Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Battutah, commonly known as Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368/1369) was a Berber explorer and scholar, and among the most well travelled people of his time, reaching further than the contemporary Marco Polo. His journeys were a showcase of the Islamic Golden Age.
Ibn Battuta came from a family of legal scholars. At age 21, he left his hometown for his hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and remained travelling until his forties, mostly in the Islamic world, India and imperial China.
He documented his journeys in the Rihla — always with the definite article, because rihla is a generic Arabic word for a travelogue. However, many scholars are uncertain if he visited all of the places mentioned in the Rihla and not based some of his descriptions on hearsay, and whether he visited them in the order provided in the book.
The University of California Berkeley has a good online account of Ibn Battuta's travels including several visits to Mecca, the first in 1326 CE.
- 1 Tangier (Morocco). Ibn Battuta's hometown.
- 2 Mecca (Saudi Arabia). The hajj was Ibn Battuta's first long journey.
- 3 Constantinople (Istanbul) (Turkey). Battuta's only visit to Christian Europe was to the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
- 4 Kilwa (Tanzania). The southernmost point reached by Battuta.
- 5 Beijing (China). Reached in 1345.
- 6 Niani (Guinea). Battuta's furthest journey into West Africa.