Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rihla Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta was a traveler and a writer back in the Middle Ages. His journeys and his accomplishments were similar to another person that you have probably heard of -- Marco Polo. Marco Polo's name appeared in history books everywhere, and he became famous. Ibn Battuta was not famous for a long time.

Ibn Battuta was born in 1304 in Tangier, Morocco. He was brought up as a Muslim. One thing that Muslims believed in was going on a pilgrimage, called a hajj, to the city of Mecca. When he was 21 years old, Ibn Battuta decided that it was time for his first pilgrimage. He set out for Mecca. Along the way he joined a group of other travelers for safety.

Battuta must have enjoyed traveling, because, after he finished his visit to Mecca, he just kept on traveling. Battuta kept traveling for 30 years!

During those years he returned to Mecca several more times, but he also visited many more places in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He visited all of the large Muslim empires of his time.

The places where Battuta traveled included the country of Spain, the Mediterranean Sea, the north coast of the continent of Africa, the Red Sea, the Nile River, the Pacific Ocean, much of Africa's East Coast, the Indian Ocean, India, China, much of East Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Russia. All together, he traveled about 75,000 miles, even farther that Marco Polo!

Like Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta kept records of interesting sites from his journey. He recorded how people lived and new ideas that he learned from them. Also like Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta dictated stories to a writer who could turn them into a good book after he returned. Battuta's book was called Rihla, or My Travels.

Want to know more? Come and meet us in 'KEMBARA IPT' starting from August 2005 at Universiti Malaya in order to bring you 'in the quest of knowledge' journey.