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In these twin episodes of Empire Builders we explore the historic legacy of three of Europe’s greatest powers, the French, Russian and Habsburg Empires. Their royal palaces, cathedrals, and other great buildings of the 16th to early 20th centuries, are some of the world’s most remarkable and spectacular cultural monuments, and memorialise in stone the dramatic history of the rise and fall of Imperial Europe.
Our story starts in the mid-16th century in Moscow. Located on Red Square, just outside the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, with its spectacularly colourful domes, is one of Russia’s most iconic and beautiful buildings. Elsewhere in Europe, in the mid-17th century, France was about to enter its own golden age, with the coming to power of Louis the 14th, the so-called Sun King.
Unwilling to be outdone by the magnificence and grandeur of other European Palaces such as Versailles, in the mid-18th century the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa
commissioned her own, almost equally enormous country palace just outside Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace.
Meanwhile, France’s empire under Napoleon was in retreat.Then one hundred years later as the result of crushing defeat in World War One alongside allies Germany, the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated in 1918, and the Habsburg monarchy was abolished. Just a year earlier, in 1917, the last of the Russian Tsars, Nicholas the 2nd, was also deposed during the Russian Revolution, which itself was triggered by a series of disastrous Russian military defeats in World War One.
Using CGI, contributions from experts in their fields and re-enactments, we walk the ruins, discover the story behind, and explore the historic sites of:
- Palace of Versailles, France
- St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
- Catherine Palace, Russia
- La Conciergerie, Paris
- Le Louvre, Paris
- Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
- Vienna Opera House, Vienna
- Church of Christ the Savior, Moscow
- Hungarian Parliament, Budapest
- Winter Palace, St Petersburg
Runtime: 50 minutes per show
FORMAT: H.264 MP4 *Plays on Roku, AppleTV, Playstation, Xbox, Chromecast, Mac, PC, Cell Phone, or Tablet
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