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Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

Evening Program (Session 1 of 4-Session Course)

Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0033A
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
$10 - Try-Us-Out Promotion

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
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.


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.


The Mogao Grottos

The Mogao Grottos of China are often referred to as an “art gallery in the desert.” For more than a thousand years, untold numbers of kings, merchants, monks, and nuns called the nearby desert oasis of Dunhuang home. Not far from town they sponsored the excavation and decoration of nearly 500 caves, each of which was bedecked in paintings filled with Buddhist iconography, local folktales, and life along the Silk Road. Jacobs traces the history of the grottos, analyzes the wall paintings, and discusses the controversial fate of a secret “cave library” that was discovered in the early twentieth century.


  • Once registered, patrons will receive two emails: one is an automatic email confirmation and the second will include a link to the Zoom webinar as a follow-up (usually given within 24 hours of registration).
  • NOTE: If you do not receive your follow-up email from Zoom, please email Customer Service for assistance.


This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.