Cities and Cathedrals (Episode 4)
Historians for a long time considered the picturesque maze of alleyways in mediaeval towns to be construction planning gone haywire. New research reveals the surprising fact that many mediaeval towns were conceived on the drawing board by urban planners who were well versed in geometry, for the towns grew and offered a home to many people. Even outsiders such as swindlers, beggars and charlatans found shelter, for the influence of the feudal lords ended before the town-gates. In the freedom of the towns, the guilds and bourgeois society flourished. Mechanical tower clocks heralded a new rhythm of life, the first universities were founded, trade and industry followed suit.
The Middle Ages is a European era. For that reason, this documentary series concentrates on the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as of course a number of East European countries. In keeping with the respective episode, one main character, for example a monk, a knight or a journeyman, accompanies the historical journey through the scenes of action. He guides us through monasteries, castles and mediaeval villages and allows us to participate in the life of the mediaeval society by interweaving classical documentary and dramatic elements. New research methods and discoveries such as genetic engineering will also play an important role, through which it is possible to gain new insights into the living conditions of the people of that era.