After completing his travels, Ibn Battuta returned home to Morocco, where the sultan of Fez was so entertained by his adventures, he hired him a ghostwriter to record them for posterity. Ibn Battuta had travelled for almost 30 years, throughout the Islamic world as far as Sumatra and Zanzibar, and visiting each of the great Mongol khanates. He managed the royal mausoleum for the sultan of Delhi, then after being appointed to lead a mission to China, absconded to the Maldives. There, he acquired five wives and worked as a judge. He finally made it to China, visiting Hangzhou, where ‘even the beggars wore silk’. Like Ibn Jubair, Cairo impressed him, with its ‘peerless beauty’ as did the ‘paradise’ Damascus. More unexpectedly, he was also impressed by the heaving trade emporia of Mogadishu and New Sarai. Interspersed in his travels were repeated pilgrimages to Mecca – and many more wives.
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