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Petra: Lost City of Stone

   2015    History
More than 2,000 years ago, the thriving city of Petra rose up in the bone-dry desert of what is now Jordan. An oasis of culture and abundance, the city was built by wealthy merchants whose camel caravans transported incense and spices from the Arabian Gulf. They carved spectacular temple-tombs into its soaring cliffs, raised a monumental Great Temple at its heart, and devised an ingenious system that channeled water to vineyards, bathhouses, fountains, and pools. But following a catastrophic earthquake and a slump in its desert trade routes, Petra's unique culture faded and was lost to most of the world for nearly a thousand years. Now, in a daring experiment, an archaeologist and sculptors team up to carve an iconic temple-tomb to find out how the ancient people of Petra built their city of stone. Meanwhile, scientists using remote sensors and hydraulic flumes uncover the vast city and its sophisticated water system. The race is on to discover how these nomads created this oasis of culture in one of the harshest climates on Earth.

Hagia Sophia: Istanbuls Ancient Mystery

   2015    History
Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its soaring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world—the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its dome with room to spare. How has it survived its location on one of the world's most active seismic faults, which has inflicted a dozen devastating earthquakes since it was built in 537?" As Istanbul braces for the next big quake, a team of architects and engineers is urgently investigating Hagia Sophia's seismic secrets. Follow engineers as they build a massive 8-ton model of the building's core structure, place it on a motorized shake table, and hit it with a series of simulated quakes, pushing it collapse—a fate that the team is determined to avoid with the real building

Great Cathedral Mystery

   2014    Art
The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, is a masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as an average cruise ship. Historians and engineers have long debated how its architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, kept the dome perfectly aligned and symmetrical as the sides rose and converged toward the center." More than four million bricks could collapse at any moment -- and we still don't understand how Brunelleschi prevented it. To test the latest theories, a team of U.S. bricklayers will help build an experimental "mini-Duomo" using period tools and techniques.

Angkor Land of the Gods

   2011    Art    3D
Buddhists, Hindus, and hundreds of thousands of travellers from around the globe flock to Cambodia every year to experience the grandeur of Angkor. Its famous temples were built over the span of five centuries by the rulers of the Khmer Empire, and endure today as one of Earth's greatest archaeological wonders. Join us as we shed light on one of the most enigmatic, mesmerizing civilizations in the history of mankind. We peel away the myth and legend to uncover the hidden story behind the creation of this ancient city.
Angkor Wat is the largest temple on the face of the Earth and is a symbol of one of the greatest empires in the history of Southeast Asia. And yet, for centuries, the sacred structure remained lost within the tropical forests of Cambodia, along with the history of the young king who built the temple. Discover the story of Suryavarman II and how he ushered in the golden age of the Khmer Empire. See how Angkor Wat was constructed over four backbreaking decades, and witness the monument in its true glory and splendour, as it appeared 900 years ago.

The Art of Germany: A Divided Land

   2010    Art
Andrew Graham-Dixon begins his exploration of German art by looking at the rich and often neglected art of the German middle ages and Renaissance. He visits the towering cathedral of Cologne, a place which encapsulates the varied and often contradictory character of German art. In Munch he gets to grips with the earliest paintings of the Northern Renaissance, the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer and the cosmic visions of the painter Albrecht Altdorfer. Andrew also embarks on a tour of the Bavarian countryside, discovering some of the little-known treasures of German limewood sculpture.
Series: The Art of Germany
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Cosmos

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