Marco Polo and the Kublai Khan

Marco Polo was among those who visited Jerusalem after it had fallen back into the hands of the Muslims during the Crusades; he arrived in 1271, as he had promised the Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan.

In his book "Il Milione", Marco Polo wrote that the Kublai Khan had made a specific request to his father and his uncle, who were then on their first trip to the East. He asked them to bring him back an ampulla of the oil that was burned in the Holy Sepulchre, which was thought to have miraculous powers and had been known throughout the East since the 7th century.

The Kublai Khan was very keen on western religions, which is probably why he made such a peculiar request . At that time the Mongolians had not yet converted to Islam and were still considering Christianity and Buddhism.

The Polos landed at Saint John of Acre while it was still in the hands of the Crusaders, and made a trip to Jerusalem to procure the precious oil to take back to the Kublai Khan.

Marco Polo at the Kublai Khan
(from the book "Il Milione")