Ibn Battuta mall in Dubai – how I learned of a great traveler and enjoyed myself to boot

Ibn Battuta mall in Dubai – how I learned of a great traveler and enjoyed myself to boot

Malls are evil nests of uninspired money hungry executives whose only desire is to suck the life out of our wallets.  If you have been with me for awhile, you will know I dont like them. I dont like their glitz, I dont like their predictable range, their mega department stores, their lack of daylight, their decorations which come up 2-3 months before the holiday in question, and more.

A mall is a mall is a mall…is a mall.

And then, as sometimes happens, I was proven wrong.

Ibn Battuta mall in Dubai is inspired by the extensive travels of the 14th century Muslim Moroccan explorer with the same name. He started on his journey as a 21 year old youngster, predictably headed towards Mecca. But he did not stop there.  Covering most of the Islamic lands of the time, he passed for shorter and longer times through Egypt, Syria, Iraq and throughout the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, up through East Europe, Southern Russia, Mongolia, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and all the way to Beijing in China. Almost 30 years later he came back home on a ship that was transporting hundreds of African slaves.


We all have heard of the merchant Marco Polo, yet, Ibn Battuta was a complete unknown to me. Why?

Ibn Battuta is considered one of the greatest travellers of all time. He journeyed more than 75,000 miles (121,000 km), a figure unsurpassed by any individual explorer until the coming of the Steam Age some 450 years later.

Is it because he was a Muslim traveler? How many other incredible explorers have I not heard of, just because they did not do it for the cross? How much history am I missing as a whole?


The result is a building in which for the first time I was able to enjoy a visit to the mall.  Sectioned in 5 different courts – Andalusia, Persia, India, Egypt and China – each decorated intricately with attention to detail only a rich country like UAE can afford, providing plenty for someone like me, not interested in the outlets around, to see. It is opulent with beautiful main halls, yet with intimate parts, where low ceilings and pavement makes you feel cozy and at ease. For those that are interested, exhibits provide information on Ibn Battuta and his journey.

As far as malls are concerned, this one was a delight. And I gained knowledge as well.

Please, come in.