Episodes

  • In episode seven of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Emeritus Professor Vivian Bickford-Smith as they explore Cape Town – including its diverse historic neighbourhoods, markets and monuments, bays and beaches, as well as as mountains and islands. Together they introduce the pivotal moments in the making of the city and the characters who played key roles in this story. Along the way, they also suggest places that reveal insights into Cape Town's tumultuous past, as well as sharing top tips for visitors to the modern city.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode six of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Professor Doris Behrens-Abouseif as they journey through the diverse historic quarters of Cairo. Together, they explore its roots in ancient cities planted on the Nile over thousands of years, and look at how various occupations and successive Islamic sultanates and caliphates shaped what's now the Egyptian capital. They also meet some of the figures who played pivotal roles in the development of the modern city, and discover less known places to visit for insights into its heritage.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • Missing episodes?

    Click here to refresh the feed.

  • In episode five of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Dr Elizabeth Drayson for a trip to Granada. Together they lead through its various incarnations – as a Jewish settlement, a Roman province, a Visigothic kingdom, and as a Muslim Emirate. Along the way, they also meet some of the figures who play major roles in the city’s lifetime and discover lesser-known places to visit for insights into its heritage.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode four of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by David Mendel as they visit Québec City in Canada. Together they explore its pre-colonial origins, development as a French imperial capital and its incorporation into Britain's North American colonies. They also meet some of the figures who played pivotal roles in the city’s growth and discover monuments and sites to visit for insights into its heritage.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode three of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Dr Amy Fuller as they search for hints of the past within Mexico City. Together they explore the city's roots in the settlement founded by the people who became known as Aztec, as well as the events and impacts of the invasion by Spanish forces. They will also introduce some of the figures who played a major role in the development of what's now Mexico City, and discover less known places to visit for insights into its heritage. Along the way, they’ll even offer a few tips and tricks for the eager traveller.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode two of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Dr Christopher Harding as they delve into the fascinating, yet often turbulent, story of Tokyo. Together, they’ll visit key sites where major events unfolded – from exploring its medieval origins, and its growth as the base of the ruling shogun, to considering the major social and political upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Along the way, they also meet some of the major figures who played pivotal roles in the development of what's now known as Tokyo.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode one of our series exploring the great historical cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, travel writer Paul Bloomfield is joined by Professor Elizabeth Horodowich as they roam along the canals and alleys of Venice. Together they explore its roots in medieval colonies on islands in the lagoon, its blossoming as a powerful trading empire as well as the challenges facing an island city in the modern era. They also meet some of the figures who played pivotal roles in the development of the Italian city and discover some lesser-known places to visit for insights into its heritage.

    History's greatest cities is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • How have the world’s great cities responded to centuries of exploration, conquest and increasing globalisation? That’s the question driving series three of History’s Greatest Cities, a podcast from HistoryExtra.

    Travel writer and history buff Paul Bloomfield once again will be joining expert guides with rich local and historical knowledge. Venturing to the great cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, they'll explore centuries-long stories of foundation and growth, and examine how contact between continents shaped these far-flung places. Along the way, they'll introduce the colourful characters who played pivotal roles in the development of these cities, and lead listeners through the must-visit palaces, temples, bazaars and, of course, bars and restaurants. And, our experts will also share insider tips to help visitors discover hidden facets of each fascinating destination.

    Episodes of History’s Greatest Cities series three will be released weekly from 1st June. History Extra Plus subscribers can access all episodes ad-free immediately, via Apple podcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Alexandra Richie takes a deep dive into the pivotal historical episodes of Poland’s capital 

    In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian and author Dr Alexandra Richie for a tour of Warsaw. Together, they consider the city’s medieval origins, 16th-century rise to political prominence, turbulent years under nations such as Sweden and Russia, and the tumult, violence and oppression of the 20th century. Along the way, Alexandra also highlights some top places to visit.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Marcus Tanner guides listeners through the rich heritage of Croatia’s second largest city 

    In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by author Marcus Tanner for a journey to Split. Together they explore the city’s Roman pomp and how medieval empires tussled to control it, before considering its turbulent 20th century. Along the way, Marcus introduces some of the figures who played important roles in the development of Split, suggesting top places to visit. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Pragya Vohra shares the story of a British city that has undergone many transformations through the centuries

    In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian and medievalist Dr Pragya Vohra for a trip to York. Together they explore the city’s Roman foundations, economic and cultural flourishing in the Middle Ages and its development as an industrious modern city. Along the way, Pragya introduces some of the pivotal figures in York’s story, offering up some top places to visit and key travel tips for insights into its heritage – all from a local’s perspective. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Barry Hatton charts the tumultuous ups and downs of the Portuguese city coveted by many and devastated by earthquakes

    In episode five of our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by author and journalist Barry Hatton for a journey to Lisbon. Together they chart the Portuguese city’s tumultuous past – as a place coveted by many and devastated by earthquakes, it has risen and fallen many times over the centuries. Along the way Barry visits some of the key people and places that shaped the city on the Tigris estuary, uncovering some top places to visit and key travel tips for insights into its heritage. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Russell Shorto explores the Dutch capital famed as a centre for trade, art and pleasures of the flesh

    In episode four of our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by author and journalist Russell Shorto for a jaunt around Amsterdam. Together they highlight the lesser-known stories of the Dutch capital, from its marshy foundations to its medieval mercantile pomp and subsequent trading golden age. Along the way Russell introduces some of key characters who influenced the city’s ups and downs, and offers up some offbeat places to visit and key travel tips for insights into its heritage. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Gillian O’Brien delves back through twelve centuries of conflict and cultural prosperity in the Irish capital

    In episode three of our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian and author Dr Gillian O’Brien for a trip around Dublin. Although the Irish capital may be famous today for its nightlife and literature, it has experienced more than its fair share of conflict and oppression, as well as periods of great cultural and religious flourishing. Together, Gillian and Paul chart Dublin’s settlement, invasion, culture and its long fight for independence, highlighting top tourist destinations and travel tips along the way. 
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Thomas Lorman guides us through the ancient, turbulent history of the twin cities straddling the Danube

    In episode two of our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian Dr Thomas Lorman for a journey to Budapest. Together they delve into the wide-reaching past of the Hungarian capital, unearthing how it came to have such a prominent place at the heart of central Europe – from ancient origins and its imperial pomp to the more austere recent past. Along the way, they meet some of the characters who influenced the city’s evolution and discover lesser-known places to visit for insights into its heritage.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating historic cities, Catherine Fletcher shares new perspective on the Italian city famed for its art and architecture 

    In episode one of our series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most fascinating, enduring and historic destinations, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by author and historian Catherine Fletcher for a trip to Florence. Together they explore its pre-Roman origins, its medieval rise to regional dominance, the cultural golden age under the Medici family and its place in the unified Italy. Along the way Catherine introduces some of the figures who played pivotal roles in the development of Florence, and offers up some lesser known places to visit for insights into its heritage.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • Why do some settlements become great centres of international influence, while others languish and ebb away? And how have Europe’s most important urban centres been shaped by geography, climate, resources, individual personalities, collective culture and sheer serendipity? 
    In series two of our HistoryExtra podcast series, History’s Greatest Cities, travel writer and history buff Paul Bloomfield virtually explores some of Europe’s most intriguing cities in the company of expert historian guides. Together they’ll roam the streets and sites, discovering stories of foundation, invasion, expansion and devastation. And along the way, they’ll even share some insider tips for getting to the historic heart of each destination.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In this series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most historic cities, Paul Cartledge delves back through thousands of years to unearth the glories and trials of the Greek capital
    In episode eight of this new series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most beautiful, intriguing and historic cities, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian and author Professor Paul Cartledge for a trip to Athens. Delving back through thousands of years of often tumultuous history they visit monuments dating back to before the days of the world's original democracy, as well as reminders of the later Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Along the way, Paul introduces some of the fascinating personalities that shaped Athens and the world around it, and offers some top advice for history-loving explorers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In this series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most historic cities, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough leads an expedition through the Norwegian capital’s lengthy history
    In episode seven of this new series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most beautiful, intriguing and historic cities, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian, author and broadcaster Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough for a journey around Oslo. Together, they explore the city’s Viking origins, medieval fortifications, modern museums and its scenic hinterland, and meet some of the characters who influenced its evolution. Plus, Eleanor offers up some top advice for history-loving globetrotters.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  • In episode six of this new series exploring the sights and stories of Europe’s most beautiful, intriguing and historic cities, travel journalist Paul Bloomfield is joined by historian and author Professor Colin Jones for a jaunt around Paris. Together they stroll along boulevards and riverbanks and around the bastions and burial sites of this captivating city, as well as visiting a few places of worship and entertainment along the way. Plus, Colin introduces some of the many characters who influenced Paris over the centuries, and offers some top tips to history-loving travellers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices