Despite piracy, shepwreck, brigandage, and wild beasts, Polo moved in a world of highly organized commerce. This chronicle of his travels through Asia, whether read as fact or fiction, is alive with adventures, geographical information, and descriptions of natural phenomena.
Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kubilai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. The accounts of his travels provide a fascinating glimpse of the different societies he encountered: their religions, customs, ceremonies and way of life; on the spices and silks of the East; on precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts. He tells the story of the holy shoemaker, the wicked caliph and the three kings, among a great many others, evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy.
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Marco Polo travelled to China in 1271 and spent the next twenty years in the service of Kublai Khan. He wrote his famous Travels after returning home, whilst a prisoner in Genoa.