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Trip List by viviandarkbloom

In the Footsteps of Freya Stark

Apr 12, 2006  Amateur explorer
4.0 of 5 stars based on 7 votes

Freya Stark (1893-1993) was a woman who dared to do what few men of her class and generation dared do: In the 1920s and 1930s, her extensive travels throughout the Middle East lead her into remote and dangerous areas of Syria and Arabia (more specifically, the infamous Valley of the Assassins). That she underwent these journeys alone (usually accompanied by an interpreter) is a remarkable achievement. Stark wrote several books detailing her journeys around the world, and in her day achieved no small amount of celebrity. Today she is widely regarded as one of the best-known explorers of the twentieth century.

  • 1. Lebanon
    Lebanon, Middle East

    After a cosmopolitan upbringing (birth in Paris, raised in London, living in Italy), Stark made a big leap by moving to Lebanon, thus beginning what would become a career as an explorer and writer--an unorthodox choice at the time, for a woman.

  • 2. Old City, Damascus
    Old City, Damascus, Syria

    Before her audacious foray into Syria's Valley of the Assassins, Stark lived with a native family for some time in Damascus, in the Old City section.

  • 3. Aden, Yemen
    Aden, Yemen

    Stark's wonderings through southern Arabia and Persia (now Iran) came to an abrupt halt during World War II. However, the Allieds found good use for Stark's language skills and strong relations with the Arab people: She was employed by Britain's Ministry of Information as a propagandist. Aden was one of the cities where she conducted her work during the war.

  • 4. Cairo, Egpyt
    Cairo, Cairo Governorate

    Cairo was also one of Stark's bases during World War II, where she continued her work for Ministry of Information. Eventually she built up an impressive network of 100,000 natives of the region willing to fight for the Allieds.

  • 5. Antalya, Turkey
    Antalya

    After the war, Stark's traveling focus moved a bit westward. Over the course of twenty years, she took several trips to Turkey--areas of the south and western part of the country that even today remain rough and tumble. On one such journey she traced the path of Alexander the Great and passed through this remote region of Turkey.

  • 6. Cyprus
    Kyrenia, Kyrenia District

    Stark mixed in her extensive travels to Turkey along with many trips to Greece and Cyprus as well, including several to this area of northern Cyprus, where she spent time at the Greek Monastery of Apostolos.

  • 7. The Italian Riveria
    Italian Riviera, Liguria

    Stark's father had left her property in Italy, in the rown of Asolo, and for most of her life her villa in this remote and beautiful hillside Italian town served as her home base (as it did frequently did for other members of her family as well).