The Man Who Walked Across the World

The Man Who Walked Across the World

Ratings: 8.28/10 from 67 users.

The Man Who Walked Across the WorldSeries of documentary travelogues in which Tim Mackintosh Smith follows in the footsteps of 14th Century Moroccan scholar Ibn Battutah, who covered 75,000 miles, 40 countries and three continents in a 30-year odyssey. Beginning in north Africa, Tim visits Battutah's birthplace of Tangier in Morocco, and stumbles on a performance of medieval trance music. In Egypt, he goes to a remote village where Battutah had an astonishing prophetic dream and visits the world's oldest university in Cairo.

In Turkey, Tim watches an illegal whirling dervish ceremony, and in the Taurus mountains he meets the last of the Turkoman nomads. He chats to Tatars in Crimea, while in Delhi he watches a Muslim magician performing the Indian rope trick.

He explores the place of Islam in Hindu-dominated India and communist China, and tells the story of the Islamic trade empire of the 14th century. In China, he meets a clan who trace their ancestry back to Arabs, and witnesses an illegal Arabic lesson. Episodes: Wanderlust, Magicians and Mystic, and Trade Winds.

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8 years ago

There is only one religion. It is neither islam, or Christianity, or Buddhism, Or Hindu, or any of the other sectarian, packages of narrow focus, and absolutist dogma, that breed only judgement, illusions of superiority, ignorance, conflict, disease, sadness, and death. The one, and only religion is one where all strangers are greeted with dignity regardless of their language, skin color, background, wealth, poverty, or affliction.

Every human being should be granted the right to travel to the limits of their wishes, and abilities. This travel should be supported by all of us spending with the same zeal as the expenditures on armaments. If every human being could sit, and drink tea with someone from the other side of the planet, there would be no talk of war, and hatred of individuals, because they are from one country, or another. The natural reaction becomes one of sameness, brotherhood, and good wishes. I pity those that never get to see what I have seen. It has cost me dearly in terms of lifetime material wealth, but the riches of my memories, and the depth of my understanding is so profound it can only be described as the treasure of the ages. Don't wait, don't waste your precious life. Go now, and swim in the ocean of humanity. Feel the sweat on your brow, in the rainforest among the bugs. Climb the hills, and breath Charas with the holy men of the hills, of Nepal, Glide the coffee waters of the ancient Mekong in a wooden canoe, walk the markets in the little villages where people have farmed the land for 50,000 years. When you do this, your mind expands to paint a giant mural of memories that will last your entire lifetime. When you return to your home you will find it has grown to encompass the earth. Teach the children to do the same so they don't waste their lives on foolish pursuits that yield nothing of lasting value.

8 years ago

Ohh! the times when arabic people focused on exploring and researching... then ISLAM became so insecure.

10 years ago

This documentary is one of those rare gems. I love the host, he is so knowledgeable and such a lovable kook.

My favorite quote from him so far, "Habiba, it looks as though you've emasculated five rams just for my delectation." Classic

It should be noted that in part 2 the word siddhi is translated as 'black magic' which is absolutely wrong and oddly out of place in a documentary which strives so hard to be culturally sensitive.

10 years ago

I am so liking this video!

11 years ago

great, 1/3 of the way so far. i'm also looking for marco polo documentaries, cause i recently read il milione and was astounded by it. i read about ibn battuta in some magazine, and plan to also get his text, rihla.


come on, lady. even if tim is effeminate, you should marry him all the same. that would be much more preferable to him, jaja, and that would show you are dead serious about it.

amine laaguidi
11 years ago

Iam Moroccan and i was amazed by watching this thanks for sharing it

11 years ago

Tim Mackintosh Smith if you are straight, will you marry me?

11 years ago

thumbs up! great job! lots of good time waching!

12 years ago

Fasinating travelogue containing much historical information . The traveller is much like Marco Polo.

12 years ago


Uh... the US Constitution was 1787. 224 years ago.

ibnu batuta
12 years ago

''Now there is only side of the Earth left, My Grave''
by Ibnu batouta.

12 years ago

I have travelled alot just like Ibn Battutah. I can understand how he felt. I am fascinated with the silk road and trading posts of the past.

It is so funny how people think of other nationalities as one solid ethnic group and see no diversity with the country. It really kills me when people say that can they the difference between Asians. It is impossible to really even understand the vastness of one country let alone 40 different countries in Asia. There are at least 50 ethnic minorities in China plus undistinguished ethnic groups too. We usually see people from different countries as a stereotype due to our arrogant and ignorant mind, instead of a beautiful tapestry of the history.

I`m sure that Battuta never thought that he would create his own ethnic group in China. The legacy of it is amazing. I have been to the Muslim and Jewish communities in China. It is fascinating. I have also seen the cave communities in China. When they say people live in caves, you just assume it is some dark small cave. NOT.

Watching this documentary really blows your mind! If you really want to see the rest of the world, we need to get off our asses and go find knowledge. It is not going to happen if we just sit here in front of computers waiting for it to happen. Believe me, all these adventures happen because we take chances. I miss the lifestyle of being a global nomad. Power to those who travel and expand their minds to the real world out there. It really breaks down the ignorance and helps us celebrate who we are. The more you travel, the more you learn about yourself not just the world.

12 years ago

Thank you, excellent stories and I loved learning about Ibn Battuta. I was fascinated years ago with the travels of Marco Polo and this documentary added a whole new dimension. If not for the environmental damage of Industrialization, Id say, perhaps not so much has changed after all. The spice and silk trade routes, the bartering of slaves, rise and fall of rulers and wealth building elite - only the names have changed...hmmm

12 years ago

"I just hope that those people here who made xenophobic or morally presumptuous comments are alive to be crushed under Chinese boots."

lol, I laughed so hard man. But your right, every 1 has a go. its only fair.

great doc, interesting life.

12 years ago

Only travel can teach. Every g8 man/woman of relegion or politics has travelled to gain knowledge.
On the whole a very good documentary......

12 years ago

This was an amazing doc. I really enjoyed watching it. Thanks Vlatko.

12 years ago

our Ibn sounded like a right western playboy, loved power wealth and fame (and women), not so different after all. Good doco, thanks.

13 years ago


Did you babblers even watch this doc? Try watching it before hand. This was agreat doc not about religion nor polotics.

13 years ago

Abbul the U.S. Constitution was written a good 3 centuries before the Madani.

13 years ago

Great documentary! It inspired me to write about Ibn Battuta on my blog. Thanks for sharing.

13 years ago

Realy a great piece of wok.....
after a very long time I came across such a wonderful documentary movie.....

Jamie 101
13 years ago

Islam had its golden age, the West has had two and we are now on the cusp of China's third golden age. Although this is a simplistic statement (China has many problems to overcome, the West is still fairly dominant etc...) I think that it pretty much sums up the situation. I just hope that those people here who made xenophobic or morally presumptuous comments are alive to be crushed under Chinese boots.

13 years ago

this is probably one of my favorites. what a full life he had . thats sort of what id do if i had the money.just travel and try to experience as many cultures 1st hand as possible. ...... i liked the part where people were using dudes temple as toilet LMAO---- I love ironic humor in life

Abbul Waheed
13 years ago

"Whilst what you say is true and is very much the downside of western culture. At least we attempt equality of the sexes and to observe the rights of children." false

The west gave women there banking rights to have a separate account not linked to her husbands in the 1960s, animal rights is a relatively new notion in the west. Islam gave women there rights in the 7 century,and there are books that are a thousand years old that deal with animal rights to. The Islamic books are filled with equality,between sexes and rights of all people.

How come this is not highlighted by the media,even the US constitution was formed on the Madani constitution.This is a historical fact.

Omar Farhane
13 years ago

This documentary was awesome !!! Thanks a lot for that

13 years ago

Mkenzy - Now now.

Whilst what you say is true and is very much the downside of western culture. At least we attempt equality of the sexes and to observe the rights of children.

We have societies to protect animals too, which is a form of integrity and an advanced evolved state.

And our technology, well, we're exchanging views by virtue of a technology which allows you to make neighbours of the entire planet.

All that aside, what a thoroughly enjoyable documentary this is. I completely enjoyed learning about this fascinating Maroccan traveller who now has a place in my heart.

I also feel a lot more relaxed about Islam. It is true, most believers are peaceful, thoughtful creatures.

How incredible to see the African dancers in India. I long to do some more travelling now.

We all can learn from each other. We are one after all.

Peace and love and inspiration is our right.

13 years ago

LOL'd SOOO hard at the "me" comment, then the "mkenzy" response... cant stop laughing lol wow... "Its great that they do not have to stage dark ages! ;D " comedy gold ... but otherwise this is a great 3 part bbc4 series. the best as usual.

13 years ago

Are you trying to be funny? because the west is in pretty much a Grey age. People work like robots, require intoxicants to socialise and sit in front of a square box getting brainwashed the rest of the Time. You can't even talk to your neighbours anymore...says a lot about the advancements in the west.

13 years ago

Its great that they do not have to stage dark ages! ;D