Ibn Battuta, the greatest traveler in the Islamic world

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Ibn Battuta is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest travelers that history has ever seen, able to go from Morocco to the distant lands of China and Indonesia. A 29 year long crossing, able to make him discover some of the most incredible wonders ever seen by a single human being. It will also be the main theme of our patreon, active since February.

The 3 pilgrimages

Ibn Battuta was born in 1304 a Tangier from a family Berber of jurists; after passing having learned the notions of Islamic law in Mecca and having returned to his native land, in 1325 the young Moroccan will leave for his first trip, determined to return to the holy city as a pilgrim. After hurrying through the Maghreb countries, in the first months of 1326 he finally arrived in Egypt, a country from which he was literally fascinated and in which he spent several weeks before resuming the road to the Hijaz. Due to some ongoing riots, however, he was unable to cross the Red Sea and this forced him to choose a land route through Palestine, Syria and Jordan. Just in Damascus the pilgrim will spend Ramadan, managing to fulfill his “mission” in September 1326.

Ibn Battuta

After a month spent in Mecca, however, he ardently wished to explore Mesopotamia, so in November of the same year, he went to Iraq, where he also had the opportunity to visit the city of Najd, the burial place of Ali ibn Talib. Once in Baghdad he will take the road to Persia, visiting Esfahan, then I will head south to visit Shiraz and then he will head north to Tabriz, before returning to today’s Kurdistan and heading once again to Mecca. After performing his second Hajj, he went first to Jeddah and then to Yemen, the place from which he will head for Africa. Here he will observe the wonderful coasts of Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania, before heading to Oman and making his third pilgrimage.

15 years in Asia

After yet another spiritual journey, Ibn Battuta set the goal of entering the service of the Sultan of Delhi, a man known for his incredible wealth and power, unmatched in the Islamic world of that period. To do so, however, he decided before seeing all the other countries he had not yet explored, heading then first to Anatolia, then to Crimea and finally to Astrakhan, on the Volga River (present-day Russia). Here he was fought over whether to go further north in the steppes but, due to the fame of a desolate and mysterious place, he decided to change his itinerary, seizing the opportunity that fate put before him. Öz Beg Khan’s wife, Princess Bayalun, had just received permission to return to her hometown of Constantinople to give birth, the perfect opportunity to set foot outside Dar al Islam.


After a month in the city he will resume his direct journey to India, crossing the Silk Road and finally reaching the Indus River on September 12, 1333, being immediately hired as a qadi (judge) for 6 years. After such a long stop, however, the desire to leave was made stronger and stronger, seizing the opportunity given him by the arrival of a Chinese embassy. He was commissioned to escort the guests to their kingdoms, the attack of some bandits, however, pushed him to change course, heading first to Gujarat, then to Calicut, Maldives, to then leave for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Once arrived in the city of Chittagong he decided to resume his initial journey, not before, however, to have visited Sumatra, the extreme border of dar al Islam, and to have gone up through the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In 1345 he finally arrived in China, becoming the first narrator to mention the legendary wall; at this point, however, he began to miss his homeland and for this reason in 1346 he would organize his return trip to Morocco.

Across the Sahara

In 1348 he arrived in Damascus, where he learned of his father’s death 15 years earlier, and in 1349 he finally returned to Tangier, after 25 years on the road. However, he will rest only a few days to leave for Andalusia, making his way to the Sahara in 1351. He had always been curious to observe the wealth of the kingdom of Mali, taking the opportunity of his stay in Morocco for one last look.

During the latter crossing he was in fact ordered by the Moroccan sultan to return home, and for this, he returned definitively to Morocco at the beginning of 1354. Here, by order of the same ruler, he will dictate all his adventures to the historian Ibn Juzayy, going off only in 1369, after having traveled over 117,500 km and having visited the whole Islamic world.

Ready to travel?

As you know, starting from February (we hope within the first half of the month) we will open a Patreon, or a sort of monthly subscription that will allow the project to sustain itself economically. You can choose different offers (with a price range from € 1.50 to € 30) that will allow you to receive the best of: music, cuisine, art, photography and literature from the so-called “Islamic world” monthly; why are we telling you this?

Ibn Battuta

Because the first book will be just “The Travels” by Ibn Battuta, the legendary text by Ibn Juzayy. Not only that, the entire path of Patreon will follow that of Ibn Battuta, allowing us to discover all Dar al Islam, dedicating a month to each chapter. We are waiting for the arrival of the new logo to leave, as soon as there will be news we will explain everything even better.

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