Ibn Battuta was a young law student when he decided the time was right for him to make the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are urged to make as part of their faith. At the time — 1325 — the journey was a long one made on foot, on camel, on boat and often a combination of all three. Owing to a rebellion, bandits, weather and his own wanderlust, Ibn Battuta's first Hajj took eighteen months; he eventually completed the pilgrim's journey five times, covered the breadth of the Muslim empire and Southeast Asia and didn't return home for 30 years. Journey to Mecca, an IMAX film that's part-documentary and part-biography, uses footage of modern Hajji in Mecca and re-creations of events from Ibn Battuta's life to reveal the natural and spiritual beauty of the quest millions of people continue to undertake in order to commune with the divine. Journey to Mecca screens daily through Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at the Saint Louis Science Center OMNIMAX Theater (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org). Tickets are $8 to $9.
Oct. 29-March 31, 2010