A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.
Cathay.  Being taken by the Tartars, they built a new city at the distance of half a mile, which they named Caido, which has twelve gates, each two miles distant from the other.  The space also between the two cities is thoroughly built upon, and inhabited; so that the whole is as one city, and is forty miles in circuit.  In this city the great khan or emperor has his palace, the walls of which are four miles in circuit; and near to the imperial palace there are many other houses and palaces of the nobles who belong to the court.  Within the precincts of the imperial palace, there is a most beautiful mount, all set over with trees, called the Green Mount, having a sumptuous palace on the top, in which the khan mostly resides.  On one side of the mount is a great lake, abounding in geese and ducks, and all manner of water fowl, and having a most magnificent bridge; and the wood upon the mount is stored with all kinds of beasts and land birds.  Hence when the khan is inclined to take the diversion of hunting or hawking, he needs not to quit his palace.

The principal palace in which the khan resides is very large, and contains fourteen pillars of gold, and all the walls are hung with red skins, which are reckoned the most costly in the world[1].  In the midst of this palace, there is a cistern two yards high, all of a precious stone called merdochas, which is wreathed round with gold, having the golden image of a serpent at each corner, as it were furiously menacing with their heads.  This cistern is farther ornamented by a rich net-work of pearls; and, by means of certain pipes and conduits, it continually supplies certain kinds of drink that are used at the court of the emperor[2].  Around this there stand many golden vessels, so that all who choose may drink abundantly.  There are likewise many golden peacocks; and when any of the Tartars drink to the prosperity of their lord, and the guests clap their hands from mirth and joy, the golden peacocks spread their wings and expand their trains, and appear to dance.  This, I presume, is occasioned by magic art, or perhaps by means of some secret machinery below ground.

[1] These red skins, in the Latin of Hakluyt, pelles rubes, are probably
    the zaphilines pelles, or sables, of other travellers; converted into
    red skins by some strange blunder.—­E.

[2] This fountain of four drinks, seems copied from honest Rubruquis; but
    with corrections and amendments.—­E.


Of the Magnificence of the Great Khan.

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