|1999 USA Mysteries of Asia|
Comments: Mysteries of Asia is a documentary television series, originally produced for The Learning Channel, which explores historical fact and theory surrounding some of the oldest structures in Asia. Newly-shot footage of the areas under examination is complemented by film clips (newsreel and fictional) and animated maps, narrated by Michael Bell.
Summary: Jewels in the Jungle concerns the ancient Khmer temples of Cambodia, much of whose history is undocumented. This program examines the unusual mix of Hindu and Buddhist religious figures among the temples and gates built by the Khmer, and examines the walled city of Angkor in some detail. Cambodia's bloody recent history under Pol Pot is also discussed, and the program celebrates the survival of the ancient dances of Angkor, the only remaining cultural link to the distant past.
Secrets of the Great Wall traces the history of the Great Wall of China and the numerous walls that preceded the one that stands today. It also discusses Emperor China's famous terra-cotta army and visits some remnants of earlier walls, urging preservation of today's Great Wall. This program incorporates a number of fictional film clips to illustrate points about the Emperor, the Forbidden City and the Mongol hordes; the clips liven up the proceedings a bit, but are a bit jarring on first appearance.
Lost temples of India historians and others examine temples built in India more than 1,000 years ago. They remain quite intriguing, though today's tourists rarely visit them. Records reveal that trained elephants had to drag millions of stone blocks to help erect these structures. The program notes that due to the temples' size, the U.S. Senate, Versailles, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul's Basilica in Rome could all fit within a single one of them. Michael Bell narrates as footage and animated maps are used to help viewers learn more about what these ancient structures look like and why they were built.