‘Building Wonders’: Haghia Sophia

A new documentary featuring Robert Ousterhout

By Victoria Khroundina | February 24, 2015

Readers in the US, a treat is coming to your TV screens this Wednesday (February 25). Providence Pictures is releasing the third installment in its Building Wonders series. The first, on the Colosseum, aired on February 11, the second on Petra aired on February 18, and the third, entitled Hagia Sophia – Istanbul’s Ancient Mystery, will premiere at 9pm on WGBH Channel 2 and PBS's NOVA on Wednesday (with re-runs at 2am, 5am and 1pm on Thursday, on WGBX 44). It is also available to watch on this site. The programme features Robert Ousterhout, a recognised specialist in Byzantine architecture, author and Cornucopia contributor (peruse his books in the Cornucopia store).

In this series, ancient writings and technology, along with expert opinions from historians, scientists, architects and engineers, are used to explore how the Colosseum, Petra and Haghia Sophia actually worked, architecturally speaking. For the Haghia Sophia part, Providence Pictures worked with earthquake engineers in Istanbul to build an eight-tonne brick-and-mortar model of the 1,500-year-old building, placed it on a seismic shake table and pushed it to collapse. The experiment was designed to investigate how Haghia Sophia has been able to withstand centuries of earthquakes while buildings around it collapsed.

 French speakers, there is already a version dubbed in your language that you can watch below.  

YouTube English version

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