09 Jun Xanadu
oil on canvas, 30X40cm
Xanadu (or Shangdu) was a summer capital of the Yuan Dynasty – to which Kublai Khan belonged too – in Inner Mongolia. It is very likely that Marco Polo has visited the city around the late 1270’s. He described it as a beautiful place, with a marble palace in the middle with a wall built around it. Inside the park there were grasslands, rivers, brooks, fountains, and all kind of animals. There was also another palace built of cane, gilded all around. It was so constructed, that it could be taken to pieces and put up again, if commanded by the Khan.
Marco Polo’s description was known by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as well, who may have made the name Xanadu famous with his poem Kubla Khan:In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree : Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round: And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. (lines 1-11)
Since 2012 Xanadu is a World Heritage Stage.