MARCO POLO: THE CHINA MYSTERY REVEALED
Did Marco Polo Really Make the Journey to China?
Was he the Worlds Greatest Overland Explorer or the Biggest Liar?
Perhaps no land journey in human history is more famous than Marco Polos legendary 24-year trek across Asia. But was it all just a big lie? As described in his 1299 book, The Description of the World, the peripatetic Venetian merchant encountered such wonders as the singing sand dunes of Dunhuang, China, mountains of salt in present-day Afghanistan, and the glories of the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. Generations of Europeans were spellbound by Polos account, yet in recent years some scholars have questioned its authenticity.
For an extensive three part series in National Geographic, veteran photographer Michael Yamashita put the famed Venetians reputation to the ultimate test using Polos own book as his travel guide for a journey in the celebrated explorers footsteps.
Yamashita retraced Polos route across ten countries, from Venice through restricted areas in Iraq and war zones in Afghanistan, over the old Silk Road into China and back again by way of Southeast Asia and India. Along the way he encountered many landmarks and peoples documented in Polos book, deepening his conviction that Polos account is indeed authentic. Yamashita shares dazzling images and fascinating stories from his own journey to the East, while making a strong, personal case for the veracity of the reports of his 13th-century predecessor. Yamashitas search for Marco Polo led to this series of documentary films that first aired on the National Geographic Channel Asia.
Three 30-minute episodes, shot on 16 mm film. Initial airing: March 2004, National Geographic Channel Asia.