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Rivers of the World

Rivers are an essential source of life and food. The world's greatest cities have risen and fallen along their banks. They can be passages of commerce or crusade, untamed natural forces or generous energy suppliers.

Rivers of the World is a seven-part ARTE documentary series hosted by Taria Van Weesenbeek, exploring seven spectacular rivers of the planet: Colorado, Mekong, Niger, Nile, Okavango, Orinoco, and Urubamba. The great geographical diversity embodied by all these rivers is explored along with the people who live on and from these waters and who devote themselves to their protection.

Episode 1 - Urubamba: The Ancestral River
Flowing down into the Amazon basin from the Andes, the Urubamba forms the backbone of the Sacred Valley. It gave rise to the ancient empire of the Incas and today sweeps past its remnants, like the imperial city of Machu Picchu.

Episode 2 - Mekong: The Nourishing River
The Mekong is one of the world's last great mother rivers. Emerging from the Himalayas, it zigzags across China and Southern Asia, passing through the immense lake of Tonle Sap in Cambodia.

Episode 3 - The Niger: The Spirited River
The Niger carries its myths across the whole of West Africa. In Mali it bathes the waterfronts of Djenne, a town built from the earth it stands on, and of Timbuktu, the pearl of the desert.

Episode 4 - Nile: The Sacred River
Along the course of the Nile, from Sudan to the Mediterranean Sea, all the history of Egypt unfolds: the lost remains of ancient Nubia, drowned beneath the triumphant modernity of Lake Nasser, and the wonders of the Valley of the Kings and of Luxor.

Episode 5 - Orinoco
In Venezuela, one of the world's largest deltas forms a gateway to Latin America. Travelling up the Orinoco is like travelling through time, unearthing the secret roots of Latin America, from its founding myths in Ciudad Bolivar to the vestiges of its lost civilizations.

Episode 6 - Okavango: The Animal River
For all its 1,700 kilometres, the Okavango never reaches the sea. After rushing down from the heights of Angola and crossing Namibia, it empties into the Kalahari Desert.

Episode 7 - Colorado: The Mineral River
Rising out of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado flows for over 2,300 kilometres before arriving in Mexico, from where it empties into the Pacific Ocean.


Related Links
Human Planet - Rivers
This episode shows the challenges and unpredictable situations faced by people living close to rivers, including traversing the Mekong's cataracts during the monsoon, a winter trek to school along the frozen Zanskar River, and fishing on the edge of Victoria Falls.
The Living Planet - Sweet Fresh River
This episode focuses on freshwater habitats. Only 3% of the world's water is fresh, and Attenborough describes the course the Amazon, starting high up in the Andes of Peru, whose streams flow into the great river.
The Mekong River with Sue Perkins
This is a four-part documentary series hosted by Sue Perkins, taking us on a life-changing, 3,000-mile journey up the Mekong from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to the Tibetan Plateau in China.
Joanna Lumley's Nile
This is a travel documentary series hosted by Joanna Lumley, exploring the longest river in the world, the River Nile, from sea to source.
Ganges
This is a BBC nature documentary series narrated by Sudha Bhuchar, exploring the natural history of the River Ganges in India and Bangladesh.