CHINA

In The Footsteps of Marco Polo

As we all know Marco Polo went to China, becoming the first European to give a detailed description of the great Chinese civilization. But Marco Polo didn’t just go to China, he went to a China that was a part of the great Mongol empire, an empire that wiped clean the map of Eurasia in the thirteenth century, and inaugurated a new age. The Mongol dynasty in China reunified the north and south that had been divided for centuries, made Beijing the country’s capital , created the modern provinces of China, and introduced into the country religions and cultures—Muslim traders, Tibetan-style Buddhist lamas, and Mongol soldiers—that have formed part of China’s multi-ethnic nature to the present day. Modern China was made by the Mongol empire, and Marco Polo was there when it was being born, moving in elite circles where Mongol, Turkic, and Persian were more often spoken than Chinese. He praised the brilliance and abilities of the great Mongol Khan Kubilai, admired the hardiness of the Mongols, men and women alike, who had built the empire, and was dazzled by the wealth and sophistication he found among the Chinese inhabitants of “Taidu” and “Quinsai” (today’s Beijing and Hangzhou). Join us as we explore the world of Marco Polo and his legacy in China and Mongolia.