We arrived in the province of Gasaria, or Casaria, which is of a triangular form, having a city named Kersova on its western extremity, in which St Clement suffered martyrdom. While sailing past that city, we saw an island containing a church, which is said to have been built by the angels. In the middle of this province, and on a cape to the south, stands the city of Soldaia, directly facing Synope. And here all merchants land who come from Turkey, in their way to the north, and embark here again on their return from Russia and the north for Turkey; these latter bring ermines and martins, and other valuable furs, and the former carry cloths made of cotton, or bombasins, and silk webs, and aromatic spices. On the east of this province is the city of Matriga, where the Tanais flows into the Pontus, by a mouth of twelve miles wide. Before this river enters the Euxine, it forms itself into a sea towards the north, of seven hundred miles in length and breadth, but in no place above six paces deep, so that it is not navigable for large vessels: For which reason, the merchants of Constantinople, when they arrive at the city of Matriga, send their barks to the Tanais, where they purchase dried fish, sturgeons, thosas, barbels, and many other sorts of fish.
This province of Casaria has the sea on three sides; on the west, where stands Kersova, or the city of St Clement; on the south, where is the city of Soldaia, at which we landed; and on the east, where Matriga is situated at the mouth of the Tanais. To the east of that mouth is the city of Zikia, and the countries of the Suevi and Hiberi still further east, all of which are not under the dominion of the Tartars. To the south is Trebisond, which has its own prince, named Guido, who, although of the imperial race of Constantinople, is under the Tartar dominion; and next to it is Synope, which belongs to the sultan of the Turks, who is likewise subjected to the Tartars. Beyond this is the country of Vastacius, whose son is named Astar, after his maternal grandfather, and this country is not under the dominion of the Tartars. From the mouth of the Tanais to the Danube, and even beyond the Danube towards Constantinople, including Walachia, which is the country of Assanus, and the lesser Bulgaria as far as Solonia, pay tribute to the Tartars, who of late years have exacted an axe from each family, and all the corn which they find in heaps, in addition to the regular tribute.
We landed at Soldaia on the 21st of May, where certain merchants of Constantinople had previously arrived, who reported that ambassadors from the Holy Land were coming thither, on their way to Sartach; although I had publickly declared on palm Sunday, in the church of St Sophia, that I was no ambassador from you or any one, and only travelled to these infidels, in conformity with the rule of our order. On our arrival, these merchants advised me to be cautious of what I said; for, as they had already reported