In 1969, a Christian fanatic attacked the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. In the blaze that followed, the ornate minbar of Saladin (a raised platform reached by steps and used in Friday prayers) was destroyed. Installed in 1187, the minbar was one of the world’s most precious works of art.
The Royal Family of Jordan, charged with the protection of the al-Aqsa mosque, decided that the minbar must be rebuilt. But there was a problem… no one knew how to do it. The skills that had produced the incredibly ornate set of wooden stairs had been lost to the ages. Besides that, only a few black and white photos remained as a reference.
Narrated by Kenneth Branagh and shot in London, Amman, Aleppo, Granada, Cairo and Istanbul, Stairway to Heaven chronicles the fascinating race to rediscover a lost art, recreate the Saladin minbar and restore the al-Aqsa mosque to its former glory.
Partners: West Park Pictures and Prince’s Charities Events distributed through NBD TV
Wrapped: September 2007
Length: 53 minutes
Rights available: Worldwide, excluding Middle East