4 March 2009
"Greece: Alexander's shadow" – Film screening at the European Commission Liaison Office in Pristina
Equestrian Statue of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki
Equestrian Statue of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki

"Greece: Alexander's shadow"
(52 minutes, in English)


"a compelling documentary series about the Balkans and Turkey”
Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Enlargement

"These are documentaries all of us citizens of the European Union should have the opportunity to see"
Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister

Return to Europe Series
Winner of the 2008 Erasmus EuroMedia Award


on Wednesday, 4 March2009, at 17.30


The end of the cold war, the collapse of communism in the Balkans, the creation of new states in the region and the experience of war and mass migration all came as a shock to the people of Greece in the early 1990s. Nowhere was this more true than in Northern Greece, in particular in Thessaloniki.

This film explores the particular history and culture of Thessaloniki and retraces how the city and its people are trying to redefine their identity in a new South East Europe. Mark Mazower's "City of Ghosts" has long had difficulties accepting its own past and heritage. This film explores some of the reasons, as well as the turning point in Greek foreign policy in 1999 towards Turkey and the Balkans.

The documentary describes Greece's "return to Europe" as a story of normalisation of relations with at least some of Greek's most important neighbours (although the dispute with the Republic of Macedonia over its name continues). All this has also influenced attitudes in Thessaloniki towards its past, which is influenced by a rich cultural heritage, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Jewish, as well as the long term effects of large-scale ethnic resettlement between Turks and Greeks in 1923.

Today Thessaloniki is struggling to rediscover its social, cultural and historical link to the Balkans – and sees this as an opportunity for prospering in a new South East Europe.

"Greece: Alexander's shadow" is a part of the TV project "Return to Europe", a series of 10 one-hour TV documentaries featuring countries and cities in the Balkans. The aim of the series is to acquaint viewers across Europe with the latest developments in South East Europe and the struggle of the people of the region for a better future in a united Europe.

The series is supported by ERSTE Stiftung and has been jointly produced by the German-language satellite channel 3sat, Austria's public broadcaster ORF and the TV production company pre-TV, in cooperation with the European Stability Initinative (ESI), upon whose research and analysis these films are based. The Istanbul film has recently been shown at international events in Brussels, Istanbul, Tbilisi, Berlin, and other cities across Europe and has received very positive feedback. It will be broadcast by a number of TV stations throughout the Balkans in coming months.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009




European Commission Liaison Office to Kosovo (ECLO),
1 Kosovo Street,
10000 Pristina



Welcome by Verena Knaus, Senior Analyst, European Stability Initiative (ESI)