Thursday, July 02, 2009

This Weekend: Trek across distant lands in Journey to Mecca

Trek across distant lands in Journey to Mecca
Travel with Ibn Battuta on his famed historic voyage - in IMAX

HOUSTON—Cross through time and thousands of miles of perilous desert in Journey to Mecca, opening July 1, 2009 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science Wortham IMAX® Theatre. Journey alongside Ibn Battuta, the famed Muslim traveler who ventured three times farther than Marco Polo, on an expedition made almost 700 years ago: his pilgrimage to Mecca. Venture into the most sacred sanctuary of Islam, the Grand Mosque – on the IMAX screen, the closest non-Muslims may come to witnessing this extraordinary event.

Journey to Mecca tells the story of Ibn Battuta, a young scholar who leaves Tangier in 1325 on an epic and dangerous journey, traveling alone from his home in Morocco to reach Mecca, some 3,000 miles across the North African desert. Battuta would not return home for almost 30 years, visiting over 40 countries, returning to Mecca five times to perform the Hajj and creating one of the greatest travel journals ever recorded. His perilous journey resonates with adventure while presenting an unforgettable picture of Islamic civilization during the 14th century.

The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca that now draws three million Muslims from around the world annually, who come to practice rituals that have taken place for over 1,400 years. In Journey to Mecca, experience the Hajj as Ibn Battuta did over 700 years ago, as well as the Hajj as it is still performed today.

Journey to Mecca was created not just as a documentary about Ibn Battuta’s first Hajj but also as a bridge between the Muslim and Western worlds, built to help develop an understanding of the Hajj and of its ultimate purpose – peace.

In conjunction with the film, the Islamic Dawah Center of Houston presents Sultans of Science. This unique traveling exhibition examines Muslim scholars’ contributions to science and technology, from the explorers of the Middle Ages to Muslim engineers, astronomers and much more.

Now showing in IMAX: Under the Sea 3D, an underwater adventure that transports audiences to uniquely exotic locations for face-to-face encounters with some of the ocean’s most mysterious and unusual creatures. More information on the film is available online at

See more, hear more, feel more in IMAX®. Tickets for Journey to Mecca in the Wortham IMAX® Theater are $11 for adults; $9 for children (3-11), seniors (62+) and students with a valid college ID; and $8 for groups of 20 or more. For tickets, visit or call 713-639-4629.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, and the Wortham IMAX® Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at One Hermann Circle Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.