ISTANBUL: Once the palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi is a vast treasury of Islamic culture, science and weaponry, visited by over 2 million people every year. In this episode, at the foot of Istanbul’s ancient walls we discover how a Muslim invader bested Christian defenders by using their superstitions against them. In the city’s famed spice market we seek a poison to assassinate a Sultan, then in the Sultan’s private residence we investigate how a Harem slave rose to rule an empire. In the sea at the museum’s doorstep we discover how a Turkish admiral got his hands on the lost map of Christopher Columbus, then unearth a forgotten civilization that fought the mighty Pharaohs of Egypt to a draw. And finally, we test Islamic scientific theories to create a working model of the world’s first robot.
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