University of Chicago Press: E. About Contact News Giving to the Press. From Mesopotamia to Iraq Hans J. Table of Contents. Travel Tales, Their Creators and Critics 2. The Travels 3. Tales of Food and Hospitality 4.
Paul M. Cobb, University of Pennsylvania. Vincent Barletta, Stanford University. Chicago Blog : Cartography and Geography. In Najaf, he visited the mausoleum of Ali , the Fourth Caliph. Then, instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan, Ibn Battuta started a six-month detour that took him into Persia. From Najaf, he journeyed to Wasit , then followed the river Tigris south to Basra.
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His next destination was the town of Isfahan across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. He then headed south to Shiraz , a large, flourishing city spared the destruction wrought by Mongol invaders on many more northerly towns. Finally, he returned across the mountains to Baghdad, arriving there in June In Baghdad, he found Abu Sa'id , the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanate, leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue. Ibn Battuta left again for Baghdad, probably in July, but first took an excursion northwards along the river Tigris.
He visited Mosul , where he was the guest of the Ilkhanate governor,  and then the towns of Cizre Jazirat ibn 'Umar and Mardin in modern-day Turkey. At a hermitage on a mountain near Sinjar , he met a Kurdish mystic who gave him some silver coins. Ill with diarrhoea, he arrived in the city weak and exhausted for his second hajj. Ibn Battuta remained in Mecca for some time the Rihla suggests about three years, from September until autumn Problems with chronology, however, lead commentators to suggest that he may have left after the hajj.
After the hajj in either or , he made his way to the port of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast.
From there he followed the coast in a series of boats making slow progress against the prevailing south-easterly winds. Ibn Battuta also mentions visiting Sana'a , but whether he actually did so is doubtful.
He then moved on to Cape Guardafui further down the Somalia seaboard, spending about a week in each location. When Ibn Battuta arrived in , Mogadishu stood at the zenith of its prosperity. He described it as "an exceedingly large city" with many rich merchants, noted for its high-quality fabric that was exported to other countries, including Egypt. Ibn Battuta continued by ship south to the Swahili Coast , a region then known in Arabic as the Bilad al-Zanj "Land of the Zanj " ,  with an overnight stop at the island town of Mombasa.
Ibn Battuta recorded his visit to the Kilwa Sultanate in , and commented favorably on the humility and religion of its ruler, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman , a descendant of the legendary Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi. He further wrote that the authority of the Sultan extended from Malindi in the north to Inhambane in the south and was particularly impressed by the planning of the city, believing it to be the reason for Kilwa's success along the coast. During this period, he described the construction of the Palace of Husuni Kubwa and a significant extension to the Great Mosque of Kilwa , which was made of coral stones and was the largest Mosque of its kind.
With a change in the monsoon winds, Ibn Battuta sailed back to Arabia, first to Oman and the Strait of Hormuz then on to Mecca for the hajj of or In the autumn of or , he set off for the Seljuk controlled territory of Anatolia with the intention of taking an overland route to India.
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From there he crossed the Sinai Peninsula to Palestine and then travelled north again through some of the towns that he had visited in From the Syrian port of Latakia , a Genoese ship took him and his companions to Alanya on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. He then journeyed westwards along the coast to the port of Antalya.
The members were young artisans and had at their head a leader with the title of Akhis. Ibn Battuta was very impressed with the hospitality that he received and would later stay in their hospices in more than 25 towns in Anatolia. He spent Ramadan June or May in the city. From this point the itinerary across Anatolia in the Rihla is confused. He went to the port town of Azov , where he met with the emir of the Khan, then to the large and rich city of Majar.
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He left Majar to meet with Uzbeg Khan 's travelling court Orda , which was at the time near Beshtau mountain. From there he made a journey to Bolghar , which became the northernmost point he reached, and noted its unusually for a subtropics dweller short nights in summer. Then he returned to the Khan's court and with it moved to Astrakhan.
Ibn Battuta recorded that while in Bolghar he wanted to travel further north into the land of darkness. The land is snow-covered throughout northern Siberia and the only means of transport is dog-drawn sled. There lived a mysterious people who were reluctant to show themselves. They traded with southern people in a peculiar way. Southern merchants brought various goods and placed them in an open area on the snow in the night, then returned to their tents. Next morning they came to the place again and found their merchandise taken by the mysterious people, but in exchange they found fur-skins which could be used for making valuable coats, jackets, and other winter garments.
The trade was done between merchants and the mysterious people without seeing each other. As Ibn Battuta was not a merchant and saw no benefit of going there he abandoned the travel to this land of darkness. Ibn Battuta talked his way into this expedition, which would be his first beyond the boundaries of the Islamic world.
He visited the great church of Hagia Sophia and spoke with an Eastern Orthodox priest about his travels in the city of Jerusalem. Then he continued past the Caspian and Aral Seas to Bukhara and Samarkand , where he visited the court of another Mongolian king, Tarmashirin r.
After this I proceeded to the city of Barwan, in the road to which is a high mountain, covered with snow and exceedingly cold; they call it the Hindu Kush, that is Hindu-slayer, because most of the slaves brought tither from India die on account of the intenseness of the cold. Ibn Battuta and his party reached the Indus River on 12 September Muhammad bin Tughluq was renowned as the wealthiest man in the Muslim world at that time.
The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer
He patronized various scholars, Sufis, qadis , viziers and other functionaries in order to consolidate his rule. It is uncertain by which route Ibn Battuta entered the Indian subcontinent. He may have entered via the Khyber Pass and Peshawar , or further south. From the Rajput Kingdom of Sarsatti, Battuta visited Hansi in India, describing it as "among the most beautiful cities, the best constructed and the most populated; it is surrounded with a strong wall, and its founder is said to be one of the great infidel kings, called Tara". The Sultan was erratic even by the standards of the time and for six years Ibn Battuta veered between living the high life of a trusted subordinate and falling under suspicion of treason for a variety of offences.
His plan to leave on the pretext of taking another hajj was stymied by the Sultan. The opportunity for Battuta to leave Delhi finally arose in when an embassy arrived from Yuan dynasty China asking for permission to rebuild a Himalayan Buddhist temple popular with Chinese pilgrims. Ibn Battuta was given charge of the embassy but en route to the coast at the start of the journey to China, he and his large retinue were attacked by a group of bandits.
From there, they sailed to Calicut now known as Kozhikode , where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama would land two centuries later. While in Calicut, Battuta was the guest of the ruling Zamorin. Afraid to return to Delhi and be seen as a failure, he stayed for a time in southern India under the protection of Jamal-ud-Din, ruler of the small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the Sharavathi river next to the Arabian Sea.
This area is today known as Hosapattana and lies in the Honavar administrative district of Uttara Kannada. Following the overthrow of the sultanate, Ibn Battuta had no choice but to leave India. Although determined to continue his journey to China, he first took a detour to visit the Maldive Islands where he worked as a judge. He spent nine months on the islands, much longer than he had intended. As a Chief Qadi , his skills were highly desirable in the formerly Buddhist nation that had recently converted to Islam.
Half-kidnapped into staying, he became chief judge and married into the royal family of Omar I. He became embroiled in local politics and left when his strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom began to chafe with its rulers. In the Rihla he mentions his dismay at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist, and the locals taking no notice when he complained.
Ibn Battuta's ship almost sank on embarking from Sri Lanka, only for the vessel that came to his rescue to suffer an attack by pirates. Stranded onshore, he worked his way back to the Madurai kingdom in India. Here he spent some time in the court of the short-lived Madurai Sultanate under Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani,  from where he returned to the Maldives and boarded a Chinese junk , still intending to reach China and take up his ambassadorial post. He reached the port of Chittagong in modern-day Bangladesh intending to travel to Sylhet to meet Shah Jalal , who became so renowned that Ibn Battuta, then in Chittagong, made a one-month journey through the mountains of Kamaru near Sylhet to meet him.
On his way to Sylhet, Ibn Battuta was greeted by several of Shah Jalal's disciples who had come to assist him on his journey many days before he had arrived. At the meeting in CE, Ibn Battuta noted that Shah Jalal was tall and lean, fair in complexion and lived by the mosque in a cave, where his only item of value was a goat he kept for milk, butter, and yogurt.
The odyssey of Ibn Battuta : uncommon tales of a medieval adventurer
He observed that the companions of the Shah Jalal were foreign and known for their strength and bravery. He also mentions that many people would visit the Shah to seek guidance. Ibn Battuta went further north into Assam , then turned around and continued with his original plan.