Weird History

20 Things You Might Not Know About Marco Polo

The biography of Marco Polo tells the story of one of the most famous explorers of all time. Leaving Venice with his father and uncle, he spent 24 years going all the way from Israel to China, where he lived for 17 years. His life story involves working for the great Kublai Khan personally, surviving perilous journeys, and eventually writing one of the greatest travelogues of all time.

But who was Marco Polo? In addition to being an explorer, he was a merchant, a soldier, and a keen observer of strange cultures. He also was known to be a braggart and an exaggerator. Some modern scholars don't believe that Marco Polo wrote his famous Travels or even went to China at all. With hundreds of different versions of the book (and some that omit basic facts about life in China), it's likely that the original dictations he made are lost to history. 

Here are some interesting things you might not have known about the great Venetian writer, and the famous journey he took.