Ancient Megastructures

Ancient Megastructures is a National Geographic documentary series discovering the secrets of revolutionary structures in ancient megastructures. Certain landmarks have captured the imagination and awe of modern-day architects and engineers around the world as they work to solve the mystery of how their ancient forebears were able to construct such beautiful, timeless and revolutionary structures with none of the machines and materials available to modern engineers. The series explores the full story behind nine magnificent structures that forever changed the landscape of architecture: The Colosseum, The Great Pyramid, Chartres Cathedral, St.Paul's Cathedral, Alhambra, Petra, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and Hagia Sophia.


Machu Picchu


Ancient Megastructures - The Colosseum
Follow the dramatic story behind the building of the Colosseum in Ancient Rome. The Romans used innovative technology that we still use today, but the money to pay for the project enslaved the nation.

Ancient Megastructures - The Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid of Giza is 4,500 years old. It's the only ancient wonder of the world still standing. To cut and move the 2 million stones needed to build it would involve the whole Egyptian state.

Ancient Megastructures - Chartres Cathedral
Building the Chartres Cathedral pushed construction techniques to the limit, but behind this engineering triumph lies a dark story of violence, political double-dealing and destruction.

Ancient Megastructures - St Paul's Cathedral
Built in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London, Christopher Wren's cathedral took 36 years to be completed and remains an iconic landmark.

Ancient Megastructures - Alhambra
Arguably the most perfect example of Moorish architecture in existence, the Alhambra's construction process lasted over 150 years.

Ancient Megastructures - Petra
Located in modern-day Jordan, the magnificent Khazneh was an astonishing feat of engineering. Find out about the great king behind its creation.

Ancient Megastructures - Machu Picchu
Built to celebrate Emperor Pachacuti, creator of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu is regarded as one of the planet's most awe-inspiring monuments.

Ancient Megastructures - Angkor Wat
Situated deep in the Cambodian jungle, the majestic temple of Angkor Wat -- designed to honour the Hindu god Vishnu - took over 30 years to build.

Ancient Megastructures - Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
Discover how the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Justinian, has survived 1,500 years of turbulent history.


Related Links
Engineering an Empire
This is a History Channel documentary series hosted by Peter Weller, exploring the engineering feats accomplished by some of the great civilizations in history.
Secrets of Lost Empires
This attempts to reveal secrets of ancient architects and engineers through Pharaoh's Obelisk, Easter Island's big statues, Roman public bathhouse, and China's Rainbow bridges.