Jillian Venise Vinluan
“Marco Polo “
The old people claim that sometimes the palaces and temples reappear shimmering magically in the morning sun. Weichang was grazing his flock on mounds that hold the bones of Shangdu, the summer capital that Kublai Khan decreed in the grassland of Inner Mongolia, 200 miles of Beijing. He decreed lavishly, as attested by shangdui, Mongol name, City of 108 temples. Marco have entered the shining city, through a gateway in the western wall. “a vast palace of marble” Marco recorded. Marco was about 21 years old when he reached Shangdu with his Father, Niccolo and uncle Maffeo, merchants of Venice. Marco, who chronicled it in his boldly titled Description of the World. The book overflowed with the wealth of Asia- silk, spices , jewels, porcelain- and with place names unknown in Medieval Europe, not only those in china but also Java Cipangu. Marco probably would not have made his great journey had it not been for his father and uncle, Nicollo and Mafeo, who already had dared to travel deep into the Mongol Empire, perhaps to shangdu. No one knows if Marco kept a journal. But his first descriptions sound as if they came from one. Nomads in Turkey were an “ignorant people and have a barbarous language,” farther east, towards Caspian Sea, was a fountain which sends up oil in the great abundance. Edward began following marco toward the “sunrising” as he called the east at Tabiz in the northwestern corner of Iran. We can’t be sure what route the Polo’s took there. Tabris was well- known to contemporary Italian merchants. Today it is mostly a city of concrete buildings two or three stories high. Tabiz’s bazaar carry beautiful carpets, that are admired by the Europeans, the travellers would have lodged in the Christian quarter a neighbourhood still known as the Qaleh, or fortress ,because until a few decades ago it was separated from the Muslim community by a wall. From Tabriz I headed southeast on a high way...
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