Ibn Battuta Mall is the world's largest single story themed shopping mall, designed to celebrate the travels of the famous 14th Century Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta. The project was completed in early 2005; there are over 275 retailers, 50 restaurants and food outlets and 21 cinema screens including the only IMAX theatre in the United Arab Emirates.
The six main "courts" in the Mall are named after the countries and regions to which Ibn Battuta travelled. The Chinese Court displays typical Chinese interior elements and motifs and a replica of an old style Chinese sailing ship with a built in stage for social activities; there is also a model of one of the Treasure ships of Admiral Zheng He, a contemporary of Christopher Columbus along with other displays. The Indian Court showcases and exhibits cultural elements of the Indian subcontinent. Its centrepiece is a full-size working reproduction of an Elephant Clock, an Islamic invention consisting of a water-powered clock in the form of an elephant. The Persian court features extensive Persian motifs and a wonderfully decorated domed ceiling in the Persian Style, with a Starbuck's café in the lounge below.
The Egyptian Court has decorated walls and columns in the old Egyptian style, complete with hieroglyphics, but also a display of Muslim scholars with navigational instruments; the Tunisian Court features wonderful decorations and the Andalusian Court, from the time of Muslim Spain, has a Lion Fountain, modelled on the famous fountain in the Alhambra of Granada. Ibn Battuta Mall is a spectacular place to visit.