The town of Wasit was in its prime during the medieval period during which Ibn Battuta visited the city. Many scholars debate over the exact origins of the city. It has been determined that it was in the 8th century that the city came to importance because it was the seat of the Umayyad government in Iraq [1]. The city was also important during the Abbasid Caliphate as well. Wasit closely borders Iran, so the city was influenced by Persian styles. Wasit has slowly become a small town with minimal importance, but there are still visitors to the town because of its history and beauty in architecture.

Ibn Battuta visited Wasit on his trip through Persia and Iraq. He noticed how beautiful the city was, and how it flourished with fruit. He believed that Wasit was home to the best people in Iraq, and he noted that almost everyone in the city had memorized the Quran (the holy text for Islam) by heart. However, Wasit was very different than any other city he had been to because of the rituals of the people. They would build fires, do a tribal-like dance, and some would get so excited during this ritual that they would bite the heads off of snakes. Ibn Battuta was almost horrified by this experience so he left quickly and went on to the city of al-Basrah.



[1] Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Online, s. v.¬†“Wasit” accessed July 28, 2012, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/636574/Wasit.