Freya Stark travelled to many areas of the Middle East, often alone. Frey Stark was an explorer who lived during a time when exploreers were regarded as heroes.She travelled to distant areas of the Middle East, where few Europeans – especially women – had travelled before. She also travelled extensively in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Nepal and Afghanistan.
Stark was born in Paris in 1893. Although she had no formal education as a child, she moved about with her artist parents and learned French, German and Italian.She entered London University in 1912, but at the start of World War I, she joined the nurse corps and was sent to Italy. After the war, she returned to London and attended the School of Oriental Studies.
Her studies there led to extensive travel in the Middle Studies, enabling her to eventually become fluent in Persian, Russian and Turkish. Stark became well known as a traveller and explorer in the Middle East. She travelled to the Lebanon in 1927 at the age of 33 when she had saved enough money, and while there, she studied Arabic.
In 1928, she travelled bu donkey to the Jebel Druze, a mountainous area in Syria. during another trip, she went to a distant region of the Elburnz, a mountain range in Iran, where she made a map. She was searching for information about an ancient Muslim sect known as the Assassions, which she wrote about in Valley of the Assassins (1934), a classic for which she was awarded a Gold Medal by Royal Geogrpahic Society.
For the next 12 years, she continued her career as a traveller and writer, establishing a style which combined an account of her journey with personal commentary on the people, places, customs, history and politics of the Midle East.