Ibn Battuta was one of the greatest travelers to have ever lived. Born in Tangier, Morocco, wise beyond his years, Ibn Battuta lived at a time when few had the courage to venture far afield to satisfy their curiosity. After nearly thirty years on the road, he spent the better part of his life traveling.
Throughout his travels, he ventured across Northern Africa to Egypt, and the coast of Swahili, to Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula. On route, he passed through Palestine and Syria. He then went on to travel through Anatolia and Persia, eventually reaching Afghanistan. As his travels continued, he crossed the Himalayas into India and went on towards Sri Lanka and to the Maldives. After this leg of his journey, he continued until he reached the coast of China, before making his way back to Morocco. He later decided to add a few years onto his trip and travel across the Sahara.
Even though he lived before the Renaissance era, many say that he lived as a “Renaissance man.” His profession was that of a “qadi” or judge, and Ibn Battuta was also knowledgeable in geography, botany, and Islamic theology, and had excellent observation skills. His primary talent, however, was his writing.
Ibn Battuta, in fact, included many of his scientific observations in his writing. Along the way, he made numerous recordings of his observations, interesting notes, insights, and lessons. His work was preserved by a young scribe who was requested to do so by the Sultan of Morocco. It took months to transcribe Ibn Battuta’s story, and it was eventually compiled and entitled “al-Rihla” (الرحلة) or “The Travels”.
Portions of Ibn Battuta’s writing have also been compiled into separate books, which I recommend, as they are not like your usual travel stories. As there are a number of these books available, which include “The Hall of a Thousand Columns” and “The Travels of Ibn Battuta,” I advise that you grab a copy for yourself.