TRAVEL GALLERY – the most famous explorers
Marco Polo was a Venetian trader and explorer who, together with his father Niccolò and his uncle Maffeo, was one of the first Westerners to travel the Silk Road to China (which he called Cathay) and visited the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan). His travels are written down in Il Milione (The Million or The Travels of Marco Polo).
In 1271 Maffeo and Niccolò Polo set out on their second journey with the Pope's response to Kublai Khan, in 1271. Niccolò took his son Marco, along with two friars that did not finish the voyage due to fear. When Marco Polo arrived at Kublai Khan's court he became a favorite of the Khan and was employed for 17 years and was sent on voyages and was given permission to trade freely throughout China.
Although the Polos were by no means the first Europeans to reach China overland, thanks to Marco's book their trip was the first to be widely known, and the best-documented until then. Marco Polo's description of the Far East and its riches inspired Christopher Columbus's decision to try to reach those lands by a western route.

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