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The rediscovered footprints of travellers in Egypt and the Near East
Members of the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East ASTENE, founded in 1997, continue to research, hold international conferences, and publish books and essays in order to reveal the lives, journeys and achievements of these less well-known men and women who have made such a contribution to the present day historical and geographical knowledge of this region of the world and who have also given us a better understanding of its different peoples, languages and religions.
The men and women from the past who are written about in this volume are a mixture of the incredibly rich or the very poor, and yet they have one thing in common, the bravery to tackle an adventure into the unknown without the certainty they would ever return home to their families. Some took up the challenge as part of their job or to create a new business, one person travelled to learn how to create and manage a harem at his house in London, others had no choice because as captives in a military campaign they were forced to make journeys into Ottoman controlled lands not knowing exactly where they were, yet every day they were looking for an opportunity to escape and return to their homes, while hoping the next person they met would guide them towards the safest route. Apart from being brave, many of these men and women travellers have something else in common: they and others they encountered have left a collective record describing their travels and their observations about all manner of things. It is these forgotten pioneers who first gathered the facts and details that now fill numerous modern guidebooks, inflight magazines and websites.
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