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Royal Mummies Paraded Through Downtown Cairo In Museum Move

The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III advances as part of the parade.
The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III advances as part of the parade.

Twenty-two mummified members of ancient Egyptian royalty passed through downtown Cairo in an awe-inspiring parade on Saturday. The event, which drew fanfare to the country's robust collections of antiquities in an elaborate procession, saw the mummies being relocated from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, about 3 miles away in nearby Fustat.

The spectacle was named The Pharaohs' Golden Parade and comprised 18 kings and four queens, including some of Egypt's most prominent rulers of the past. Among them was King Ramses II, one of Egypt's most famous Pharaohs, who reigned in 12th Century BC. He ruled the New Kingdom for 67 years and was renowned for signing the first known peace treaty, the BBC reported.

The carriages carrying 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies depart from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square on April 3, 2021, during a parade on their way to their new resting place at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
Khaled Desouki / AFP via Getty Images
The carriages carrying 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies depart from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square on April 3, 2021, during a parade on their way to their new resting place at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
Performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costume march at the start of the parade.
Khaled Desouki / AFP via Getty Images
Performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costume march at the start of the parade.
The event was dubbed The Pharaohs' Golden Parade.
Mahmoud Khaled / AFP via Getty Images
The event was dubbed The Pharaohs' Golden Parade.

The royal figures were transported in vehicles specially rigged to carry the remains and a security motorcade surrounded the convoy. Due to the fragility of the preserved pharaohs, they were placed in nitrogen filled boxes for protection. The roads along the route were even repaved to ensure a smooth relocation.

Officials hope the new museum will be a boon for tourism, a lucrative industry for the country that's taken a big hit over years of political turmoil and recently, the pandemic, according to the BBC.

Vehicles were specially outfitted to carry the remains of the pharaohs.
Mahmoud Khaled / AFP via Getty Images
Vehicles were specially outfitted to carry the remains of the pharaohs.
Performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costume wait at the start of the parade.
Khaled Desouki / AFP via Getty Images
Performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costume wait at the start of the parade.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi expressed his excitement via Twitter about the relocation of the mummies. "With all pride, I look forward to receiving the kings and queens of Egypt after their journey," he said. "This majestic scene is new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guardian of this unique civilization extending into the depths of history."

The mummies' new home will be in the Royal Mummies Hall at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Visitors will be welcomed starting April 18, said a Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities news release.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.