World History: Journey Across Time

Chapter 12: China in the Middle Ages

Student Web Activity

"China in the Middle Ages"

During the Middle Ages—under the leadership of Mongol emperor Kublai Khan—China reached the height of its wealth and power. As you've learned in this chapter, China received many foreigners who traveled great distances over the Silk Road to visit China's capital city. They were impressed by its wide streets, beautiful palaces, and splendid homes. Marco Polo is perhaps one of the most famous Europeans to visit China. In this activity, you will visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art Web site to "walk in the footsteps of Marco Polo" as he journeyed along the Silk Road.

Destination Title:  Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Start at the Metropolitan Museum of Art online exhibit titled "In the Footsteps of Marco Polo."

  • Select "Get Your Bearings" and read pages one and two of this section, taking notes as you go.
  • Next, select "The Journey" from the toolbar at the top of the page.
  • Click on each of the speaker icons on the map to read Marco Polo's thoughts on the places he visited.

After you've read Marco Polo's story and studied the map, answer the following questions.

How old was Marco Polo when he began his journey? How long did the journey take?
The Mongol Empire could be a dangerous place. How was it that Marco Polo could travel freely throughout its territories?
When did Marco Polo write his book detailing his journey? What famous explorer was inspired by his writings?
How did Marco Polo describe the court of Kublai Khan?
Imagine you are a young explorer. Use the Internet to research a country that you would like to visit. In a short essay, describe the country, the people, and the sights you will see in this country.
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