Morocco Great Explorer - Ibn Battuta

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Morocco Great Explorer Of The 13th Century - Ibn Batutta (1304 – 1368)

There are many famous and great world explorers between 13th and 14 century. From Italy, Marco Polo (1254-1324), Portugal, Afonsol Albuquerque (1454-1515), China, Zheng He (1371-1434) and Morocco, Ibn Batuta.

According to the teaching resources from Bekerley ORIAS, Ibn Batutta started his 3 centuries long journey with a simple wish to visit Mecca to do Hajj in 1325 at the age of 20 years. His great adventure covered 120,000 kilometres by riding solo on a lone donkey and managed to meet up with a caravan which heading to the same destination. For Ibn Batutta, it is a good opportunity to acquire more knowledge of Islamic law and maybe be able to get a good job too.

Ibn Batuta full name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Batutta, born in Tangier, Morocco in 1304. There is nothing written down for his early years but his traveling story and adventure was recorded by Ibn Juzayy with the salary paid by the Moroccan Sultan in 1354 which titled; “Tuhfat al-Anzar fi Gharaaib al-Ansar wa Ajaib al-Asfar “A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and The Marvel of Traveling” or in simply call “Rihla” in Arabic which means “journey”. It seems that this little travelogue did not garner much interest until in the 19th century when it was translated into German, English and French that sparkled the widespread of interest.

His great adventure simply mesmerized each reader with his stories of attack by bandits, near death sentence by a bully ruler, near drown in a sinking ship, many romances and marriages as well as string of off-spring from places that caught his fancy. His story will not do justice by a simple blogspot; but let me invite you to get a copy of this magificient insight into the medieval cities by visiting here for a complete translation of the Rihla.

Today, Tangier International Airport was renamed to Tangier International Ibn Batutta Airport after this enigma personality. If you intend to visit his zaouia, you might not be able to find the location easily and not many locals in the vicinity know about this great traveler though. As such, you have to really do it yourself and explore the Tangier Old Medina with the mind and excitement of an “explorer”. As one walks into this old kasbah, searching for the destination, we will be transported back in time as it still retains the old world charm with maze-like alley, white wash high walls of ancient dwelling style building and plenty of uphill climbs. Or if you opt for the easy way; check out this coordinate to this small tomb of Ibn Batuta. 35.7877923, -5.8107504

Check out our visit of Zaouia Ibn Battuta on youtube: Zaouia in Tangier (Part II)