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Simon Sebag Montefiore explores modern Istanbul in search of the last centuries of Christian Byzantium, when the once glorious city was buffeted by enemies from both east and west.

Series in which historian Simon Sebag Montefiore traces the sacred history of Istanbul. Known as the 'city of the world's desire', it's a place that has been the focus of passion for believers of three different faiths - Paganism, Christianity and Islam - and for nearly 3,000 years its streets have been the battleground for some of the fiercest political and religious conflicts in history.

In the second episode he explores modern Istanbul in search of the last desperate centuries of Christian Byzantium, in which the once glorious city was buffeted by enemies from both east and west and yet still produced a golden artistic renaissance. This is story of the Christian crusaders who destroyed the city, and the Ottoman Muslims who restored it to life as an imperial capital after the epic siege of 1453.

First shown: 12 Dec 2013
Available for 7 days Why?
Duration 60 mins