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The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe

Season 1
Travel through time to the golden ages of 12 of Europe's most beautiful medieval cities. In 24 lessons that use extensive location footage, you'll discover the sights, sounds, and smells of teeming markets and mercantile centers, royal feasts and ritual, dramatic military engagements, magnificent religious pageantry, and the many colorful layers of daily medieval life.
202024 episodes
7+
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Episodes

  1. S1 E1 - The Medieval City—A Feast for the Senses
    May 31, 2020
    32min
    7+
    Begin with an immersion into the sights, sounds, and smells of the medieval city. Explore the rich sensory details of markets, monasteries, churches, and religious and civic events. Learn about life in the townhouses of the rich, the tenements of the poor, and the diverse daily activities of medieval societies.
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  2. S1 E2 - Rothenburg—Jewel on the Romantic Road
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    In this beautifully preserved German medieval city, explore the imposing mansions of the city's former elite, the grand fountains, and the market square with its remarkable gothic Town Hall. Also visit St. Jakob's Church, a treasury of medieval and early Renaissance art, and walk the powerful bastions of the city walls.
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  3. S1 E3 - Mdina—The Silent City
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Discover Malta's Mdina through the history of the legendary Knights of Malta, who ruled the island for nearly 300 years. Visit the great palaces of the knights and Maltese nobility, with their striking Gothic and classical architecture, and the sumptuous cathedral, and find the city's medieval atmosphere in the winding Moorish streets.
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  4. S1 E4 - Mdina and Rabat—In the Steps of St. Paul
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Learn about the Roman history of Malta and St. Paul's internment on the island. In Rabat, experience key sites such as the splendid Roman villa, the Grotto of St. Paul, and the remarkable catacombs where Christians sought refuge. Visit rich gardens and palaces, and study the historical events of the Great Siege of 1565.
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  5. S1 E5 - Palermo—A Mosaic of Cultures
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    The sumptuous interiors of the Norman Palace are your entry point to Palermo and its rich multicultural history. Grasp Norman Sicily's historical role as the richest and best-governed state in the West. Explore the complex architecture of the city's churches, cathedral, and Palazzo Abatellis, and the cosmopolitan past of the seaport.
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  6. S1 E6 - Palermo—Celebrating Throne and Altar
    May 31, 2020
    29min
    7+
    Visit the most magnificent of the city's medieval palaces, the Palazzo Chiaramonte. Learn about the eras of German, French, and Spanish rule, and explore the Zisa Castle, richly decorated churches, and the Norman summer palace. Finally, ascend Monreale, overlooking Palermo, to enjoy the finest Norman ecclesiastical architecture in the world.
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  7. S1 E7 - York—Wool and Prayer
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    In the living museum of York, stop first at the romantic ruins of the abbey of St. Mary's, the Abbot's palace, and York Minster cathedral with its stunning stained glass and splendorous interiors. Savor the atmosphere of York's old historical center, the streets of the butchers and printers, and the still-inhabited 14th-century houses.
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  8. S1 E8 - York—Vikings and Merchants
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Taste medieval life in York's "ginnels," narrow passageways offering shortcuts through the town, and in the Barley Hall mansion and Merchant Adventurers' Hall, with their views into the lives of wealthy citizens. Delve into the Viking and Norman history of York, and the latter era's dark side in its treatment of Jews.
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  9. S1 E9 - Avignon—The Babylonian Captivity
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Traveling now to France, contemplate the unusual history of Avignon as the 14th-century seat of the papacy - an era that created the medieval city we see today. Visit the extensive circuit of medieval walls, the great Romanesque cathedral with its splendid papal tombs, and the imposing buildings of the Palace Square.
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  10. S1 E10 - Avignon—Papal Splendor
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Continue with an in-depth visit to Avignon's Palace of the Popes - one of the most elaborate and luxurious palaces of the Middle Ages - highlighting the sumptuous private apartments and the settings of dazzling papal ceremonies. Also learn about Avignon's Jewish history, and walk the evocative, cobbled medieval streets.
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  11. S1 E11 - Carcassonne—Fortress of the Languedoc
    May 31, 2020
    29min
    7+
    The fortifications of this exquisite, romantic city were considered virtually impregnable. Study in detail Carcassonne's complex military defenses and the brilliant strategy behind their use. Then visit the monumental Castle of the Counts, with its dramatic towers, portcullises, and layers of defense - a stronghold of the French crown in an unstable region.
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  12. S1 E12 - Carcassonne—Cathars and Crusaders
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Here, encounter the heretical Cathars, who opposed the Roman church, and the resulting Albigensian Crusade, called to destroy them. Follow the response of the church in the grim events of the Inquisition, and visit the Inquisition Tower, the great cathedral of St. Nazaire, and other sites linked to the conflict.
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  13. S1 E13 - Barcelona—The Gothic Quarter
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Walk the streets of Barcelona's beautifully preserved medieval center, reflecting on the remarkable Palace of the Generalitat and the calm elegance of the Catalan Gothic cathedral and cloisters. Delve into Barcelona's turbulent history under the Visigoths, Moors, and Franks, and its flourishing as a great maritime power.
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  14. S1 E14 - Barcelona—Imagination and Inspiration
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Continue with the jewels of Barcelona, among them the Royal Palace complex, richly decorated Gothic and Romanesque churches, the 15th-century hospital, merchants' mansions, and craftsmens' shopfronts. Visit the Maritime Museum; stroll the narrow, arched lanes and squares around the cathedral; and learn about Barcelona's mystical architect, Antoni Gaudí.
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  15. S1 E15 - Dubrovnik—Pearl of the Adriatic
    May 31, 2020
    29min
    7+
    In its construction, this lovely medieval city and former maritime republic was intended to rival Venice. Enter through the perfectly preserved city walls and study the elaborate fortifications. Trace Dubrovnik's history of enlightened government as you visit civic structures, churches, and the Sponza Palace, one of Dalmatia's most beautiful buildings.
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  16. S1 E16 - Dubrovnik—City of Seven Flags
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Probe deeper into Dubrovnik's remarkable political system, highlighting its diplomatic strategies and progressive policies, such as a free public health service. Visit the sites connected to this history, including the Rector's Palace, the 15th-century orphanage, and a still-operating pharmacy founded in 1317, and enjoy the majesty of the city's architecture.
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  17. S1 E17 - Kraków—The Royal Way
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Enter this great Polish city through the historic Wawel Royal Castle with its Gothic towers and imposing Room of the Envoys. From there, walk the ceremonial route of Polish kings, stopping at the 14th-century cathedral, great town mansions, Romanesque and Polish Gothic churches, and the architectural riches of Jagellonian University.
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  18. S1 E18 - Kraków—Crossroads of Europe
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Now enter Kraków's Market Square, the largest medieval square in Europe. Visit treasures such as the 16th-century mercantile Cloth Hall, the historically significant Church of St. Mary, the remaining medieval fortifications, and the culturally rich Jewish quarter, and contemplate Kraków's long history of foreign domination and ultimate survival.
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  19. S1 E19 - Prague—Freedom of Mind and Spirit
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    In this famously beautiful city, travel the royal road from the ceremonial Powder Tower to Prague Castle. Pause at the Courtyard of the Merchants and the spectacular Old Town Square, with its medieval city mansions, Town Hall, and extraordinary astronomical clock. Savor the magical atmosphere of Prague's rich architectural landscape.
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  20. S1 E20 - Prague—Castle Hill
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Prague's political and religious history comes alive as you climb Hradcany Hill to Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. Explore the castle's large medieval complex, noting historical sites such as the Chancery and Imperial Court Council Rooms. Study the stunning interiors of the cathedral, and visit Prague's great monasteries.
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  21. S1 E21 - Bruges—Built on the Sea and Trade
    May 31, 2020
    30min
    7+
    Begin at the Markt, the medieval commercial center of Bruges, and learn about the city's great mercantile empires and valiant 14th-century uprising against the French that established civic liberty. Visit architectural masterpieces such as the magnificent Town Hall, the Old Recorder's House, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and splendid mansions.
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  22. S1 E22 - Bruges—Commerce and Community
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Visit the sublime Church of Our Lady, with its Baroque interiors and masterworks of art, paramount among Bruges's riches. Then enjoy vivid glimpses of medieval life in the 12th-century St. John's Hospital, the Beguine House, a lace-making workshop, the 13th-century hospice for women, and the site of Europe's first stock exchange.
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  23. S1 E23 - Siena—Good Government
    May 31, 2020
    31min
    7+
    Siena's turbulent medieval history is vividly represented in the city we see today. Trace the republic's defining 13th-century victory over the Florentines, visit the fortified palaces of the great feudal families and the monumental buildings of the beautiful Piazza del Campo, and marvel at the city's complex medieval water system.
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  24. S1 E24 - Siena—The Gothic Dream
    May 31, 2020
    34min
    7+
    Learn about the significance of the palio, the Sienese ritual horse race of absolute medieval authenticity. Explore treasures including the Baptistry, and the spectacular interiors of the Duomo and the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. Finally, contemplate the spirit of the Sienese - their reverence for their beloved city and core conception of liberty.
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Details

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Subtitles
None available
Producers
The Great Courses
Starring
Kenneth R. Bartlett
Studio
The Great Courses
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