FRANCE 24 (March 21, 2023) – Once important seats of Christian worship, and now treasures of the country’s heritage, French abbeys often have surprising histories. That’s the case of Fontevraud abbey, in the former duchy of Anjou. Run by a woman during its heyday, the abbey was turned into a prison after the French Revolution.
In Alsace, the abbey of Mont Sainte-Odile is famous for its supposedly miraculous spring water. Finally, on the outskirts of Montpellier, Valmagne abbey used to be a wine cellar. Visitors can still observe the gigantic barrels that were once used to store thousands of litres of wine.
DW Documentary (February 25, 2023) – Otgo is the youngest child of a nomadic family in the Gobi desert. They make their living breeding cattle. Otgo loves their life, in harmony with nature and old traditions. Yet she dreams of becoming a dancer at the opera house in Ulan Bator.
In Mongolia, it is becoming increasingly common for the younger generation to leave traditional life behind. Otgo’s dream would take her far from her family’s yurt. She wants to become a dancer and later, a dance teacher. Her parents leave it up to her to decide how she wants to shape her life. They agree to support her, if she embarks on her great endeavor. In the meantime, Otgo has become an almost indispensable help to the family.
She gets up early in the morning to water the camels with her father, and it fills her with pride that she can help her family. The breathtaking landscape of the Gobi Desert and the strong bonds between the different nomadic families do not make it easy for Otgo to follow her dream. Otgo’s story paints a portrait of her world and of the men and women who have long passed on their culture from generation to generation, through the eyes of a child.
FRANCE 24 English – The annual Festival of Lights – a spectacular display of illuminations projected on historical monuments and public buildings across town – kicked off in Lyon in France this Thursday. But with Europe in the grip of an energy crisis, this year’s extravaganza has also been designed to use as little electricity as possible while still putting on a memorable show.
Weimar is world-famous. A number of important philosophers, musicians, and literary figures used to live here – including renowned poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Weimar Classicism attracts tourists even today. But the city of Thuringia is also home to a dark chapter of German history. There, the Nazis built built one of their largest concentration camps, Buchenwald, where a total of around 266,000 people were imprisoned.
Off the coast of the French region of Brittany is a picturesque island for all those who want to disconnect. A 45-minute ferry ride separates the island of Belle-Île-en-Mer from the mainland, making it a world apart that attracts 100,000 visitors a year. Tourists also appreciate Belle-île’s food, especially its fish. We take a closer look at the island in summer.
Belle-Île is an island off the coast of Brittany in northwest France. In the main town La Palais, Citadelle Vauban is a star-shaped fortress. The fort at Pointe des Poulains, the island’s northern tip, houses a museum dedicated to 19th-century actress Sarah Bernhardt. Sandy Donnant Beach lies on the rugged west coast. Nearby, the Grand Phare lighthouse looks out over the needles rock formations of Port-Coton.
Iran’s mountainous terrain has always been an important part of people’s lives. Years ago, these mountains were populated by legendary horsemen. Today, they are the subject of scientific investigation. This film provides the viewer with stunning arial views of these mountains. It unfurls the rich tapestry of Iran’s history, from the legendary Order of the Assassins to the Mongol invasions. We also get to know Iran by meeting some of the fascinating people who live there. Take Ali, a world champion of mounted archery. Despite its waning popularity, the sport has endured in Iran due the importance of horses throughout Iranian history. We get to explore the historic Tabiz bazaar, which is still a bustling market and kaleidoscope of cultures today. There, we meet Dschebrael, a stall owner who speaks Azeri, the official language of Azerbaijan. In fact, Azeri can be heard throughout the market, which serves as a meeting place for Iran’s many ethnic groups, and thus as a microcosm of the country’s cultural diversity. The film introduces us to beekeepers and violinmakers, as well as young people living in Iran who want to travel and express themselves freely on social media — even though it is forbidden.
Horsepower is making a comeback in vineyards across France as wine growers look for more ecological ways to operate. Not only does using horses instead of tractors help reduce CO2 emissions, the animals are also more precise and better for the soil, say converts.
More than 20 years ago, a community of men and women in the French region of Burgundy set themselves a massive challenge: to build a castle using the techniques of the Middle Ages. The site in the town of Guédelon is open to visitors, offering them an immersion into the 13th century. Today, nearly 40 people work every day on this medieval construction site. Stone quarrying is the first step in building a castle. And to transport the stones to the site, modern machines are banned: everything is done like in the 13th century, with horsepower.
Located in South Asia, India sits on a peninsula that extends between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The country, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, is the world’s second most-populous nation after China.
For many years of its long history, India faced incursions from the north by Turks, Arabs, Persians and others. By the 19th century, Great Britain became the dominant power on the subcontinent. After years of nonviolent struggle against British rule, India gained its independence in 1947.