Before I visited, I considered Jerusalem only as a city for revelling at the abundance of religious sites. The reality, however, is vastly different Continue reading
I still vividly remember the first time I attended church in Ghana and, although it wasn’t entirely through choice, it is something I Continue reading
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Whether or not you like this particular example of early Romanticism, and without wishing to be too school-teacherly about it, I bet you could recite at least the first two lines of the above poem. It is, of course, a famous dream-vision poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and it constitutes the most common ‘knowledge’ of the figure of Kublai Khan. For most people, that’s it. So was there an actual person called Kublai Khan? Who was he? When did he live, and what did he do? Continue reading