Egypt holds spectacular parade transporting 22 mummies of its most famous pharaohs to museum

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Egypt held a spectacular parade to transport 22 mummies of its most famous pharaohs from central Cairo to their new resting place at a museum.

The ceremony snaked along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, Cairo, where Egypt’s first Islamic capital was located.

The mummies – 18 pharaohs and four other royals – were transported in climate-controlled cases loaded onto trucks decorated with wings and pharaonic design for the hour-long journey from their previous home in the older, Egyptian Museum. 

They were originally buried around 3,000 years ago in secret tombs in the Valley of Kings and the nearby Deir el-Bahri site. Both areas are near the southern city of Luxor. The tombs were first excavated in the 19th century. 

Vehicles are seen during the parade as the Royal mummies are transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, Cairo

Vehicles are seen during the parade as the Royal mummies are transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, Cairo

The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, daughter of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II, advances as part of the parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies departing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square on April 3

The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, daughter of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II, advances as part of the parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies departing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on April 3

A mummy is seen in a video screened during the ceremony. They were originally buried around 3,000 years ago in secret tombs in the Valley of Kings and the nearby Deir el-Bahri site

A mummy is seen in a video screened during the ceremony. They were originally buried around 3,000 years ago in secret tombs in the Valley of Kings and the nearby Deir el-Bahri site

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the ceremony in Cairo, Egypt. He tweeted: 'This majestic scene is a new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guarding of this unique civilization that extends into the depths of history'

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the ceremony in Cairo, Egypt. He tweeted: ‘This majestic scene is a new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guarding of this unique civilization that extends into the depths of history’

A 21-gun salute kicked off the ceremony, accompanied by lights and music. Most of the mummies belong to the ancient New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt between 1539 BC to 1075 BC, according to the ministry of antiquities.

They include Ramses II, one of the country’s most famous pharaohs, and Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s only woman Pharaoh – who wore a false beard to overcome tradition requiring women to play only secondary roles in the royal hierarchy.  

After excavation, the mummies were taken to Cairo by boats that sailed the Nile. Some were showcased in glass cases, while others were stored. The remains of Ramses II were taken to Paris in 1976 for intensive restoration work by French scientists. 

The parade is part of Egypt’s efforts to revive a tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. 

A general view showing the parade at the ceremony. The mummies include Ramses II, one of the country's most famous pharaohs, and Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's only woman Pharaoh

A general view showing the parade at the ceremony. The mummies include Ramses II, one of the country’s most famous pharaohs, and Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s only woman Pharaoh

A marching band is pictured t the start of the parade where 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies departed to their new resting place about seven kilometres south in historic Fustat

A marching band is pictured t the start of the parade where 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies departed to their new resting place about seven kilometres south in historic Fustat

A vehicle is seen during a parade at the ceremony, which snaked along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, where Egypt's first Islamic capital was located

A vehicle is seen during a parade at the ceremony, which snaked along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, where Egypt’s first Islamic capital was located

Royal mummies are transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

Royal mummies are transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

A general aerial view of the parade held to mark the transfer of Royal  mummies to a museum in Fustat, Cairo, Egypt

A general aerial view of the parade held to mark the transfer of Royal  mummies to a museum in Fustat, Cairo, Egypt

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said: ‘This parade is a unique global event that will not be repeated.’

Security is tight in the capital, with authorities closing off major streets and intersections all along the route for the slow-moving vehicles. 

Guards on horses and Egyptian celebrities and signers followed the motorcade.

Movie star Hussein Fahmy said in an official promotional video: ‘Again, Egypt dazzles the world with an unrivalled event.’

An artist is pictured in a chariot while performing during the parade. Guards on horses and Egyptian celebrities and signers followed the motorcade

An artist is pictured in a chariot while performing during the parade. Guards on horses and Egyptian celebrities and signers followed the motorcade

Artists perform near pyramids in a video screened during the ceremony. Movie star Hussein Fahmy said in an official promotional video: 'Again, Egypt dazzles the world with an unrivalled event'

Artists perform near pyramids in a video screened during the ceremony. Movie star Hussein Fahmy said in an official promotional video: ‘Again, Egypt dazzles the world with an unrivalled event’

A mummy is seen during the ceremony. The parade is part of Egypt's efforts to revive a tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak

A mummy is seen during the ceremony. The parade is part of Egypt’s efforts to revive a tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak

A mummy is seen in a video screened during the ceremony. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry are also live-streaming the event on social media platforms

A mummy is seen in a video screened during the ceremony. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry are also live-streaming the event on social media platforms

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the ceremony marking the transfer of the Royal mummies to a museum in Cairo

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the ceremony marking the transfer of the Royal mummies to a museum in Cairo

Riham Abdel Hakim performs at the ceremony. Once at the new museum, 20 of the mummies will be displayed, while the remaining two will be stored, according to the ministry

Riham Abdel Hakim performs at the ceremony. Once at the new museum, 20 of the mummies will be displayed, while the remaining two will be stored, according to the ministry

Musicians perform during the ceremony. The event began at sunset, and will be broadcast live on the country's state-run television and other satellite stations

Musicians perform during the ceremony. The event began at sunset, and will be broadcast live on the country’s state-run television and other satellite stations

The event began at sunset, and will be broadcast live on the country’s state-run television and other satellite stations. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry is also live-streaming it on social media platforms.

The ‘Pharaohs’ Golden Parade’ began at Tahrir, where authorities officially unveiled an obelisk and four sphinxes to now decorate Cairo’s most famous square.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who welcomed the mummies at the new museum, tweeted: ‘This majestic scene is a new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guarding of this unique civilization that extends into the depths of history.’

Once at the new museum, 20 of the mummies will be displayed, while the remaining two will be stored, according to the ministry.

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