The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Vii. The City of Samarkand

Timur and China

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The city is also very rich in merchandize which comes from other parts. Russia and Tartary send linen and skins; China sends silks, which are the best in the world, (more especially the satins), and musk, which is found in no other part of the world, rubies and diamonds, pearls and rhubarb, and many other things. The merchandize which comes from China is the best and most precious which comes to this city, and they say that the people of China are the most skilful workmen in the world. They say themselves that they have two eyes, the Franks one, and that the Moors are blind, so that they have the advantage of every other nation in the world. From India come spices, such as nutmegs, cloves, mace, cinnamon, ginger, and many others which do not reach Alexandria. In the city there are many open places, in which they sell meat cooked in many ways, fowls and other birds very nicely dressed; and they are always selling, day and night, in these places. There are also many places for killing meat, fowls, pheasants, and partridges. At one end of the city there is a castle, which is defended on one side by a stream flowing through a deep ravine, and is very strong. The lord kept his treasure in that castle, and no man entered it except the magistrate and his officers. In this castle the lord had as many as a thousand captives, who were skilful workmen, and laboured all the year round at making head pieces, and bows and arrows.