Wild Balkans
Video: Full Episode

The Balkan Peninsula is notorious for being one of the great battlegrounds of history. And yet, it possesses another side unknown to many, where ancient forests and vast wetlands harbor pristine wilderness, and sheer cliff walls and desolate plateaus preserve a seemingly unchanged past. Buy the DVD. This film premiered January 31, 2010.

  • mINA harrison

    Please tell me if you are showing the Wild Balkans program on the television station anytime soon (today is jan 31)? What time. I watch you at ch 58 KLCS. in Laguna Woods CA

    Second, how many days is the video available here? I want to show it to a friend soon. M H


  • NATURE Online

    Mina – Please check your local listings for repeat showtimes. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/schedule/ or click the Schedule link at the top of the site. This episode will not expire online.

  • Canada

    ” We’re sorry , but this video is not available in your region due to rights restrictions” .
    C’monnn, show the love for Canadian viewers!

  • Tracy B.

    Loved it. My parrots enjoyed watching the wild birds.

  • Christa N,

    I have watched this video on PBS-Mountainlake, but I am not able to watch it on my computer – I live in Canada
    “we`re sorry, but this video is not available in your region due to rights restrictions”
    If there are these restrictions, you should not advertise on Facebook that this video is now available!
    Or is this for American viewer exclusively?

  • Jack Rose

    Enjoyed very much your coverage on middle earth! I work at a university health food store and have worked with Bosnian students who have told me of it’s beauty and bloodshed. It is a privaledge to be taken there by your video presentation. It is wonderful to see God’s creative power and handiwork all over this planet. Thank you for sharing!


    Jack Rose

  • Feyda

    This episode brought tears to my eyes to see the one of the rare wild beautiful places yet left on Earth. I must say I pray that the mines stay in place to keep people out, because it deserves to continue to exist unmolested and unpolluted by thoughtless and careless tourists.
    Indeed, this does seem much like Middle Earth. If only a Great Wizard could come and place a magical barrier around the whole area so that it might continue to be safe for the rare and endangered species that remain there. I pray that their plans to bring in limited hiking doesn’t happen.
    Thank you for showing us this Eden.


  • Vasile Parascan

    I am from Romania so, you can imagine that this wonderful episode has made me cry!
    Thank you PBS!

  • Vasile Parascan

    The narrator is WONDERFUL! I know that he is reading the lines, so, I am sure that this is not going to bother him, but Danube Delta – Delta Dunarii – is ENTIRELY in Romania, not “stretching between Romania and Ukraine”!

  • Terry

    Enjoyable to see a beautiful place on the planet just being “discovered” and hope that it’s park status will help protect it for all in the years to come. Showing in a national format like this will help focus attention on the need for preservation. Some details nice, also; it’s a great new perspective on the European Starling to see the flocking behavior and the wonder of so many acting as one. Starlings here in the US are not esteemed because of their displacement of our native species. Also great to see wolves in their rightful place.

    All that said, however, I think this Nature episode falls far short of the high standards and quality of previous episodes. Like many, I enjoyed how JRR Tolkien’s books have been recently brought to life on the big screen. But, the constant references to ‘middle earth’ and it’s denizens very quickly became tiresome. The show took on a more Hollywood style entertainment, which may be fine for some, but was not the more science-based productions I have come to associate with this program. There were other errors beside the Danube Delta mentioned above. Was that really a “wolf” shown chasing vultures away from a carcass? Looked like whatever passes for a coyote in Europe, based on wolves shown previously and the fact that it was alone. I had to wonder, why the vulture numbers had fallen so drastically – is there no other big game, so that they are forced to dine on the dwindling number of cattle? If there is not enough big game, then what do the wolves eat? These obvious questions were not answered.

    Thanks, PBS and Nature for many years of enjoyment!

  • A Howe

    Love the area (lived there and travel there) but the number of mistakes in this pseudo documentary were stunning.

  • Dakota Wallace

    this was an awesome video!!!!!!

  • Elizabeth

    I agree that the references to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings were out of place in a documentary about a real place. Instead of referring to the elves and orcs, it would have been more genuine to include more accounts of the many unique groups of people who actually do live there. The natural environment is magnificent, but it is not “the end of the world”, as the narrator said, but it does have its own fascinating history. He mentioned during the portion about Dobrudza (a.k.a. “the Shire”) that there are Russians, Tatars, and Armenians that live in this region, it would have been great to hear more about the dynamics of the coexistence of these cultures. The Balkans encompass a region that is full of its own real history and rich folklore, it was hardly necessary to apply the Lord of the Rings to dramatize every scene.

  • Aura

    I loved this show! Thanks for putting it on the internet as I can’t watch T.V. at this time. Another area to add on my list of places to visit. Thanks PBS!

  • Jo-Anne Iring

    PBS televises all of its fundraisers in Canada. How about releasing your online shows to Canadian viewers? Some of us might be more inclined to donate if there was some quid pro quo.

  • Suanna Gurovich

    I go to the Balkans often. The rivers, mountains and lakes are incredible. My fear is that foreigners will come in and build tourist resorts and ruin the area. Thank-you so much for highligtin this pristine beautiful land.

  • Irena

    Thank you for showing this beautiful nature.

  • E Nelle-Davis

    After watching this documentary, I find myself torn between enchantment and disgust. Even then, I am saddened to feel so negatively toward this video. It was majestic and beautiful. Yet, the references to Tolkien’s world were uncomfortable. I am conflicted because it is a rich presentation that has the capacity to woo the viewer, yet slaps you in the face with irrelevant fantastical parallels. I do intend to, however, recommend this episode of Nature to friends and family, accompanied by a disclaimer.

  • Joel

    I thought the narrator was very poetic and descriptive in the way he portrayed the landscape. I felt as if i wanted to go there and actually be part of that remote life, beautiful scenery and pristine feeling.
    Great job from the part of the narrator; it feels reassuring to know that the landmines and bombshells remain there to protect the wilderness; otherwise, humans as invasive as they are, will turn that wilderness into roads and bridges.
    Somethings should be kept pristine and untouched!
    Thanks again to the Narrator;

    great job!

  • Virginia Lamarche

    I Just watched Nature, Wild Balkans tonight, Feb sixth, 2010. It was a fine film except for my concern regarding the capture of the wild European minks…Other unwanted animals were shown being released but altho the capture was done using a humane trap, which is very good, I did not see the human captors actually releasing the mink back into the wild… I think this should have been clearly shown…Because of the great cruelty usually done to this animal by inhumane trapping I would like to know if these captured mink were released unharmed…
    Thank you. Sincerely yours, Virginia Lamarche, NJ USA

  • Darlene

    After observing and hunting the wild hogs of the Southern Appalachians for years and listening to everyone that hunts them debate how much “Russian” our wild hogs have in them, it was very informative to see probably the most genetically pure “Russian” pigs on the planet. I was particularly struck by the steep slope of their shovel like heads.

  • Darryl

    As a Canadian, I used to be able to watch full episodes online. Recently though, I get a “rights restrictions” message instead. I used to buy some of the DVD’s of the episodes as well… but difficult to justify purchases without viewing the episodes.

    Why are being left out?

  • Jose

    Thank you for this wanderful video you have presented to me and others. After watching this wonderful video it only makes me feel good that people like you do care about the world and it beauty. God bless you.

  • andrew

    Understandably, this episode was displaying the fantastical nature of the Balkan region, but all the Tolkien references got old and cheapened the experience.

  • Tolkein fan

    I love this episode! It almost brought tears to my eyes to see such beautiful and wonderful place of nature still exist. I think the references to Tolkien and middle earth fits well with this presentation. Most of Tolkien’s story takes place in beautiful nature landscape and by referencing to “middle earth”, it provides a context for general population to understand this Balkan wildland. Bravo and great job!

  • Mira

    The photography was great. I know Durmitor, Tara, and Skadar and will vouch for their stunning beauty. The editorializing on the wars and use of a foreign mythology to explain a land and peoples was indeed offensive. I truly love Tolkien’s works , especially the Silmarillion, but they, despite Tolkien’s -forgive me T.R.R.- universal theme, are not Balkan stories and Balkan sensibilities. With such a rich folklore readily available from the locals and in English translation, the writer of this text is perpetrating what the West has always been so good at- entering a region on false pretense only to destroy that which is indigenous with intrusive and ultimately destructive words and action. Ask the Lakota, the Cheyenne and the Dakota, ask the Ojibiwe, ask the Seminole, ask the Arawak…

  • Patrick

    A good episode from the visual sense. The references to Middle Earth might have made sense at the beginning to set the stage, but then the drama of the place should have been filled in by it’s own people and their own stories. The whole region as wild as it is should be maintained that way for future generations.

    4 out of 5 stars, if you had such a rating system.

  • Machka

    Fantastic video but I have to agree with the others who found the Tolkien references to become loathsome at some point. To set the scene it’s understandable, but for every chapter, it really detracted from the experience. The cinematography is fantastic. Bravo to the photographers and narrator who produced an A+ product. The writing, though excellent otherwise, was dampened by the constant references to Tolkien, which, to me, seemed quite dull. If anything, the Balkan nature presented far surpasses the fantastical Middle Earth to which it is being constantly compared.

  • Esoteric_Desi

    Very nice show…

  • Mila

    All Bulgarians also thank you for the beautiful presentation of the Balkan region. Although catchy, I am a little puzzled by the Tolkien element to internalize the Balkans! They are not THAT wild (as in foreign), they are just THAT unknown and foreboding. Thrilled to have seen the show. Can’t wait to share with all my friends!

  • Dorina

    Loved PBS when I was in the states! Sadly, couldn’t watch it over the net but it happens with a lot of web content from the US. Read the comments though and the Balkans definitely deserve admirers.

  • amber dawn

    wow i have not seen scenery so pristine, open and free and beautiful in a long time. Your soul just soars when you see footage like that… i pray that land is never corrupted by man again….well off to watch the video for the third time…. good night all

  • Allen

    Thank you, 13! More beautiful and interesting than any cable show.

  • Beni

    May I correct you on the name of the city of Shkodra, it is not Skadar as some of the hipokrits want to call that very historic city of Albania.

  • K Xyooj

    Contrary to some of the other posters, I actually find the references to JRR Tolkien’s LOTR to be a nice and “novel” touch that serves as an alternative to the standard narratives of your run-of-the-mill documentary. I find it quite elegant how they wove aspects of Tolkien’s fictional world and the very real world of the Balkans together. But in order to appreciate this, you have to think about it from three angles: First, the Balkans has for many centuries been in the “middle” of two different groups of civilizations (christians/muslims), hence in many ways it is “middle earth” (get it?). Second, it is a place with a long history of conflict, similar to Tolkien’s middle earth. And then thirdly, the breathtaking scenery, which would fit right into Tolkien’s fictional middle earth any day. From what I noticed, most of the references to Tolkien occurred during the transitioning to – and introduction of – the different places, so it did not distract me from the meat of the documentary nor cheapen its impact in my opinion.

    I very much enjoyed this episode and hope to see more documentaries on this beautiful part of our world soon.

  • Abraham

    I loved it!

  • Tatiana

    Well, that was just, utterly beautiful. Thank you.

  • Interesting


  • William Wilson

    Great video even some comments suggest a variety of short-comings. Will have to do more reading of Tolkien’s works.

  • Phil

    Disappointed that I cant watch the episode because I am in Bulgaria in the Balkans!!

  • Elizabeth

    I LOVE “NATURE” on PBS and this is one of the most magical, beautiful episodes. Ahhhhhh…..

  • Enamul Hoque

    I am speechless after watching the video. Beautiful , beautiful….. what a creation! Allmighty God is great. Thank’s to all of you who has paticipated of making this episode, thank you pbs.

  • claire

    i cant see it

  • Igor

    Fortunately, I live on Balkan peninsula, so I saw it “unplugged”. Why isn’t it available in Balkan region?

  • Ray

    Wow. Beautifully done. Thanks PBS and Nature.

  • Brian L. Burns

    The Balkans really lifts your soul,,,,,,…………Like Soaring on Eagles wings……………………..Under your.. wing……..JB…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • Karina

    Beautiful video! Very awe inspiring, I wish I could see it in person, although I would definately not want to spoil its pristine nature.

    I thought the tolkien comparisons were creative, but agree that there is more to the different histories and cultures that co-exist in the region I would love to learn more about! It would be interesting to learn how human life has inhabitated the area in more detail and about the conservation efforts that I am glad to hear are present in the areas.

    Perhaps a follow up episode? I think it would be really great…..=D !!

  • Robin H.

    What an amazing episode. I had no idea the splendor the Balkans contained. I would like to see more in depth shows on the area, maybe country by country and the preservation efforts taking place in each country. Thank you.

  • Ian

    I really enjoyed the references to Middle Earth! I’m almost finished with the Fellowship of The Ring.

  • Francisco Fernando Alamillo

    I never get tired watching this Video. Is an amazing Please take our Planet!

  • allan

    We’re sorry , but this video is not available in your region due to rights restrictions” ??? iam from denmark where in the balkan war..and want to find old mines and clear up the wildlife of balkan..so show denmark this video,…. best regardsmr.A

  • BB

    watch your shows on tv, donate to pbs and when I hear ON TV that I can watch episodes online I am thrilled. Why can’t folks in Canada watch these then?

  • Edward

    PBS continually states that they rely very heavily on “donations from viewers like you.” Why would I send a dollar when I am being excluded because I live in western Canada??? Why does most of the rest of the world get to experience on line the fantastic shows PBS puts out but we in Canada are feeling discriminated against because of “rights restrictions.”
    I’m left wondering why I subscribed to the Nature channel news letter.
    Please pull my newsletter from your list. I do not need a bunch of reading, I WANT THE SHOWS!!!!

  • Haley J.

    I loved the references to the Lord of the Rings. I thought it added a nice touch..combining nature and literature. I approve!

  • sableantelope

    Sad that you have no problem taking donations from us Canadians but can’t be bothered to let us watch online.

    Love PBS- only decent programming television- but it’s bad enough that there is endless fundraising and the fact that so called commercial-free programming has commercials(and there is no way to not call those commercials. I don’t care that they are there, just don’t call it commercial free. I am not talking about the mention of sponsor’s names I am referring to the, you know, actual commercials you play. I’m saddened companies are not generous enough to sponsor anymore without having their commercials played).

    I hope the economic crisis does not hit the stations too hard.

  • Kenyetta Yousif

    I really can’t wait to see this episode!!<3

  • Robin Merchant

    Interesting corner of the world but the constant references to Middle Earth is annoying. Please do not narrate like this in the future. It takes away from the program.

  • ojbthemapman

    The Wild Balkans presentation was EXELLENT. Thank You

  • Geoff

    Most episodes placed online by US networks are unavailable to Canadian viewers even though we can watch them on TV. Everyone should be used to this by now. I agree though, don’t like it.

  • Troy I

    My wife and I loved this episode. The variety of beauty and wilderness is remarkable – Would love to see in person!
    Awe inspiring.

    Thanks Nature

  • Angela B.

    The Nature programs are remarkable and educational. When I watch them I find myself wanting to travel and see what there is to see in this beautiful world. Maybe someday I WILL go to the Wild Balkans, you never know. I really loved this episode, especially the segment on the birds who pulsated in the sky as one unit.

  • Danielle Sremac

    One of the most beautifully done films on Nature!

  • Roberta Faul-Zeitler

    This is a beautiful show, which I am watching again online, but you have done a grave disservice in two ways — first interrupting the online video twice with a “commercial” for a soul food show that airs on Jan 13 2013; and then cutting the very end of the show when it is about to display the amazing display of millions of starlings swarming in the Danube Delta, performing an amazing feat of flight. Someone on the PBS web video team needs to CORRECT this at once. That last sequence is, in fact, one of the most spectacular aspects of the entire Nature episode. Shame !

  • Gina F

    Just love to watch PBS Nature epidoses. This one was incredible, beautiful, amazing and just awesome! Our earth is such a wonderful place with all it’s beautiful creations.Thank you PBS.

  • Oliver Sachs

    I thought everywhere on earth was populated by humans. What do you know really good episode!

  • Julie B

    Another fantastic virtual travel film! I loved the teardrop river and the deep, deep caverns. And the amazing
    starling formation dances at the end. With all the ugliness we see lately on the news-and sometimes around
    us, it is refreshing to see places untouched except by God’s hand on this planet! thank you and keep up the
    good episodes!

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