Journey to Mecca tells the story of Ibn Battuta (played by Chems Eddine Zinoun), a young scholar who leaves Tangier in 1325 on an epic and perilous journey, traveling alone from his home in Morocco to reach Mecca, some 3,000 miles to the east.
Ibn Battuta is besieged by countless obstacles as he makes his way across the North African desert to Mecca. Along the route he meets an unlikely stranger, the Highwayman (played by Hassam Ghancy) who becomes his paid protector and eventual friend. During his travels he is attacked by bandits, dehydrated by thirst, rescued by Bedouins, and forced to retrace his route by a war-locked Red Sea.
Ibn Battuta finally joins the legendary Damascus Caravan with thousands of pilgrims bound for Mecca for the final leg of what would become his 5,000-mile, 18-month journey to Mecca.
When he arrives in Mecca, he is a man transformed. We then experience the Hajj as he did over 700 years ago, and, in recognition of its timelessness, we dissolve to the Hajj as it is still performed today, by millions of pilgrims, in some of the most extraordinary and moving IMAX footage ever presented.
Ibn Battuta would not return home for almost 30 years, reaching over 40 countries and revisiting Mecca five more times to perform the Hajj. He would travel three times farther then Marco Polo. His legacy is one of the greatest travel journals ever recorded. A crater on the moon is named in his honor. Narrated by Ben Kingsley.
Bonus features: Roads to Mecca; intereviews and behind the scenes footage.
Huge disappointment. I am a history teacher and avid traveler who has been a fan of Ibn Battuta's since i first read about him. So, with a subject that traveled for 29 years in the middle ages from Morocco to China and back, what does NatGeo do? As if his visits and adventures in what is now 40 modern countries aren't enough, they consume more than half the 45 minutes with a fictional encounter with a Bedouin bandit who becomes his Protector/Mentor. Why go Hollywood and give us cliches? The man saw and experienced so much there is material enough for a dozen of these DVDs! The only use I will be able to make of this for my class is to snip video footage or maybe use the Mecca scenes. I expect better history from National Geographic!
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
A simple story of a great pilgrim that traveled over 5000 miles as his Hajj and then went onto China and the rest of the world for thirty years. The celebration of Abraham and Ishmel plus the handmaiden Hagar of Sarah is shown and briefly described. Special rites of throwing pebbles at the symbolic Satan and honoring Sarah with the running between two hills. The Hajj is the least understood of the followers of Islam and is delicately and truthfully presented with one of the greatest and most venerated pilgrims of Islam.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend