The Travels of Ibn Battuta to Central Asia

The original Travels of Ibn Battuta ranks high amongst the masterpieces of Arabic geographical literature and is of great significance in the understanding of the history of the peoples inhabiting the Central Asian states. In 1325, Ibn Battuta, a traveler and adventurer from Tangiers, embarked on an extraordinary journey via Mecca to Egypt, East Africa, India, and China and returned some thirty years later to write about his experiences.

Ibrahimov Nematulla Ibrahimovich details the life and travels of Ibn Battuta to give the reader an idea of the extent of the adventures and also to provide insights into the remarkable traveler himself. He then chronicles both lay and learned opinion over the centuries with regard to the amazing yet controversial journey, revealing the doubt that existed towards the authenticity of the tales: were they simply a fantastic invention or were they real experiences? To illustrate his argument, Ibrahimovich then selects a passage from The Travels concerning Central Asia and provides extensive historical and philological commentary and notes on the passage in an effort to persuade the reader of the authenticity of the tales and their value in helping us understand the peoples of Central Asia in the fourteenth century.

Ibrahimov Nemattula Ibrahimovich was born in Uzbekistan and had a distinguished career at Tashkent State University, first as professor, then as Chair of Arabic Philology, and finally as Dean of the Oriental Faculty. He later became Rector of Tashkent State Institute for Oriental Studies.