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Touching the Void

   2003    Culture
In 1985, two adventurous young mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set off to climb the treacherous west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. They were experienced climbers, and climbed "Alpine-style," climbing the mountain in "one great push," without setting up ropes or base camps ahead of time. After dealing with a snowstorm and some dangerous climbing over powder formations, they reached the summit (about 21,000 feet) on the third day. The climb down proved to be far more difficult. Simpson fell and broke his leg badly. Yates decided to try to lower Simpson down the mountain, one 300-foot section of rope at a time. The climbers had run out of gas to melt snow, so they couldn't risk stopping as night came, and a violent snowstorm began. Their plodding, painful journey hit a snag when Yates inadvertently lowered Simpson over the edge of a cliff. In the storm, the men couldn't hear each other's cries, and, Yates, uncertain as to Simpson's position, and gradually sliding down the slope himself, decided to cut the rope that connected them, sending Simpson plummeting to certain death. Miraculously, Simpson survived the fall, and was faced with the prospect of getting off the mountain alone with no food, no water, and a broken leg. In Touching the Void, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) tells their story, based on Simpson's book, using contemporary interviews with the two men, and a reenactment of their climb and descent, featuring Brendan Mackey as Simpson and Nicholas Aaron as Yates

Wonders Of The Universe: Destiny

   2011    Science
Professor Brian Cox seeks to understand the nature of time and its role in creating both the universe and ourselves. From an extraordinary calendar built into the landscape of Peru to the beaches of Costa Rica, Brian explores the cycles of time which define our experience of life on Earth. But even the most epic cycles of life can't begin to compare to the vast expanse of cosmic time. Ultimately, Brian discovers that time is not characterised by repetition but by irreversible change. The vast universe is subject to these same laws of change. As we look out to the cosmos, we can see the story of its evolution unfold, from the death of the first stars to the birth of the youngest. This journey from birth to death will ultimately lead to the destruction not just of our planet, but also the entire universe, and with it the end of time itself. Yet without this inevitable destruction, the universe would be without what is perhaps the greatest wonder of all; the brief moment in time in which life can exist.
Series: Wonders Of The Universe

Virgilio Martinez

   2017    Art
Virgilio Martínez is the chef/owner of Central, a restaurant in Lima, Peru that currently sits at number four on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. After a decade spent cooking in kitchens around the world, Martínez only found his true identity as a chef when he began exploring the different regions of his native Peru, from the ocean to the Andes. While some chefs are obsessed with a 'sense of place,' Martínez strives to offer his guests a sense of many places — entire ecosystems over the course of a tasting menu.
Martínez always had an adventurous spirit, but growing up in Peru during the 70s and ‘80s meant that many parts of the country were closed off to him. As a teenager, he learned that pursuing a career in the kitchen would allow him the freedom to travel all over the world. The chef ended in charge of a restaurant in Madrid. This is really where Virgilio started to develop his experimental style. Martínez decided to leave Spain to go and work on opening his own restaurant in Peru. He decided to explore the idea of cooking dishes based on altitudes and ecosystems. Martínez runs Central’s kitchen with his wife, Pia León. They developed the altitude-based menu concept together. Martínez’s sister, Malena, has a science background, so he brought her on as part of the team to explore different terrains in search of ingredients that they could use at the restaurant. Virgilio remarks: 'We use 180 ingredients, and 50 percent of them are unknown.' The altitude-themed tasting menu was introduced in 2012, and the following year, Central landed at the bottom of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Two years later, it soared to number four.
Series: Chef's Table

The Lost Pyramids of Caral

   2002    History
The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilisation in the Americas and, at 2,627 BC, is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology - a 'mother city'. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology: why did humans become civilised?" For over a century, archaeologists have been searching for what they call a mother city. Civilisation began in only six areas of the world: Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Peru and Central America. In each of these regions people moved from small family units to build cities of thousands of people. They crossed the historic divide, one of the great moments in human history. Why? To find the answer archaeologists needed to find a mother city - the first stage of city-building. Caral, is so much older than anything else in South America that it is a clear candidate to be the mother city. It also is in pristine condition. Nothing has been built on it at all. Instead laid out before the world is an elaborate complex of pyramids, temples, an amphitheatre and ordinary houses. Scientists developed a number of theories. Some said it was because of the development of trade, others that it was irrigation. Some even today believe it was all because of aliens. Gradually an uneasy consensus emerged. The key force common to all civilisations was warfare. Crucially, there is not the faintest trace of warfare at Caral; no battlements, no weapons, no mutilated bodies. Instead, Ruth's findings suggest it was a gentle society, built on commerce and pleasure. In one of the pyramids they uncovered beautiful flutes made from condor and pelican bones. They have also found evidence of a culture that took drugs and perhaps aphrodisiacs. Most stunning of all, they have found the remains of a baby, lovingly wrapped and buried with a precious necklace made of stone beads.

Ancient Aliens Debunked: Nazca Lines

       History
The Nazca Lines of Peru have been an important part of the Ancient Astronaut theory since its beginning. Originally Von Daniken claimed that the lines were kind of a UFO runway, or a type of alien airport, where the alien craft landed and took off. The idea that it was an airport makes no logical sense, and the symbols and rituals which were a huge part of the Nazcan culture more than explain the so called Nazca lines.
Series: Ancient Aliens
Black Hole Apocalypse
Black Hole Apocalypse

   2018    Science
How Art Made the World
How Art Made the World

   2006    Art
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
Dinosaur Planet
Dinosaur Planet

   2003    Science
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur

   2011    Science
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens

      History
Atom
Atom

   2007    Science
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture