Marco Polo – Great Venetian explorer from Korcula town

Marco_Polo_portrait
According to local tradition, Marco Polo (1254 – January 8–9, 1324) was born in Korčula town, in an established family of merchants.


Marco Polo’s birthplace







Since there is no clear evidence but the local legend, the more definite evidence is that the Republic of Genoa defeated Venice in the documented Battle of Curzola off the coast of Korčula in 1298 and a galley commander, Marco Polo, was taken prisoner by the victors to eventually spend his time in a Genoese prison writing of his travels.







Marco Polo was an Italian merchant traveler from the Republic of Venice whose travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde a book written in Old French by Rustichello da Pisa. This book 
which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China is in English commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo.


Marco learned the merchandise trade from his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo.

Before the birth of Marco, Niccolò and Maffeo became merchants and established trading posts in Constantinople, Sudak in the Crimea and in a western part of the Mongol Empire.Marco’s epic journey starts in 1271 when he was 17.


As soon as he was elected in 1271, Pope Gregory X received the letter from Kublai Khan, remitted by Niccòlo and Matteo. Kublai Khan was asking for the dispatch of a hundred missionaries and some oil from the lamp of Jerusalem. The two Polos (this time accompanied by the 17 year-old Marco Polo) returned to Mongolia, accompanied by two Dominican monks, Niccolò de Vicence and Guillaume de Tripoli. The two friars did not finish the voyage due to fear, but the Polos reached Kanbaliq and remitted the presents from the Pope to Kublai in 1274.

 

The Polos spent the next 17 years in China. Kublai Khan took a liking to Marco, who was an engaging storyteller. He was sent on many diplomatic missions throughout his empire. Marco carried out diplomatic assignments but also entertained the khan with interesting stories and observations about the lands he traveled.According to Marco’s travel account, the Polos asked several times for permission to return to Europe but the Khan appreciated the visitors so much that he would not agree to their departure.

 

Finally, the three of them returned to Europe after 24 years, finding Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate.

 

Livres des merveilles du monde

He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had three children. He died in 1324, and it has been rumored that Marco Polo was buried in San Lorenzo church, but more likely he was buried at the no longer extant San Sebastiano.


If you want to feel the connection with those old adventurous times,check out of our6 day Dubrovnik to Split – Self Guided Bike Tourwhere you have chance to spend 2 days in amazing Korcula town,birthplace of Marco Polo!

 

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