When Ibn Battuta went to Damascus, Syria after coming from Cairo, the government of Mamluk ordered caravans in carrying merchants and pilgrims along the Royal Road. Carefully monitoring the people going in and out of their territory, the Mamluks charged the traders and checked their passports.
The city of Damascus was a fantastic city where Ibn Battuta can join a caravan to finish his journey to Mecca. Then again, there are also other holy spots to visit on this stage of the trip.
Ibn Battuta went on to see Hebron and Bethlehem too, praying for his night time journeys. After which, he visited the small town of Jerusalem where he lived for 1 week and because of its shrines and sanctuaries, the place has been a significant part of his trip. He was able to visit the Sacred Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. Since the Hajj would already start, he continued his journey to Damascus and reached in time for Ramadan in 1326.
Enthralled by Damascus’ beauty as a global shopping haven as the city was then the center of trades linking Egypt and Persia and Asia and the region of Black Sea. In addition, it was a center of learning.
In the Muslim world, the city’s Great Mosque was a well-known center of study and it has a flawless architecture that Ibn Battuta pronounced it as the world’s greatest mosque. It was in this mosque’s dorm that the traveler stayed and listened to the lectures of Koran readers.
Ibn Battuta lived in Damascus for more than 3 weeks and used most of his time meeting teachers and judges. He was able to earn some credentials for his studies to support him in getting a job in India. As much as he would like to study, Ramadan schedule has certain setbacks on Muslim’s daily routine. Moreover, he got sick while living in one of his teacher’s house
Aside from meeting holy men and high officials, he too got married and eventually learned that he became a father. But, divorce came sooner and his child died at age 10 without getting a chance to meet him.
International Festival of Ibn Battuta
In honor of Ibn Battuta as a world traveler, the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta is organizing a celebration to pay tribute to the legacy he left behind in the field of travel and geography. On November 9-12, the group is inviting everyone to join them in the city of Tangier for the second edition of International Festival of Ibn Battuta entitled “Travelers, the Ambassadors of Peace.”
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