About the BookMarco Polo is one of the most adventurous travellers in human history. His travels are recorded in Livres des Merveilles du Monde, a book which is said to have introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. It is one of the first great travel books of Western literature, outside the ancient world. The Travels of Marco Polo is a translated version of that book. It lucidly narrates Polo’s journey to the eastern court of Kublai Khan, the chieftain of the Mongol empire. It covered the Asian continent, which was not known to Polo’s contemporaries.
Covering a period of twenty-four years from 1271 to 1295, Polo’s account gives a detail of his travels in the service of the empire, from Beijing to northern India, and culminates with the remarkable story of his return voyage from the Chinese port of Amoy to the Persian Gulf. An amazing blend of factual and fantastic, Polo’s prose not only reveals the zenith of medieval imagination, but also captures the marvel of subsequent travel writers when faced with the unfamiliar, the exciting, the distant, and the unknown.
It is believed that Polo related his memoirs orally to Rustichello da Pisa while both were prisoners of the Genova Republic. The idea was perhaps to create a handbook for merchants, essentially a text on weights, measures and distances. But due to Polo’s richness of experience it turned out to be an excellent book, which inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers in their great ventures.