Segments in this Video

Introduction: Episode 2: Mysteries of Xanadu (Ancient China From Above) (04:52)


Dr. Allan Maca travels to Inner Mongolia to investigate the 750-year-old legend introduced by Marco Polo; Marco Polo reaches Xanadu in 1275. Maca will use state of the art satellites to help recreate the ancient world.

Inner Mongolia (04:49)

Maca examines mounds in the grasslands and a central site uncovered by Chinese archaeologists. Maca and his team use drones to survey the ruins and create a 3D model.

Xanadu (03:46)

Maca provides a brief history of the Mongol Empire; Kublai Khan builds Xanadu in 1256. Infrared satellite images reveal features beyond the central part of the city. Marco Polo describes a palace with a golden roof and lacquered pillars; experts believe it was a circular building.

Cane Palace (05:16)

Maca helps Enkh Bayr and his family build a traditional Mongolian house. Maca uses Marco Polo's description of Kublai Khan's circular palace and other sources to recreate the building in 3D. Maca's team locates a potential palace site using satellite imagery and drones.

Xanadu's Suburbs (05:15)

Despite locating a circular depression, the imperial ger's location remains a mystery. Satellite imagery reveals structures and roadways beyond the city walls. The areas housed visiting nobility, the military, markets, and granaries.

Xanadu's Population and Design (03:13)

Maca and his team estimate the volume of grain storage and determine that the city could have been home to over 200,000 people. Xanadu has a north/south alignment with a layout based on geological features; a classic Han Chinese city plan.

Mixing of Cultures (03:47)

Experts analyze a 700-year-old mural that once lined a circular tomb. They identify Mongol clothing and a Chinese story. Maca considers Kublai Khan's desire to increase his empire; Xanadu was the emperor's power base.

Pavilion of Great Peace (02:55)

In 2003, Chinese archaeologists discover a marble pillar from the palace complex. Maca examines the dragon carving. Data allows Maca and his team to recreate the palace in 3D.

Xanadu Temples (03:45)

Cliffs near Zhangye house a complex of Buddhist temples; Kublai Khan continues the carving style. Evidence suggests the Yuan Dynasty embraced all religions. People of various cultures and philosophies thrive in Xanadu.

Dadu (03:55)

Kublai Khan wants to conquer the Southern Song and builds a second capital in what is now Beijing. Workers discover the foundations of Kublai Khan's palace beneath the Forbidden City in 2016. Satellite imagery reveals further features of Xanadu’s sister city.

Yuan Dynasty (02:37)

Kublai Khan's vision allows him to create a new dynasty the Han will accept; China thrives under his reign. Maca reflects on Marco Polo's description of Xanadu. (Credits)

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Episode 2: Mysteries of Xanadu (Ancient China From Above)

Part of the Series : Ancient China From Above
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Dr. Allan Maca explores the legendary lost city of Xanadu in Inner Mongolia. Today very little remains of Kublai Khan’s grand capital — a place that famous explorer Marco Polo described as one of the Marvels of the World. But now, with the help of satellite imagery and cutting-edge technology, we can finally uncover Xanadu’s secrets, and bring this fabled city and its lavish palaces back to life.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL283858

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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