His journey through the East began in 1271—when, still a teenager, he set out of Venice and found himself traversing the most exotic countries. His acceptance into the court of the great emperor Kublai Khan, and his service to the vast and dazzling Mongol empire, led him to places as far away as Tibet and Burma, lands rich with gems and gold and silk, but virtually unknown to Europeans.
Later, as a prisoner of war, Marco Polo would record the details of his remarkable travels across harsh deserts, great mountain ranges, and dangerous seas, as well as of his encounters with beasts and birds, plants and people. His amazing chronicle is both fascinating and awe-inspiring—and still serves as the most vivid depiction of the mysterious East in the Middle Ages.
Edited and with an Introduction by Milton Rugoff and an Afterword by Howard Mittelmark