Embark on an epic journey of Hope. The legend is as massive and multifaceted as the gem itself, spanning one billion years, three continents and leaving a trail of intrigue, envy and death. We uncover the science and secrets of history's most famous jewel by visiting different countries and getting expert opinions from forensic scientists and history scholars.
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Marco Polo: World's Greatest Overland Explorer? Or World's Biggest Liar? Perhaps no land journey in human history is more famous than Marco Polo's legendary 24 year trek across Asia. But was it all just a big lie? As described in his 1299 book, the peripatetic Venetian merchant encountered such wonders as the "singing sand dunes" of Dunhuang, China, "mountains of salt" in present-day Afghanistan, and the glories of the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. Generations of Europeans were spellbound by Polo's account, yet in recent years some scholars have questioned its authenticity. National Geographic Photographer Mike Yamashita sets out to visually document one of the greatest overland journeys ever made: the 24-year odyssey of Marco Polo. 700 years ago a young Venetian set out on what was to become one of the most influential journeys ever made. His adventures took him well beyond the boundaries of the known world of Persia to a land that was almost completely unexplored - the mysterious Middle Kingdom. But ever since he returned there were those who doubted Marco Polo. Did he really see what he described in his legendary book, 'Description of the World' or did he merely describe what others told him. In this film, Mike Yamashita follows Marco's book from the lofty heights of the Pamir Mountains to the fabled city of Xanadu in Mongolia. In so doing he attempts to unravel some of the age old mystery: Did Marco Polo really go to China? In the course of this incredible journey Mike stumbles onto a nomadic Kazak wedding in Aksai and investigates the controversy of the Great Wall - why did Polo never mention this in his famous travelogue "The Description of the World"? And why did he never mention tea or chopsticks? Yamashita talks to noted Chinese historian Professor Liu Yingsheng about these and many other Polo conundrums. In Yunnan province, he visits the bound feet women, and travels to inner Mongolia to film the famous herds of the Mongolian horsemen. As Yamashita reaches Xanadu he ponders on how Polo became a trusted confidant to the Khan and spent 17 years in his service. What sights he must have seen. But did he? The mystery slowly but surely reveals itself.
2022 • People
The astonishing, little-known story of men, women, and children who were exhibited alongside animals in Europe, America and Japan from the second half of the 19th century until WWII: an international story from a pre-globalization era concerning the most diverse populations from every continent.
2018 • People
From the protests of Tiananmen Square to the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989 transformed global politics in profound ways that still resonate today; former Secretary of State James Baker and journalists provide eyewitness accounts.
The extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell's extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell's own 1,600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiques. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq.
2017 • People
Sex is a simple word for a very complex set of desires. It cuts to the core of our passions, our wants, our emotions. But when it goes wrong, it can be the most painful thing of all. Professor Alice Roberts looks through 45 years of Horizon archive to see how science came to understand sex, strived to solve our problems with it, and even help us to do it better. Can science save the day when sex goes wrong?
2013 • People