Having waited for more than one month for a nice weather, Ibn Battuta together with a small group embarked on an ocean trip crossing the Black Sea. Terrible storms hit the ship, causing panic but they, fortunately, arrived safely in Kaffa.
Kaffa is an Italian community that has two hundred ships on the dock. It is a place where traders coming from Venice, Genoa, Russia, Egypt etc. resides. Mainly because the majority of those living here are Christians, there was just 1 mosque. The story has it that at the time the Church bell rang, both Ibn Battuta and his friend were insulted! They walked their way up to the upper part of their accommodation and due to anger began the call for Muslim prayer! There were several other Muslims who quickly run to them and attempted to stop them from a possible a religious fight! The following day they carried on to a town with a much bigger Muslim people.
At the Black Sea ports, Ibn Battuta notices the products being traded – timber, salt, grain, fur, honey, and wax. In addition, there are also products imported from Persia and China. Sadly, young slaves can also be seen being traded here.
During this period, the Black Sea ports became a huge portion of trans-regional market networks for more than two thousand years. At present, aside from being a host to modern-day ship routes, (as per the 2013 report from International Transport Workers’ Federation, there were at more than thirty operating merchant seaports in the Black Sea) the region of Black Sea contains oil drill areas. The Black Sea holds massive volumes of oil and gas, most of it in deep water, where a number of companies have begun to explore. Welcoming temperature, stretches of sandy beaches, prehistoric landmarks, vineyards, and well known modern holiday resorts invite travelers to seriously consider the Black Sea coast.
Having reached al-Qiram, the group learned about some great news because Ibn Battuta found out that they were just the right time to carry out the seven hundred mile journey to the Volga River with protection from King of the Golden Horde who has traveled just several days earlier. To catch up, their group bought 3 wagons and animals to pull them. Ibn Battuta took a single wagon for him and a slave woman, with whom he would eventually have another child! The 2nd wagon was intended for his friend, and the third bigger one was meant for his other travel companions and additional slaves. A rich steppe dweller can have 1oo or 200 wagons!
Soon after Genghiz Khan passed away, the Mongol Empire was divided into 4 “khanates” for his sons and grandsons. The north west khanate which includes most parts of the East Europe and Russia was taken by the Golden Horde. But not like the Mongol’s invasion of Persia where they resided in cities and embraced the Persian culture, the Golden Horde maintained their nomad customs on the Russian steppes.
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MohamedDekkak1