The World's Greatest Churches

The World's Greatest Churches
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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 The Earliest Churches
Begin by considering what defines a church, encompassing both its religious uses and its functions as a place of assembly. Learn how the first churches came into being, based architecturally…
Episode 2 The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
In visiting this iconic church of the Holy Land, trace the history of the building and of the medieval reconstruction we see today. Study the church's unusual structure, incorporating the…
Episode 3 Hagia Sophia
Learn about the dramatic past of this jewel of Constantinople, which served as a church for 1,000 years before becoming a mosque. Discover one of the world's most extraordinary architectural…
Episode 4 The Cave Churches of Cappadocia
Here, ponder the highly unusual churches of Turkish Cappadocia, elaborately carved into the sides of mountains within a mysterious and otherworldly landscape. Glimpse the lives of the monks and hermits…
Episode 5 Great Churches of Russia
Discover the extraordinary beauties of the churches of the Russian Orthodox tradition. Learn about the religious culture that inspired these structures, with their characteristic gilded domes and striking decoration of…
Episode 6 The Painted Churches of Romania
The churches of Romanian Moldavia, unique in the world, are richly adorned with frescoes both inside and outside. Explore examples of the extraordinary exterior paintings, noting how narrative themes are…
Episode 7 The Churches of Armenia
This lecture takes you deeply into the Armenian artistic heritage of Christianity. In visits to a spectrum of beautiful churches and monasteries, encounter the rich detail and ornate elaboration of…
Episode 8 The Churches of Georgia
Continue with the superlative decoration of the historic churches of Georgia. In Mtskheta, Santavro, and Ruisi, study exterior stone carvings evoking striking Christian imagery. Delve into the extraordinary theological vision…
Episode 9 The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ethiopia
Visit the monolithic churches of Lalibela, each completely carved from a single piece of rock, creating the illusion of columns and vaulted ceilings. Study their mysterious architectural details and their…
Episode 10 The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
Contemplate the remarkable history of this hybrid religious structure, a medieval cathedral built entirely within a majestic former mosque. Explore the striking Islamic archways and scalloped dome, leading to the…
Episode 11 The Stave Churches of Norway
Journey to the picturesque landscapes of rural Norway, which are home to a unique tradition of wooden churches dating from the 12th century. Study the complex, multi-tiered construction of the…
Episode 12 The Pilgrimage Church of Sainte-Foy
Walk in the shoes of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela in this visit to the magnificent church at Conques. View the bejeweled reliquary of the martyred Sainte Foy, pause to…
Episode 13 The Cathedral of Monreale
Uncover the cosmopolitan character of this beloved Sicilian cathedral that encompasses Muslim, Byzantine, French, Italian, and Jewish influences. Delve into the remarkable decoration of the great cloisters, 12th-century doors, and…
Episode 14 Chartres Cathedral
This grand edifice is widely considered the most outstanding cathedral of the Gothic style. Look deeply into its huge and complex decorative scheme, highlighting the explosion of biblical sculpture on…
Episode 15 Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral stands as a virtual handbook of later medieval architecture, blending decorative elements of extraordinary beauty and rarity. In particular, study the breathtakingly ornate "fan" vaulting, uniquely important tombs,…
Episode 16 The Cathedral of Siena
Discover how Siena's wondrous cathedral, in its construction and decoration, reflects the civic pride and history of the Sienese. Explore masterpieces of Renaissance and Baroque art, from the elaborate, inscribed…
Episode 17 St. Peter's Basilica
Experience the splendor of the world's largest church and the seat of the papacy, among the most iconic creations of the Christian world. Trace the history of the complex as…
Episode 18 The Wieskirche in Bavaria
This dazzling church in southern Germany embodies the joyful exuberance of the Rococo style. In studying its almost overwhelming decoration of florid ornamentation, lyrical paintings, and animated statuary, observe how…
Episode 19 La Compañía and Las Lajas Sanctuary
In this first look at New World churches, visit the Spanish Baroque "La Compania" in Quito, Ecuador. Study the elaborately sculpted facade, the stunning golden interior, and the profusion of…
Episode 20 Guadalupe and the Cathedral of Mexico City
Journey to one of the most important pilgrimage centers in the world, the Mexican shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by Mexico City's great metropolitan Cathedral. At both sites,…
Episode 21 Four Great American Churches
On our own soil, explore two classic churches of the New England tradition, whose characteristic features form part of the American landscape. Then observe how the elegant simplicity of a…
Episode 22 La Sagrada Família
This spellbinding creation by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi interprets the Gothic cathedral through Gaudi's visionary, modernist style. Study the striking sculpted decoration of the exterior portals, the dreamlike interior with…
Episode 23 Iceland's Hallgrímskirkja
Discover how the dramatic exterior of this contemporary basilical church reflects the geological features of the Icelandic landscape. Investigate the themes of the church's decoration, as they express the Passion-centered…
Episode 24 Two Churches in Seoul, Korea
In the final leg of your journey, grasp how Korean architect Kim Swoo Geun blended elements of Buddhist temples, modern Western architecture, universal church practices, and Korean Christian history to…

Comments (1)

Wayne avatar
Wayne

This is an excellent series!

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