Nova (1974– )
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Building the Great Cathedrals 

Carved from a hundred million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spiderweb of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. But how did medieval ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Joan R. Branham ... Herself
... (voice)
Michael Davis ... Himself
Thibaut Desjardins ... Himself
Frank Helmholz ... Himself
Jacqueline Jung ... Herself
Maryline Martin ... Herself
Stephen Murray ... Himself
Rory O'Neill ... Himself
Danny O'Shea ... Himself
Sarah Preston ... Herself
Tanya Pushkine ... (voice)
... Himself - Narrator
Andrew Tallon ... Himself
Stefaan Van Liefferinge ... Himself
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Storyline

Carved from a hundred million pounds of stone, soaring effortlessly atop a spiderweb of masonry, Gothic cathedrals are marvels of human achievement and artistry. But how did medieval builders reach such spectacular heights? Consuming the labor of entire towns, sometimes taking a hundred years to build, these architectural marvels were crafted from just hand tools and stone. Many now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, an international team of engineers, architects, art historians, and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell-towers for clues to how the dream of these heavenly temples on earth came true. On this dazzling journey inside the jewels of Gothic architecture, NOVA reveals the hidden formulas, drawn from the pages of the Bible itself, that drove medieval builders ever upward. Written by NOVA

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TV-G
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19 October 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Interesting for folks like me....otherwise, who knows?
21 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

I love old cathedrals and whenever I get a chance, I visit them. While my wife has often gone along, I know she is just being nice, as after a while I can see she's getting pretty bored. As she one time admitted, 'After a while, they all seem kind of the same'! Well, this show is for folks like me and not normal folks like my wife, as I love cathedral documentaries.

This one isn't exactly about how exactly they built the cathedrals, it's more about the dimensions and shortcomings of the designs. In several cases the show visits cathedrals that have structure problems, such as Amiens (which is held together now with metal bands/chain) and Beauvaise (which uses ugly wooden supports since the original buttresses were too thin and weak). It's a little-known fact that MANY cathedrals made during the Middle Ages DID fall down--and sometimes 2, 3 or more versions were built because they kept dropping down unexpectedly! Fortunately, the late Middle Ages brought stronger and more sound cathedrals! All in all, rather interesting if you like this sort of thing--and it's full of technical information and a few French cathedrals.


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