[Dubai] Ibn Battuta Mall!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I am not sure about the rest of the world, but in NZ, a somewhat calm Christmas Day is usually followed by a mad dash to the mall to grab some sweet Boxing Day discounts. If you are not looking to buy anything in particular, it is the best time to avoid malls! Stay home and watch Home Alone 2, or go chill out at the beach. But if not, then brace yourself for some aggressive carpark driving, stress and all to get yourself 40% off LED TVs.

But! At least some malls are designed with interesting details. Like this one in Dubai called the Ibn Battuta Mall.

Now the most famous malls in Dubai are probably the Dubai Mall (situated right where the Burj Khalifa is, and it is the biggest mall in the Emirate), and the Mall of the Emirates (where you can freakin’ ski in the middle of the desert!). But Ibn Battuta is memorable to me because each section of the mall is themed into a certain architectural style.

So much gold in Tunisia Court!
So much gold! I think this is in Tunisia Court, or maybe Andalusia.

The mall is named after a medieval Moroccan traveler who went around a big part of the known world at the time, including North Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Persia and East Africa. For those of you familiar with Chinese history, he kind of reminds me of Zheng He who traveled way beyond China’s sphere of influence and eventually end up somewhere in Zanzibar, and came back to China bringing giraffes and such. Pretty cool. When I travel I just collect fridge magnets, but each to their own, you know?

Persian Court
I think this is still the Persian area, but leading into the Egyptian court.

Anyway, back to the mall. In line with Ibn Battuta’s travels, the mall is divided into different courts: Egypt, India, China, Andalusia (Spain), Persia and Tunisia. If you are so inclined, there are some interesting displays with information about the famed explorer. It’s almost like a museum in a mall.

Hands down the prettiest Starbucks I've ever seen. Persian Court.
Hands down the prettiest Starbucks I’ve ever seen. Persian Court.
Tunisian Court
Faux-outdoor setting in Tunisian court. Just like the Villagio Mall in Doha.
Egyptian Court.
The pyramid is alive with commerce! Egyptian Court.
The Andalusian Court takes you right back to Cordoba.

It’s a bit kitschy I know, and yes this reminds me of the Villagio Mall in Doha that we visited. Maybe it’s a bit of a theme on our trip to the Middle East, sample all the outrageous malls. Our local Sylvia Park mall in Auckland is pretty lame now. But hey, at least now we have Zara and H&M.

Sorry I didn’t include China and India. Personally I found the Chinese court the cheesiest (maybe cultural bias). The Indian court was a bit more minimalist in style compared to the other courts; I think they were trying to channel a Mughal/Taj Mahal sort of vibe there.

You can find more Dubai articles below, thanks for visiting!
[Dubai] The Marina!
[Dubai] Where to find old buildings
[Dubai] That skyline…
[Dubai] Wandering Around the Souks
[Dubai] Abra Across The Water



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