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Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

Evening Program (Session 4 of 4-Session Course)

Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0033D
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Left to right: Mogao Grottos in Gansu province, China; Shah-i-Zinda necropolis in the city of Samarkand; Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet; and The Taj Mahal


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
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There are 269 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Asia. Each of them offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. This series offers an in-depth overview of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites. 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, acts as guide through the iconic monuments and cities of Asia. He is the author of several books, including The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures, and is currently producing a 24-episode series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites for The Great Courses.

For information on the World Heritage Sites in Asia course or other sessions, please click here.

Session Information

Taj Mahal

The grief of a Muslim shah for his dead wife inspired the 17th-century construction of what would become the architectural jewel of the Mughal empire in India. The Taj Mahal, built as a tomb for the Persian wife of a male descendant of Chinggis Khan, showcases the splendid craftsmanship of South Asian artisans, the motifs of Persian-inspired Muslim art and architecture, and the political influence of Central Asian conquerors in India. Jacobs simulates the experience of a visit to the Taj Mahal complex, highlighting major historical themes and revealing architectural details along the way.

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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.