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January 12, 2007

History students tour Egypt with instructor

Deciding to take a hands-on history lesson, five ULM students accompanied their instructor Monica Bontty, an assistant professor of history, on a visit to Egypt Dec. 18 – 30.

Second-year history students Laurie Walker (Atlanta, Ga.), Jacob Cunningham (Monroe), Holly Johnston (Monroe), and Dan Matraia (Los Angeles, Calif.), along with Rebecca Quattrini (Texas) each paid their own way and received academic credit.

”The students were able to experience one of the oldest cultures in the world,” Bontty said, regarding what was for her the eighth trip to Egypt, but first as a tourist. Her Egyptology work necessitated the previous trips.

After traveling, Bontty and the students began at the Cairo Museum Dec. 20. They viewed the treasures of the pharaoh Tutankhamun and included an afternoon visit to the Citadel of Saladin and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali.

They spent Dec. 21 with a trip to Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. Next, they devoted time to both the pyramids at Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the Great Sphinx of Giza.

On Dec. 22, the group observed the temples of Amun-Re at Karnak and Luxor.

They began Dec. 23 by crossing to the West Bank to visit the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, and the tombs of the nobles.

The ULM group spent Dec. 24 sailing on the Nile towards Aswan.

They visited the temple of Horus of Edfu Dec. 25 and sailed to Kom Ombo for a tour of the temple shared by the two gods Sobek and Haroeris.

Dec. 26 began with a trip to the High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Temple, followed by an afternoon visit to the Nile islands and the area around the Agha Khan Mausoleum by felucca, a narrow and lateen-rigged sailing vessel.

On Dec. 27, the ULM group traveled by air to Abu Simbel, home to the two temples of Ramses II, explored Aswan in the afternoon and returned to Cairo, where on Dec. 28, they visited Coptic Cairo, including the Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue. They finished the day with exploration of the Khan Al Khalili bazaar.

They returned Dec. 29 to Giza and the Cairo Museum before returning to the U.S. Dec. 30.

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