Marco Polo arrives to Baghdad after visiting Lesser Armenia and Greater Armenia. Polo immediately points out the size of the city and makes a connection between Baghdad and Rome by pointing out that the “Caliph of all the Saracens in the world” (Polo 51) reside in Baghdad, as “the head of all Christians” (Polo 51) resides in Rome. This comparison insinuates the weight that this city has on an international level, as well as points to the religious significance that this city has for Muslim individuals, as the word “saracen” refers to a Muslim individual. True to his mercantile interests, Polo describes the main route that travelers, particularly merchants, take in order to travel from the sea to Baghdad, which Polo states “is a journey of fully eighteen days” (Polo 51). The narrative continues on to describe the goods and services that Baghdad specializes in from pearls to the study of law. Polo further goes into depth about the jewels and precious metals that Baghdad has by telling the tale of how Baghdad, but more specifically the Caliph became in possession of so many riches. The emphasis that the tale had on economic prosperity highlights the wealth of Baghdad.

The section on Baghdad ends with what Marco Polo describes as a “miracle” (Polo 53), but is essentially a tale that describes a Caliph who hates Christians and receives a prophecy of sorts that states that a Christian of great faith will be able to move a mountain. The Caliph uses this as a way to kill off the Christians, as he thought no one would be able to move the mountain, so he stated that all non-Saracens had to move the mountain or be met with death. Long story short, the shoemaker in the town caused mountain to crumble, which shocked so many people and caused them to convert to Christianity, even the Caliph. Polo does not go into any depth of the weather or length of his stay. The miracle that Polo recites paints Christianity in a positive light and Muslim individuals as negative or “evil”, since the Caliph threatened to kill others who did not followed his religion. This point is further supported by the sentence “indeed, it is a fact that all the Saracens in the world are agreed in wishing ill to all the Christians in the world” (Polo 53-54). Polo purposefully breaks his narration of the story to include this “fact” and this statement reveals a negative understanding and stereotype of Islam and Muslim individuals as Polo asserts that they desire strife and problems for Christian people. This reveals a key aspect on how his culture views religion and the relationships that different religions and individuals with religious backgrounds interact and view each other.

Overall, Polo seems to have a focus on storytelling in this section on Baghdad, which is seen in this religious tale, as well as the historical reciting of how the Caliph became in possession of his treasures. Polo’s purpose of writing about Baghdad seems less about informing the audience of Baghdad, which could come from the fact that they have a large presence on an international scale, and more so interested in entertaining.