Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet/Volume 1/Tsagan Balgas

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P. 106.

The Tsagan Balgassu, noticed in Mr. Morgan's footnote, is a different place, being the Chagan-nor of Marco Polo, some 45 miles NW. of Kalgan. Chaghan Balghassun, or 'White Town,' is a term applied by the Mongols to all royal residences.[1]

The place mentioned in the text was on the banks of the Shandu- (or Shangtu-) gol, immediately north of the town of Dolon-nor ; and one at first supposes that it must have been Kublai's famous summer palace of 'Xanadu' or Shangtu, which almost occupies such a position, but is nearer NW. than N. of Dolon-nor. Moreover, the place stands on the left bank of the river, whereas we find Prejevalsky's Tsagan Balgas by his map to be on the right bank. I have little doubt that the site seen by Prejevalsky was that of another of Kublai's foundations, called in his day Langting, of which Dr. Bushell wrote to me: 'The ruins of the city are marked on a Chinese map in my possession, Pai-dzeng-tzu, i.e. "White City," implying that it was formerly an Imperial Residence. The remains of the wall are seven or eight li in diameter (qy. circumference?), of stone, and situated about forty li NNW. from Dolon-nor.' All the points named do not correspond, but the name and position do seem to answer.—[Y.]

  1. See Marco Polo, 2nd ed., vol. i. p. 287, and vol. ii. p. 9.