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Presenter Darius Arya with a statue of King DJoser, who was buried in the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt.
Courtesy of Isabelle Sutton/BBC
Presenter Darius Arya with a statue of King DJoser, who was buried in the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt.

Airs Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 from Noon-3 p.m. on KPBS TV

Professor Darius Arya leads us off-the-beaten path through three of the world’s most astonishing ancient cities – Athens, Cairo and Istanbul – to bring a fascinating, fresh perspective to more than 4,000 years of history.

These three ancient cities formed the bedrock of human civilization throughout the ages and are steeped in history.

Long-forgotten secrets, enigmatic structures and mysterious buried treasures are hidden beneath these exciting cityscapes where each new civilization, each new generation, has added its own layers to the rich tapestry of the city.


Armed with a cutting-edge arsenal of high-definition 3D scanners, sub-sea LiDAR and multi-spectral images, Arya takes viewers behind the scenes of these metropolises.

Each scan uncovers ancient architectural and technological achievements in a new way, illuminating just how these structures continue to exist after thousands of years.

Each episode culminates in an augmented reality adventure, in which Arya steps inside a hologram and interacts with breath-taking visualizations of the past while set in present-day locations.

Following each episode, Arya invites the viewer to explore these sites themselves at home with VR technology.


Descending beneath the streets and off the beaten path, ANCIENT INVISIBLE CITIES exposes these fascinating places, as they’ve never been seen before.


Episode 1: “Athens” repeats Sunday, Sept. 23 at Noon - Uncover the of ancient Athens, the city that gave the world democracy. Professor Darius Arya uses the latest 3D scanning to reveal Athens' treasures, from the buildings on the Acropolis to the silver mines and quarries beyond the city.

Episode 2: “Cairo” repeats Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. - See how 3D scanning can be used to explore Egypt's ancient treasures, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the first pyramid ever built, a hidden Roman fortress, and a well deep in the rock below the Arabic citadel of Saladin.

Episode 3: “Istanbul” repeats Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. - Take an extraordinary journey through ancient Istanbul, the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Professor Darius Arya uses the latest 3D imaging technology to see the city and its often invisible treasures as no human eye ever could.



Episodes from this series will be available to stream on demand for a limited time after each broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.