Wonders of the World
Wonders of the World: the podcast that visits the great places on Earth to tell the story of our people, our civilization, and our planet.
info_outline 062 - The Bayeux Tapestry 01/16/2020
062 - The Bayeux Tapestry It's the world's greatest comic strip. The Bayeux Tapestry documents the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest. We explore this cheeky document and its tale: the story of 1066, that most crucial year in English history. It's the tale of Edward the Confessor, earl Harold Godwinson, military machine Harald Hardrada, and William the Bastard Duke of Normandy. There's battles, invasions, and an insane amount of luck.
info_outline Bonus - Lake Ohrid 12/25/2019
Bonus - Lake Ohrid A bonus holiday episode! In the mountains of North Macedonia sits Lake Ohrid, a deep, blue lake as old as time. On its shores, Samuel directed his Bulgarian kingdom's last hurrah against the Roman Empire. His opponent: Basil II, known as the "Bulgar-Slayer." Oh.
info_outline 3rd Anniversary Bonus - Fifty States Ranked 11/11/2019
3rd Anniversary Bonus - Fifty States Ranked People often ask me where they should go when they visit the US. Having been to all 50 states (plus DC and Puerto Rico, which should be states), I can actually answer this. And in this not-at-all-serious episode, I try to answer that question.
info_outline 061 - The Volcanic and Geothermal Features of Iceland 10/10/2019
061 - The Volcanic and Geothermal Features of Iceland Europe and North America are drifting apart, and the plates diverge in Iceland. Iceland's underground magma and mountaintop glaciers have created a wonderland of fire and ice, the perfect setting for a remarkable medieval culture.
info_outline 058 - The Medina of Fes 07/18/2019
058 - The Medina of Fes Nestled in the hills of north central Morocco, Fès' ancient walled medina is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, passages and souks: the world's largest car-free urban space. Founded by an Arab refugee-turned-Moroccan king, Fès also claims the world's oldest university, built by a refugee from Tunisia.
info_outline 056 - The Underground Cities and Rock Formations of Cappadocia 06/06/2019
056 - The Underground Cities and Rock Formations of Cappadocia In the soft rock of Cappadocia, Turkey, eroded into fantastic shapes, ancient peoples carved dwelling places. By the Byzantine era, locals created vast underground refuges to hide from foreign armies.
info_outline 055 - The Mezquita of Córdoba 05/16/2019
055 - The Mezquita of Córdoba The eighth century's greatest adventure story. Abd al-Rahman is the only male member of his Umayyad family to survive a massacre. He escapes through many adventures to try his luck in Spain, or as it was called then: Al-Andalus. He eventually establishes what would become Medieval Europe's richest and most prosperous country.
info_outline 054 - The Giant's Causeway 04/25/2019
054 - The Giant's Causeway On the Northern Ireland coast lie more than 40,000 interlocking hexagonal columns. To the ancient Irish, the basalt columns -- the result of a volcanic eruption -- seemed like the base of a bridge made for giants by the hero Finn McCool.
info_outline 052 - The Kailashanatha Temple of Ellora 03/14/2019
052 - The Kailashanatha Temple of Ellora Early medieval India saw the rise of an empire based in the Deccan plateau: the Rashtrakutas. Despite significant power and influence, their story is little-known and under-appreciated, from King Amoghavarsha the author to their masterpiece at Ellora.
info_outline 051 - The Stelae of Copán 02/28/2019
051 - The Stelae of Copán Back to the land of the Maya, to visit their most stunning artistic achievement. The stelae of Copán, carved for Waxaklajuun Ubaad Kawiil, are humanist yet fantastic. His reign marked the highest point and also the lowest; within decades of his death, Copán and other Classic Mayan cities would be abandoned. Or were they?
info_outline 050 - The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus 02/14/2019
050 - The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus The Muslims exploded onto the scene in the 7th century, but had to manage their new empire. We go to Syria, where Damascus served as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate. The Umayyads eventually took control following the turmoil of finding successors to Muhammad.
info_outline 049 - The Giant Buddha of Leshan 01/24/2019
049 - The Giant Buddha of Leshan We return to China, where the Tang Dynasty has embarked on a golden age. In the valleys of Sichuan, a monk begins to carve the largest statue built in pre-industrial history. And in Chang'an, the world's largest city, a young girl begins the path which would take her to the throne.
info_outline Bonus - The Murals of Panjakent 12/20/2018
Bonus - The Murals of Panjakent Off to Tajikistan, to visit the intriguing murals of the Sogdians, a civilization wedged between Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Chinese, yet rich and remarkable on their own. In Panjakent, we have wall paintings of regular people, preserved for centuries.
info_outline 048 - The Temples of Tikal 12/13/2018
048 - The Temples of Tikal The Maya return as we visit Tikal, nestled in the jungles of Guatemala, and pick up the story of Nuun Ujol Chaak, after he left Palenque. And even if he might fall in the end, his son Jasaw Chan Kawi'il would restore Tikal to greatness. It's his pyramids that tower above the treeline.
info_outline 047 - The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque 11/22/2018
047 - The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque Back to Mesoamerica, as we introduce the Maya. In the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, sits the city of Palenque. Among its magnificent ruins is the Temple of the Inscriptions, the tomb of king Pakal. His rule was one of the longest in human history.
info_outline Crater Lake and Oregon: 2nd Anniversary Bonus Episode 11/10/2018
Crater Lake and Oregon: 2nd Anniversary Bonus Episode It's our SECOND ANNIVERSARY. Two years of history, travel, food, and such. What a ride. To celebrate, let's visit Oregon, a weird, magical place I love. I lived there for three years in the early 2010's and in this episode, I give the 30 things I love most about one of America's least understood states, including its real wonder, a volcanic caldera turned perfectly blue body of water: Crater Lake.
info_outline 046 - The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock 11/04/2018
046 - The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock An illiterate merchant in faraway Arabia, Muhammad develops a new faith and community that builds upon the monotheist faiths of his people's neighbors. Ali A Olomi joins me to discuss Muhammad's impact and the holiest site in Islam: the Kabaa in Mecca.
info_outline Balik Ekmek (Istanbul Fish Sandwiches) 10/17/2018
Balik Ekmek (Istanbul Fish Sandwiches) The classic Istanbul fish sandwich is simple, easy, and delicious. Fish, bread, a little spices, onion, lettuce, lemon. That’s it. Some recipes will include mayo, which isn’t my bag. Others get more complex with the salad topping. I like to keep it simple, to let the taste of the fish shine through. Some notes: If you don’t have fresh mackerel (or smoked), try something like sea bass or haddock. You’re going for a firm ocean white-fleshed fish. Use an Italian-type bread - not as crusty as a French baguette. You’re going for pillowy but with a nice chew. Za’atar is increasingly available as prepared blend. To make your own, mix 1 tbsp (15 ml) each of oregano, sumac, cumin, sesame seeds and 1 tsp (5 ml) salt and black pepper. Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 4 fresh ocean fish filets - preferably mackerel, but sea bass or haddock would do handful of arugula 1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced juice of 1 lemon 1 loaf Italian bread 1 or 2 Hungarian wax peppers (optional) 2 tomatoes, thick-sliced 1 tsp (5 ml) za’atar olive oil, for bushing salt STEPS Preheat the grill to medium-high. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and mix well. Grill the peppers until they begin to char slightly. Remove from the heat. Cut the bread loaf into pieces the same length as the fish fillets. Split down the middle and lightly toast both sides on the grill. Brush the cut sides with olive oil. Keep warm. Lightly brush both sides of the fish with olive oil. Grill the mackerel fillets over a high heat, skin-side down for 3–4 minutes. Once the skin has begun to crisp up, flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. With an alternate fish, use a fish basket to ensure the fish keeps it shape. With smoked haddock, you need not cook as long - you just want to warm it up. Take the warm toasted bread and place slices of tomato on one of the cut sides. Place the fish on top of the tomatoes and then add the other ingredients, finishing with grilled pepper and za’atar. Season, squeeze over a little lemon juice, top with the other half of the bread and eat immediately. Recipe adapted from Photo by Daniel Roy
info_outline Ceviche 09/15/2018
Ceviche The best lunch I’ve ever eaten was ceviche in Lima. Hands down. Traditional Peruvian ceviche is amazingly simple. Seafood, lime juice, red onion, and chile. That’s it. Plus sweet potato and corn on the side. As I said in the episode, you probably won’t be able to make the real thing, because your seafood, as fresh as it might be, won’t be as fresh as the seafood in Lima. Fed by the Humboldt Current, caught that morning, and served for lunch because dinner would be too late: that’s Limeño ceviche. But if you do have good seafood available, this will get you pretty darn close! Some notes: If you have one, use a mandoline for the red onion to get it as thin as possible. Feel free to substitute scallops or shrimp or octopus or really any seafood, diced in the same size, for the fish, or mix them. If you can get Peruvian aji amarillo (yellow pepper), use that, but this jalapeño will do. If you can find giant-kerneled Peruvian corn, that would be ideal, but whatever you have will do. The fish needs to be as fresh as possible. Buy from a reputable fishmonger. If you cannot prepare and eat immediately, keep the fish on ice in the refrigerator to maintain as much freshness as possible. Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 1 lb (0.5 kg) fresh ocean fish filets - like grouper or sea bass - sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) chunks 1 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced very fine 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped cilantro leaves salt and pepper 1 large sweet potato 2 ears of corn, husked (maize, if you prefer) STEPS In separate pots, boil the corn and sweet potato until tender. When cool, peel sweet potato. Slice corn into 2 inch (5 cm) segments, slice potato into 1 inch (2.5 cm) segments. Combine fish, onion, lime juice, cilantro, and chiles in a bowl, mixing gently with your hands. Use gloves, if you’re worried about the acid and chile. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Serve. Recipe adapted from
info_outline BONUS! History Fangirl Podcast: the Lost History of Angkor 08/31/2018
BONUS! History Fangirl Podcast: the Lost History of Angkor BONUS EPISODE! In March 2018, Drew Vahrenkamp appeared on Stephanie Craig's to discuss what was once the largest city on earth, in area at least: Angkor, Cambodia. For the upcoming holiday weekend in the US, we are honored to share this episode with you. Please check out more of Stephanie's interviews with travelers, historians, bloggers and podcasters at . ************** Angkor, along with its most famous temple Angkor Wat, is one of the most unique places in the world. The French claim to have discovered it when Cambodia was part of French Indochina, but like so many “lost” places the locals always knew about it. However, much of what we know about the ancient city comes from inscriptions and other artwork on the temple. And because the jungle climate much of the other information we have about the city may be lost forever, but we do know that it was the largest pre-industrial city in the history of the world. My guest today is Drew Vahrenkamp of the Wonders of the World podcast. We chat about the ancient history of Angkor, how tourism in the city has changed dramatically over the last two decades, and how history lovers grapple with the ancient past of Cambodia, and the more recent reign of the Khmer Rouge.