Home Entertainment Ahmed Ibn Fadlan’s Travel in a New Documentary

Ahmed Ibn Fadlan’s Travel in a New Documentary

Ahmed Ibn Fadlan’s Travel in a New Documentary
New documentary on Ibn Fadlan's Travel
Al Jazeera Documentary TV Channel began broadcasting its latest film series entitled ‘The Travelers’, presenting the biographies and literary books of the most prominent travelers in Islamic civilization

Cairo Correspondent

At the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan this year, Al Jazeera Documentary TV Channel began broadcasting its latest film series entitled ‘The Travelers’, presenting the biographies and literary books of the most prominent travelers in Islamic civilization, such as Ibn Battuta, Ibn Fadlan, Sharif Al-Idrisi, Ibn Jubayr, and others, highlighting the most prominent Arab and Muslim travelers who discovered important land and sea places on planet Earth.

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The travel map

Each episode of the series will discover the geographical and social background of the travelers and travel back through their adventures across time and space to learn about the importance of the regions and worlds they passed through and the most important events they wrote about in order to document this information for future generations. These travelers were a mixture of anthropologists and geographers, as we know them today.

The TV launched its series – which combines interviews with specialists, acting scenes, graphic arts and animation – with two parts devoted to Ahmed bin Fadlan’s message.

The film hosted speakers Dr. Tonika May Ovham, researcher in history and classical studies, Aarhus University, Denmark, Dr. Kurt Velds Jones, Professor of Medieval History, Stockholm University, Sweden, Dr. Abdel Rahman Salem, Professor of History and Islamic Civilization, Cairo University, Dr. Khawla Shakhatra, Professor of Literature and Criticism, Jadara University, Jordan, Egyptian critic and literary historian Ahmed Karim Bilal, as well as journalist, novelist, poet and traveler Ashraf Aboul-Yazid, President of the Asia Journalist Association.

Ashraf Aboul-Yazid revealed the secret of the rare map that he discovered when he visited the Ibn Fadlan Museum in the city of Bulgar on the left bank of the Volga River. Today the city is the administrative center of the Spassk region and its smallest city. The city is 140 kilometers away from the capital, Kazan. Its area is 116 square kilometers and its population is more than 9 thousand people. Within sight are the ruins of the ancient historic city of Bulgar, the capital of the Volga Bulgar state.

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Tatar girls at Bulgar on the Volga

For the current city of Bulgar, it was founded in 1781 and was called the town of “Spassk” at that time. From 1935 until 1991, it was called Kuibyshev. Today, with the restoration of Islamic identity, Bulgar has become like the historical capital that was established in the tenth century, as it was mentioned in historical records written by Al-Balhi, the Arab traveler and geographer in the year 920 AD, and in the year 922 AD, the caravan of Ibn Fadlan arrived from Baghdad.

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Having local sweets of Shakshak

On the map, the cities of the Islamic Caliphate in and around Baghdad were called Arabstan, and the caravan’s direction appears to the east in Bukhara (currently in Uzbekistan) before it resumes its journey to the northwest. The map was published to accompany a trip taken by Ashraf Aboul-Yazid to the Volga Bulgarians, where Tatar women received the guests of their country in costumes of the colors of the sky in Bulgar on the Volga River, and they performed traditional movement paintings, and the girls also presented Shakshak sweets and hot bread. There is no doubt that the King of Saqalba had feelings for Ahmed bin Fadlan when the four kings he ruled went out with his brothers and sons to receive the delegation with food from the Volga Bulgarians.

The museum is built in the form of an independent dome, and this shape is inspired by documented ancient architecture, and inspired by works of fine art and lithography. It is a revival of the first architecture whose traces remain. It seems that the domes (pile, wood, and stone) were known.

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Ashraf Aboul-Yazid before the painting carpet of Ibn Fadlan’s arriving at Bulgar on the Volga River

Ibn Fadlan says in his journey: When he saw us, he descended and fell down, prostrating, in thanks to God, the Almighty, and he had dirhams in his sleeve, so he scattered them on us, and he erected domes for us, so we descended upon them.

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The film Guests

The journey for Al Jazeera Documentary film was written by Medhat Kassab, directed by Hani Farid, the animation was carried out by the artist Ahmed Noah, and Amer Mahmoud participated in the graphic work. The voiceover was by Waddah Al-Marisi, the director of photography for the drama scenes, who was the artist Bishoy Atef.

Read: Passenger to Teheran: A 1926 Travelogue




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