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According to some, Marco Polo was born on 15 September 1254 in Venice.

He is known throughout the world as the oldest traveller to travel along the route known as the 'Silk Road', as recorded in his detailed travel diary entitled The Million.

Marco was born into a wealthy merchant family: his father Niccolò and uncle Matteo traded with the Orient. When his family returned after more than 15 years from an expedition to Asia to the court of the great khan̄ Qūbīlāy (also known as Kublai Khan), nephew of the Mongol leader Genghis Khan, as ambassadors with the purpose of delivering a letter from Khan to the Pope, the now 17-year-old Marco Polo did not miss the opportunity to join his relatives. In the missive, the emperor of Catai - the ancient name for China - asks for 100 missionaries and oil from the lamp of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, in return for which Venetian merchants can expand their market into all the lands controlled by the Mongols.

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