It is one of the most stunning examples of modern architecture in the world. Reporter Bridie Barry asked a few people what they thought the design was based on. Based on their answers, can you guess which super famous structure we’ll be featuring this week on The Revealer?
Okay, guys, we're trying to make the clues a little more challenging! So here's my challenge to YOU: give us your best guess WITHOUT using the internet to search for clues! Come on, that's not the spirit of the game! Watch as reporter Bridie Barry offers up the first clue as to the topic of this week's episode of BackStory's signature series, "The Revealer." Then enter your guess in the comments section. On Thursday's show, we'll read the name of the first person to get it right!
This week's edition of The Revealer on BackStory takes us to the bustling metropolis of Istanbul. Turkey's largest city is home to the spectacular Hagia Sophia monument, considered one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture. The building began life as a Christian church, but became a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.
The Hagia Sophia is now a museum visited every year by more than two million people. Many visitors think they know everything there is to know about the building. But, a Byzantine expert takes us on a tour revealing many of the museum's little-known secrets, many of which are hidden in the building's beautiful mosaics.
The history, the art, the culture and the charm make it one of the greatest destinations on earth. So when The Revealer decided to do a piece on the Pantheon in Rome, the whole team was excited.
We were eager to investigate an exciting new theory that this majestic building, one of the oldest in antiquity, may actually have been built as a colossal sundial. It’s a complex piece of academic research that involves how shafts of light pour into the Pantheon at different times of the year. Make sure to watch the piece on the website to fully understand it.
As we planned the shoot, we imagined filming CNN correspondent Nick Glass pouring over diagrams in quaint cafes and filming sunsets over Rome’s cobbled streets. That would be the set-up, but we couldn’t cover the story without actually going inside the Pantheon itself. Or could we?
Like so many historic buildings, you need permission to film for professional purposes. Easy! Or so we thought. Hordes of tourists pour through the building’s doors every day. The only difference between them and us is… well, a few large broadcast cameras, some lights, miles of cables and oh, about seven big boxes of filming equipment. This is where we found ourselves up against the formidable barrier that is Italian bureaucracy.
What should have been a fairly straightforward process turned into a jumble of e-mails sent back and forth in English and Italian. Official requests were sent off and verbal agreements were made, but we still needed written permission to step foot in the Pantheon. When we were just days away from flying from London to Rome, the permission finally came through. We thought we were sorted, but then another peculiar request came through…
Nick asked for a wheelchair. Not for him, for the camera. There was some uncertainty as to whether we’d be allowed to put our tripod on the floor. To this day, we’re still not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s a bid to protect the floor – maybe they thought we’d be bringing in the amount of gear needed for a full feature film. In the end, they did let us use the tripod – which was fortunate, as we needed this piece of kit to make sure cameraman Dave’s pictures weren’t all wobbly.
The wheelchair didn’t go to waste though. We used it to capture the stunning, sweeping shots of the building’s majestic columns and gigantic doorway. As the researcher on the show, I was relieved that the team did use it, as acquiring the chair wasn’t as easy as you might think. Most of the rental companies are miles out of the city, so I enlisted the help of Hada and Livia from the CNN bureau inRome.
Italian bureaucracy and wheelchairs aside, another looming issue which we had no control over was the sun. It’s not easy to film a piece on a giant sundial with no glimmer of the sun; or even worse, if there’s rain. Flights were tentatively booked, but nothing confirmed, as we anxiously monitored the weather in one of the world’s oldest cities, occasionally hurling abuse at the weather predictions.
After weeks of negotiation, and a transport strike in Rome thrown into the mix, we came up trumps. The sun came out. It’s the one thing you have absolutely no control over. Although, I think we can thank our guest Guilio Magli for its appearance – he’d promised to do a special sun dance just for the occasion.