) – Italia


Halloween celebrated in our school

Here are some photos from our Halloween party at school. Halloween is not part of our tradition, but lots of young people celebrate it. It is more an opportunity to go out with their friends and do something different from their day-to-day life.

Pumpkins, costumes and lots of fun:

Apple bobbing:

Liliana&the kids


All Saints’ Day in Poland – 1st November November 4, 2008

Filed under: All Saints' Day — ligregni @ 4:09 pm
Tags: , ,

Halloween is getting more and more popular in Poland thanks to the media, especially American films, but in Poland it is All Saints’ Day which is celebrated by most people. It takes place on 1st November and has nothing to do with fun. It’s a quiet sad day when we visit the graves of our families and friends to pray for them and help them with the prayers.

Upon the graves on this day you can find thousands of flowers like chrysanthemum, wreaths, burning candles symbolising our memory and love for those who passed away. It is a great show, especially at night. People get really sad on this day, they meet their family members and talk about their dead relatives.

Our graves are quite interesting as well:

“It is worth to mention that the cemeteries in Poland are different than in any country I saw. Graves and tombs are big and very individualized. There is usually a guard standing at military graves in that day. You don’t see two graves, which looks the same except maybe military graves. They are either individual (for one person) or family vaults. They are made of rocks (granite, marble, sandstone etc.) some are completely covered with stone some have a soil with some planted flowers. They differ in their richness. Some of them are taken care on the daily basis. Many older women, mainly widows, visit cemeteries almost every day. Since Poland is a catholic country almost every grave has a cross standing or carved in stone.”

(taken from

It is only on 30th November ( St. Andrew’s Day) that we have fun, organise parties , even at school and we will soon write about the day here.

Gimnazjum nr 18, Gdansk, Poland.