~photo courtesy of Google maps
Afghanistan has cold mountains with air so pure and so "salubrious" that many go there to recover their health. In fact, Marco went there when fighting an illness himself. The mountains were full of precious stones and metals to be mined: Balas Rubies, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, jasper, silver, copper and lead. The air is so thin that cooking fires do not give off the same amount of heat.
There were many gardens, orchards, and vineyards. The land produced barley, wheat, rice, nuts, sesame (they make nut oil and sesame oil), cotton, flax, and hemp.
Camels were used in preference to other beasts of burden when making a trek over sandy plains or barren mountains. Traveling through this area, people are often inflicted with "extraordinary illusions." Marco states: "During the day-time, any persons remaining behind on the road, either when overtaken by sleep or detained by their natural occasions, until the caravan has passed a hill and is no longer in sight, they unexpectedly hear themselves called to by their names, and in a tone of voice to which they are accustomed. Supposing the call to proceed from their companions, they are led away from the direct road, and not knowing in what direction to advance, are left to perish. In the night-time, they are persuaded they hear the march of a large cavalcade of people on one side or the other of the road...at times...the air (is filled) with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also drums and the clash of arms."
We read Marco Polo: A Story of the Middle Ages Ch. 8.
Photos courtesy of wikipedia.org. See our References for more information.
I am working on a year long series on the Polo family travels and thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy and please post any additional information you have for us or corrections.
Wishing you homeschool blessings,