In 1325, when Ibn Battuta was just twenty-one, he bid farewell to his parents in Tangier, Morocco, and embarked on a pilgrimage to Mecca. It was thirty years before he returned home, having seen much of the world. In this book he recalls his amazing journey, and the fascinating people, cultures and places he encountered.
After his pilgrimage to Mecca, Ibn Battuta was filled with a desire to see more of the world. He traveled extensively, throughout Islamic lands and beyond — from the Middle East to Africa to Europe to Asia.
Travelers were uncommon in those days, and when Ibn Battuta arrived in a new city he would introduce himself to the governor or religious leaders, and they in turn would provide him with gifts, a place to stay and study, and sometimes they even gave him money to continue his journey. Some of the highlights of his travels included seeing the stunning Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem; witnessing the hundreds of women who gathered to pray at the mosque in Shiraz; visiting the public baths in Baghdad; and meeting the Sultan of Delhi, who made him a judge and eventually sent him to China as an ambassador.
Ibn Battuta kept a diary of his travels, and even though he lost it many times and had to recall and rewrite what he had seen, he kept a remarkable record of his years away. His adventurous spirit, keen mind and meticulous observations, as retold here by Fatima Sharafeddine, give us a remarkable picture of what it was like to be a traveler nearly seven hundred years ago.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Intelaq Mohammed Ali, with maps and travel routes forming the backdrop for many richly painted scenes.