- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
159

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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the Russian national hero and saint, Alexander Nevsky,
celebrated for his victories over the Swedes and the
German order of knights, was obliged to pay a personal visit
to the camp of the golden hordes, and was thence taken
to the great Khan himself, in order to obtain a desired
alleviation and mitigation of the conditions of vassalage.
The journey took two years, and shows how many points
in common there were between the two courts, and how
easily impressions must have been received.

In this respect, I am greatly struck by a quotation by
Viollet-le-Duc in his work on Russian art, from Marco
Polo, the famous Venetian traveller, the first European
who (in the thirteenth century) travelled in and described
Asia. In this it is shown that a strong influence from
Eastern Asia has been effective in the production of the
gilded and colored metal cupolas, the variegated roofs
and highly colored walls in Russia. He thus describes
the palace of the great Khan in the city of Khanbalu :

La sale est si grant et si larges, que bien hi menuient
plus de six milles homes. Il ha tantes chambres que c’en
est mervoilles à voir. II est si grant et si bien fait que
ne a home au monde que le pooir en aüst qu’il le seust
miaus ordrer ne faire et la covreture desoure sunt tout
vermoile et vers bloies et jaunes et de tous colors et sunt
envertrée si bien et si soitilement, qu’il sunt respredisant come
cristiaus, si que mont ou loigne environ le palais luissent.
Et sachiés que cele covreuse est si fort et si ferméement
fait que dure maint ans
.”[1]



[1] “The palace is so large and broad that it will hold more than six
thousand men. There are so many rooms that it is a wonder to see.
It is so large and so well built that no man in the world could ask for
or do it better, and the roof of it is vermilion and blue and yellow glass
of all colors, and it is so well and so skilfully varnished that it shines
like crystal, so that the palace glistens far in the distance. And know
that this roof is strong, and so firmly built that it has endured for
many years.”

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