Xanadu

Xanadu

[zan-uh-doo, -dyoo]
Xanadu, also Zanadu, Shangdu, or Shang-tu was the summer capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty in China, a division of the Mongol Empire (which covered much of Asia and also encroached upon eastern Europe). The city was located in what is now called Inner Mongolia, north of Beijing, about northwest of the modern town of Duolun. The layout of the capital is roughly square shaped with sides of about 2200m, it consists of an "Outer City", and an "Inner City" in the southeast of the capital which has also roughly a square layout with sides about 1400m, and the palace, where Kublai Khan stayed in summer. The palace has sides of roughly 550m, 40% the size of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The most visible modern-day remnants are the earthen walls though there is also a ground-level, circular brick platform in the centre of the inner enclosure. Xanadu was visited by Venetian explorer Marco Polo in 1275; it became fabled as a metaphor for opulence, most famously in the English Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan.

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