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Endangered UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Palmyra

Evening Program (Session 1 of 4-Session Course) on Zoom

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0091A
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Clockwise; Roman and other ruins at Palmyra, Syria, Bamiyan Buddha ruins, Afghanistan; Great Mosque of Djenné, Timbuktu, Mali; Stony Coral Colony and soldier fish Great Barrier Reef Australia

Save $20 when you purchase all 4 sessions of the Endangered UNESCO World Heritage Sites course!


There are 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world. Each of them offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. Some, however, are facing an existential crisis. This series offers an in-depth overview of four UNESCO World Heritage sites that have suffered grievous damage in recent decades, from Palmyra to the Great Barrier Reef. Each lavishly illustrated program goes far beyond the typical tourist experience by incorporating the insights of the latest scholarship and research.  

Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University, is the author of several books, including The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures. He is currently producing a 24-episode series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites for The Great Courses.

Session Information


During the first several centuries A.D., the Syrian desert oasis of Palmyra was a crucial link in an overland trade network that stretched from Rome to India. The profits of this trade were re-invested in stunning monuments and works of art that fused Western and Eastern sensibilities. Jacobs explores the history of Palmyra, its monuments and sculptures, and its fate during the Syrian civil war.

Additional Sessions

If you are interested in additional Endangered UNESCO World Heritage Sites sessions this spring, view the upcoming schedule:

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