Egypt has staged a spectacular parade to celebrate the transport of their 22 ancient royal mummies to the new home of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization via its capital Cairo.
On Saturday, crowds of 18 kings and four queens gathered for a million-dollar visit to their new resting place on a new kilometer journey (four miles).
Under heavy protection, the mummified remains of the pharaohs and other royalty were transported in a truck equipped with wings and pharaonic designs in a climate-controlled case, an hour’s journey from the previous house of the Egyptian museum.
Vehicles were built to appear like ancient boats so that they could carry dead pharaohs to their graves.
‘What a night’
The “Pharaoh’s Golden Parade” was broadcast live on the country’s state-controlled television and other satellite stations, as well as on official social media.
Salima Ikram, head of the Misrology Unit at the American University in Cairo, told Al Jazeera that the philosophy is very moving.
“Somehow people are very proud of what they see,” he said. “So even though it was very costly, I think the return could be quite good in the long run.”
Archaeologist Nigel Heatherington shared the excitement. “What a nightmare, wonder – just wants to keep you in Egypt,” he told Al Jazeera from Cumbria, UK, after following the online activity.
“When these mummies were first transferred to the museum after the discovery, of course we got the photograph and the rest of it, but it’s not really like testimony. It’s a really memorable event, “said Heatherington.
“You can imagine they’ve been working on it for a long time and I think they’ve removed it – there was a presence but we also felt that everything was done safely; Apparently these were unchanging royal ancestors, so every care was taken.
According to the Ministry of Archeology, most of the mummies belong to the ancient New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt between 1539 and 1075 BC.
Among them was Pharaoh Rams II, one of the country’s most famous pharaohs, and Egypt’s only female pharaoh, the Queen Hatshepsut – who wore a false beard to break the tradition of women playing only a minor role in the royal lineage.
The mummies were originally buried in the King of the Valley about 3,000 years ago and in a secret tomb at the nearby Dyer El-Bahri site. Both regions are near the southern city of Luxor. Tombs were first excavated in the nineteenth century.
After the excavation, the mummies were taken to Cairo by boats that sailed the Nile. Some were displayed in the case of glass, some were preserved.
The remains of the second Ramses were taken to Paris on 19 Ram6 for intensive reconstruction work by French scientists.
‘Proof of Excellence’
The TV parade to create it was part of Egypt’s efforts to attract foreign tourists by promoting ancient monuments.
The tourism industry has been embroiled in political turmoil since the popular uprising of 2011 after the fall of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, and the recent coronavirus epidemic.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi tweeted shortly before taking office, “I look forward to welcoming the King and Queen from Egypt with great pride.”
“Further proof of the greatness of a unique civilization that extends to the depths of this glorious history,”
The parade circled Tahrir Square, where authorities officially unveiled an obelisk and four sphinxes to decorate Cairo’s most famous square.
“Once again, Egypt has shocked the world with an irresistible event,” film star Hussein Fahmy said in an official promotional video.
Once in the new museum, 20 mummies will be on display, and the remaining two will be preserved, the ministry said.