The “parade of pharaohs” is scheduled to start at 18:00 local time (17:00 in Lisbon), in chronological order, 18 kings and four queens, each in their carriage, will abandon the museum where they have been for more than a century and change will move to a new home.
The journey will take about 40 minutes, under high police surveillance, to the huge modern building built in recent years in southern Cairo, which is due to open in mid-April.
Pharaoh Seqenenre Taa (16th century BC) of the 17th dynasty opens the parade, which is closed by Ramses IX (3rd century BC) of the 20th dynasty, and the event will be accompanied by musical performances broadcast live on television.
Discovered near Luxor (south) from 1881, most of the 22 mummies have not left the Egyptian museum located in Tahrir Square, in the center of Cairo, since the beginning of the 20th century.
Since the 1950s, they have been displayed alongside each other in a small room, without clear museum explanations.
The mummies will be transported in a package containing nitrogen, in conditions similar to those in the display boxes, and the carriages are equipped with shock absorption mechanisms.
In the new museum, they will be kept in more modern boxes “for better control of temperature and humidity”, explained to the agency France Presse Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University of Cairo, specialist in mummification.
They will be presented next to their sarcophagi, in a decoration reminiscent of the underground tombs, accompanied by a biography and, in some cases, of their ‘scanners’.
“For the first time, the mummies will be presented in a beautiful way, for educational purposes,” Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told AFP, adding that his macabre character has ruled out several visitors in the past.
After years of instability following the popular uprising of 2011, which was a major blow to tourism, Egypt is trying to attract visitors, promoting the NMEC or the Great Egyptian Museum (GEM) near the pyramids of Giza, which must be opened in the coming months.
The GEM will receive the Pharaonic collections from the Cairo museum, including the famous treasure of King Tutankhamun (14th century BC).
Discovered in 1922, the young king’s tomb hid, in addition to his mummy, numerous objects of gold, alabaster or ivory.
And why don’t all mummies stay in GEM? “GEM has King Tutankhamun, the star. If the (other) mummies are not placed in the NMEC, no one will go there, ”replied Hawass.
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