Of the City of Cambaleth

Travelling eight days' journey further by divers territories and cities, at length I came by fresh water unto a certain city named Lencyn, standing upon the river of Karauoran, which runneth through the midst of Cataic, and doth great harm in the country when it overfloweth the banks, or breaketh forth of the channel. From thence passing along the river eastward, after many days' travel, and the sight of divers cities, I arrived at a city called Sumakoto, which aboundeth more with silk than any other city of the world: for when there is great scarcity of silk, forty pound is sold for less than eight groats. In this city there is abundance of merchandise, and of all kinds of victuals also, as of bread, wine, flesh, fish, with all choice and delicate spices. Then travelling on still towards the east by many cities, I came unto the noble and renowned city of Cambaleth, which is of great antiquity, being situate in the province of Cataic. This city the Tartars took, and near unto it within the space of half a mile, they built another city called Caido. The city of Caido hath twelve gates, being each of them two miles distant from another. Also the space lying in the midst between the two foresaid cities is very well and throughly inhabited, so that they make as it were but one city between them both. The whole compass or circuit of both cities together, is forty miles. In this city the great emperor Can hath his principal seat, and his imperial palace, the walls of which palace contain four miles in circuit: and near unto this his palace are many other palaces and houses of his nobles which belong unto his court. Within the precincts of the said palace imperial, there is a most beautiful mount, set and replenished with trees, for which cause it is called the Green Mount, having a most royal and sumptuous palace standing thereupon, in which, for the most part, the great Can is resident. Upon the one side of the said mount there is a great lake, whereupon a most stately bridge is built, in which lake is great abundance of geese, ducks, and all kinds of water-fowls: and in the wood growing upon the mount there is great store of all birds, and wild beasts. And therefore when the great Can will solace himself with hunting or hawking, he needs not so much as once to step forth of his palace. Moreover, the principal palace, wherein he maketh his abode, is very large, having within it fourteen pillars of gold, and all the walls thereof are hung with red skins, which are said to be the most costly skins in all the world. In the midst of the palace stands a cistern of two yards high, which consisteth of a precious stone called Merdochas, and is wreathed about with gold, and at each corner thereof is the golden image of a serpent, as it were, furiously shaking and casting forth his head. This cistern also hath a kind of network of pearl wrought about it. Likewise by the said cistern there is drink conveyed through certain pipes and conducts, such as useth to he drunk in the emperor's court, upon the which also there hang many vessels of gold, wherein, whosoever will make drink of the said liquor. In the foresaid palace there are many peacocks of gold: and when any Tartar maketh a banquet unto his lord, if the guests chance to clap their hands for joy and mirth, the said golden peacocks also will spread abroad their wings, and lift up their trains, seeming as if they danced: and this I suppose to be done by art magic or by some secret engine under the ground.

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