Marco was probably thought crazy when he told of the wondrous Xanadu, palace of the great Khan. In reality, it just sounded too great a place to be real. Turns out, Marco Polo wasn't exaggerating.
Xanadu: The Palace Of Kublai Khan
Photo credit: Zhenglan Qi Administration of Cultural Heritage of the site of Xanadu City
Marco Polo came back from China with some incredible descriptions of Kublai Khan’s empire. The most incredible of all, though, was Xanadu, the palace of the great khan.
Xanadu, Marco Polo said, was a marble palace surrounded by a massive, 26-kilometer-wide (16 mi) park filled with fountains, rivers, and wild animals. There, the khan kept 10,000 pure white horses in a golden palace guarded by dragons. It was, in short, a paradise unlike any on Earth.
The palace was destroyed by the Ming army in 1369, long before most Europeans got the chance to see it. As the centuries passed by, it slipped into legend. It was a place poets wrote about but was little more than the stuff of imagination.
Since then, though, the site of Kublai Khan’s palace has been uncovered, and we’ve found that Marco Polo wasn’t exaggerating. The khan’s home was twice as big as the White House, surrounded by a massive park that seems to have once held a wild menagerie of animals from around the world.
There are ramps for horses in every part of it, and it even has the dragons Marco Polo described. They’re statues sitting atop of pillars that have been painted yellow—but they’re posed exactly as he said they were.
Sometimes it turns out that the tall tales some folks tell are more than that, and just may contain a kernel of truth. Maybe we should listen a little better!
Coffee out on the patio again this morning.