Egypt’s ancient pharaohs parade through Cairo

Egypt’s ancient pharaohs parade through Cairo
Egypt’s ancient pharaohs parade through Cairo

The historical procession went from the mummies’ current resting place, the Egyptian Museum, to its new, and hopefully last resting place, the new national museum of Egyptian civilization, on the other side of Cairo.

The parade is about five kilometers long, and there are strict security measures. Egypt has removed its most stringent corona measures, as the country has not had major outbreaks in a long time.

Both pedestrians and vehicles were closed off from Tahrir Square, where the current museum is located, and the rest of the route the procession will pass.

Shipped in specially built boxes

Each of the mummies will be transported in a specially decorated car, surrounded by uniformed motorcycles and horses with a replica of chariots. The procession is referred to as the pharaohs’ “golden parade”.

During transport, the mummies are also transported into specially made nitrogen-filled boxes, which will protect them from external factors. The authorities have also newly paved the road the parade will follow, to ensure as smooth a transport as possible.

There is a large police force in place to ensure that the procession, referred to as the pharaohs’ “golden parade”, goes smoothly. 18 kings and four queens will be transported on their respective platforms decorated in ancient Egyptian fashion. Photo: Khaled Desouki / AFP

Most of the mummies were discovered between 1881 and 1898 in the ruins of the city of Teben, Egypt’s ancient capital.

“They have already seen their share of movements around Cairo and before that in Thebes, where they were moved from their old tombs to other stone tombs for security reasons,” Egyptology professor Salima Ikram at the American University of Cairo told the BBC.

When the mummies were transported to Cairo in the 1880s, most were transported by boat along the Nile, or by train.

Fear “Pharaoh’s Curse”

Now they will be transported in pomp and splendor to the new museum, which will open later this month. Egyptian authorities hope the museum’s opening could help tourism in the country, which has suffered greatly during the corona pandemic, and even before that, with the political instability in the country over the past decade.

Here, Queen Hatshepsut is transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and will drive the five kilometers to her new home on the other side of the city. Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

The parade has not only been positively received and many have feared that moving the mummies will bring misfortune across the country.

“Death will come with quick wings over those who disturb the king’s peace,” it says, among other things, over the tomb of Tutankhamun, when it was discovered in 1922.

In recent weeks, there have been several accidents in the country, which superstitious critics believe is the curse of the pharaohs.

Last week, several people died in a train accident in Sohag, Egypt, and a little over a week ago, the whole world’s attention was drawn to the Suez Canal, when a container ship got stuck and blocked the canal for all traffic for about a week, which has cost world trade several billion dollars.

There has also been a debate in the country for a number of years as to whether the country’s ancient kings should be displayed in museums or rest in peace in their original tombs.

The procession on Saturday afternoon takes place in chronological order, with the oldest pharaoh Sekenenra Tao II, who ruled southern Egypt about 3,600 years ago, first. The last in the series is Ramses IX, who ruled in the 12th century BC.

Among them are the remains of Ramses II, who ruled for 67 years, and Egypt’s most powerful female pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut.

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