Dan Cruickshank's quest is to tell the story of civilisation through the greatest of man's achievements. It will also be the story of his travels, and who and what he meets along the way. Whether standing before the solemn heads of Easter Island, investigating the mysterious Nazca lines in Peru or the magnificent temple of Borobodur in Java, Dan is never less than fascinating about the origins, construction, mysteries and vicissitudes of each of these monuments to the great civilisations of the world.
Do they live up to expectation? Have they been left in ruin, or over-restored? Dan's diary, written at the end of each day, records his most intimate thoughts and feelings, the people he has met, the ups and downs of the journey, perils, joys, and the ongoing relationships formed on the road. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 TREASURES is a riveting story of adventure and the pursuit of knowledge.
In Peru Dan visits Machu Picchu, the last Inca capital after the Spanish Conquista (colonisation); the Inca salt pans; the Nazca Lines, traced by a mysterious civilization on a huge scale in the Andean desert; the Spider necklace of SipÃ¡n at Lamayeque and Chan Chan mud city at Trujilo. He travels via Chile's Easter Island (visiting the moai statues, last witnesses to a completely destroyed islander culture) to Brazil, where he visits the Umhara Indian headdress at CuiabÃ and the giant Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
In Mexico, Dan Cruickshank visits the Mayan city of Paleque, the Toltecs' Giants of (Tollan) Tula and the painting 'Man, Controller of the Universe' in Mexico city. Next Dan is in North America, in the USA, starting in the former Mexican part: a colt revolver is arguably his least artistic treasure, rather an artifact, at Cortez, then goes to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, president Jefferson's Monticelo estate in Virginia and in New York both the Statue of Liberty (a French gift) and the modern Seagram Building.
In Australia Dan visits St James' Church in Sydney and aboriginal Kakadu rock art. He continues through Indonesia, visiting Spirit houses and tau-tau in Torajaland, on Sulawesi island, and Borobudur Stupa on Java to Thailand (for the Gold elephant at the ancient former capital Ayutthaya) and Cambodia, where he shows Angkor Wat at Siem Reap and Stone Faces of Bayon at Angkor Thom.
In Japan Dan admires the Katana samurai sword in Tokyo, Himeji Castle and Ryan-ji Zen Buddhist Garden at Kyoto before traveling to China where he visits the Forbidden City and Summer palace park in Beijing, the Great Wall, the terracotta army in the imperial tomb at Xi'an and Ming Dynasty porcelain in Shanghai.
First Dan Cruickshank visits India: durga at Kolkata, the traded spices of the port-city Cochin, the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory in Jaipur and the Taj Mahal mausoleum at Agra, a Mughal era capital. Then he crosses to the island of Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon) for visits to Sigiriya, the giant Buddha statue at Polonnaruwa and Buddha's Tooth reliquary in the old royal capital Kandy.
In the Central-Asian (former Soviet) republic of Uzbekistan, Dan Cruickshank admires tiles of Samarkand and trading domes in Bukhara, then travels trough Azerbaijan, visiting the Fire Temple and Monastery at Surkhany, in Baku. In Iran (alias Persia), we marvel at the Imam mosque in Naghsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan, a Persian rug in Shiraz, the Behistun Inscription in Kermanshah and the Ancient Achaemenid empire's capital Persepolis. Finally to Syria, visiting the Al-Hamidiyah Souk in the capital Damascus.
In Jordan, Dan visits the rock-carved Nabataean capital Petra and the Madaba Map, then travels via the Jerusalem Temple Mount to Ethiopia, to visit imperial Abessynia's Coptic monuments: the Axum Stelae, 'The miracles of Mary' manuscript kept in the church of Debre Damo and the Lalibela churches complex and - cross, which are carved out of massive rock.
In The West-African land-locked Sahel country Mali, Dan visits the Great Mosque of Djenna and at Sanga the Dogon tribe's rock paintings and a ceremonial dance mask. The journey continues North trough desert-state Libya, visiting the Roman site of Leptis Magna at Tripolis and the Berber granary at Gasr Al-Hajj. Finally East to Egypt, gift of the Nile, where he admires the Great Pyramid of Giza, the burial mask of Pharaoh Tuthankamun in the Cairo museum, queen Nefertari's tomb in amazing Luxor and the Edfu temple of Horus.
In Turkey Dan visits the Derinkuyu underground city carved into the rocks in Cappadocia and the Hagia Sophia (former Byzantine monster cathedral, now a mosque) in Istanbul. In Russia the Moscow metro, Solovetsky Monastery at Solovki and Peter the Great's cabin at St. Petersburg star, in Poland salt mine carvings at Wieliczka, finally in Germany the Volkswagen Beatle in Berlin and the Brno Chair at the Bauhaus in Dessau.
In this final episode, Dan returns home via Bosnia, where he visit the Ottoman (Turkish empire) Stari-most bridge in Mostar, then Greece - the Parthenon in Athens, Italy where he admires the Pantheon in Rome, the Medici chapel in Firenze and the Gran Canale in Venice, followed by Spain - Picasso's Guernica painting in Madrid and the Moorish Alhambra palace in Granada - and lastly France, making a final stop in Chartres for the cathedral before crossing the English channel.