Welcome to ASTENE

The Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE) was founded in 1997 following two successful international conferences on travellers in Egypt and the Near East at the University of Durham and the University of Oxford.

Our area of study is Egypt and the Sudan, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and northwards through Iran, Iraq to Turkey, Greece and the Ottoman Balkans, from the earliest times to the mid-20th century.

ASTENE’s activities include the publication of a Bulletin about travellers (three times a year), exhibitions, conferences, study days and other events throughout the world. ASTENE holds biennial conferences and has published several books of conference papers. We organise regular events and trips for members, and in recent years we have organised tours to Cairo, Cyprus, Ireland, Jordan, Sinai, Syria and Albania.

We welcome as members anyone with an interest in and knowledge of our area of study – academics, students and others – and we have members in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Near East, North America and Australia.

For all general enquiries please email us at enquiries.astene@gmail.com or use our contact us page.

Latest ASTENE Book

Journeys erased by time: The rediscovered footprints of travellers in Egypt and the Near East

Available to purchase here

astene book 2019

Find out more

Next ASTENE Publication: Conference Proceedings from 2019:
‘Pious Pilgrims, Discerning Travellers, Curious Tourists’

Our next publication will contain selected papers from our 13th biennial conference (held in York in 2019).

This is hoped to be released by the end of 2020.

We are pleased to now share the contents of this new volume with you and very much look forward to its publication.

‘Pious Pilgrims, Discerning Travellers, Curious Tourists’


Paul & Janet Starkey: ‘Introduction’

1. Jacke Phillips: ‘Pilgrimage as Travel’

2. Paul Starkey: ‘Ibn Jubayr Reconsidered’

3. Janet Starkey: ‘”Gardens of Paradise”’

4. Jan Ciglenečki & Blaž Zabel: ‘”Wady Ghrásheca”: an unknown Christian site in Sir Gardner Wilkinson’s unpublished manuscripts from the Eastern Desert’

5. Jennifer Scarce: ‘Exploring the Ottoman Empire: the travels of Peter Mundy (1597–c.1667) in Turkey, 1617–1620’

6. Ronald E. Zitterdorf: ‘With a radius most accurately divided into 10,000 parts: John Greaves and his scientific survey of Egypt in 1638–1639’

7. Christina Erck: ‘Dimitrie Cantemir, the ‘Orpheus of the Turkish Empire’ (1673– 1723)’

8. Brian J. Taylor: ‘The artist William Page (1794–1872) and his travels in Greece and western Turkey in the first half of the nineteenth century’9. Joachim Gierlichs: ‘Jacob Röser: a Bavarian physician travelling the Ottoman Empire in 1834–1835’

10. Paulina Banas: ‘Publishing with “Modern Taste and Spirit”: competitiveness and
commercialism in a mid-nineteenth-century British illustrated travel book on modern Egypt’

11. David Kennedy: ‘”Mr and Mrs Smith of England”: a tour to Petra and east of Jordan in 1865’

12. Angela Blaschek: ‘Anton Prokesch-Osten Jr (1837–1919)’

13. Mladen Tomorad: ‘William Wing Loring, George Brinton McClellan and Ulysses S. Grant: American Civil War Generals in Egypt during the 1870s’

14. Terence Walz: ‘Consular Agents and Foreign Travellers in Upper Egypt in the nineteenth century’

15. Sylvie Weens: ‘A Luxor Room with a View at Pagnon’s Hotels’

16. Ernst Czerny: ‘Richard A. Bermann, the desert and the Mahdi: an Austrian writer’s fascination with Egypt and the Sudan.’

17. Rebecca Bruce: ‘Unlawful Acts and Supernatural Curses: the fictional traveller in Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903)’



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