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on 26 February 2017
Simon Sebag Montefiore takes us on an enthralling and rather complicated journey through the troubled and ever-changing history of one the world's most respected and complex cities. So entangled is the history, that a viewer may need a pen and paper to take notes as the history is unfolding. Divided into three episodes, historian Montefiore uses his considerable knowledge and pedigree in Middle Eastern affairs to provide an overview of key moments in Jerusalem's history.

Montefiore visits and examines key religious sites, including the Western Wall, the last remnant of the second Jewish temple. Also the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre - the site of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And, the Al-Aqsa mosque as the third holiest sanctuary of Islam. He conducts interesting interviews with a wide range of different people connected with the city, both locals and foreigners.

Episode one "Wellspring of Holiness" explores how this incredible city came into being, explaining how it became so important to the three Abrahamic faiths. Montefiore chronologically documents the emergence of Jerusalem as a Jewish city under King David. He looks for remaining evidence of the construction of the first temple by Solomon through to the life, death and impact of Jesus and the eventual expulsion of the Jews by the ruling Romans.

Episode Two "Invasion, Invasion, Invasion" demonstrates how Islamic control affected Jerusalem. The construction of one of Islam's holiest shrines - the Dome of the Rock - and the crusaders' attempts to win it back for Christianity is detailed. And, the titanic match-up between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart is described. Throughout, Montefiore reveals that each conquering religious regime in Jerusalem adopted religious elements from previous regimes, and usually adapted the existing buildings and places of worship for their new role.

The final episode "Judgement Day" explores how Jerusalem rose from a desolate ruin after the crusades to be rebuilt as a focus for Islamic worship mainly under Turkish Ottoman rule. The rivalry and conflict between European nations battling for influence and control of the city is described, and the somewhat hollow promises of the British in the early part of the twentieth century creating many of the current day problems in the Middle East. And, the emergence of Jerusalem as the centre of Zionism and the nation of Israel is clearly documented.

Overall, Montefiore has produced an effective history of many of the key moments in the history of this iconic city. In truth, he could have used one or two more episodes to go into more detail, especially relating to the times of Jesus and later the period of Turkish Ottoman rule.
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on 2 June 2016
Simon Sebag Montefiore is an excellent presenter. This is fascinating and well presented. I have one observation and one slight criticism. Because he is covering such a long period of time the commentary is inevitably concentrated on the big events that changed society. These were usually fierce, bloody and destructive. There must have been long periods of relative calm when people did ordinary things. It would be nice sometime to see another presentation about these more domestic and peaceful happenings. That is not a negative criticism, simply an observation. My slight negative is that he uses the word `holy` various times as, for instance, when discussing the stream around which the first settlement was built. "Was it holy at that time?" he asks. When he goes along the underground passage to the rocks below the city to what was allegedly the site of Solomon`s temple he says it is the most holy place on earth. To someone of no particular faith what does this word mean? The bloodletting around this area down the centuries hardly suggests "holiness" to me. That word is ultimately connected with our words "healing" and "wholeness". The Middle East, it seems to me, is very short of both. Otherwise it`s splendid.
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on 22 February 2018
What can one say about the city that combines the keystone of the Jewish Faith, the major events that gave rise to the Christian Faith, and the mythology of the Islamic “night ride”? What can one say about the history that oozes from the very ground it is built on, that confronts one with everything from great humanity to the most brutal inhumanity? Simon Montefiore manages to present a balanced review of all of that in this fascinating look at the city that a majority of any given people anywhere on Earth could possibly identify.
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on 5 March 2018
Thoroughly engrossing, insightful and educational. I felt like I was watching a thriller and could not take my attention off the screen for fear of disturbing the momentum and continuity.

This 3 part programme is visually timelined over a millennia documenting Judaism, Christianity and Islam and how the three faiths fought over the iconic and inspiring city of Jerusalem.

I felt that the run time was just right and will gladly watch 'Jerusalem' time and time again.
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on 29 November 2017
I love Simon Sebag's programmes. They are well done and informative, bringing history to life. Unfortunately there don't seem to be many available to purchase. I had purchased most of them on the BBC Store but as that closed I have lost them. I would be great if they were all available to buy.
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on 6 October 2017
This is a startling and profound account. The resonances rumble on from Antiquity to our own day.
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on 24 April 2017
Cant get enough of this kind of presentation.
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on 14 April 2018
Give me Monty any day in preference to the overbearing Schama.
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on 9 March 2013
This DVD covers Jerusalem from stone-age times to the present. I shows the conflict and conquest enduring to the present day - rarely, at peace.
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on 3 June 2018
Great storytelling by SSM who has made retelling the lives of great cities into a speciality. Pacy and fascinating insight.
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