Egypt parades royal mummies in show of pharaonic heritage

A convoy of vehicles transporting royal mummies is seen in Cairo on Saturday

Twenty-two pharaoh mummies walked the streets of Cairo on Saturday evening in a stunning royal procession from the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in Fustat., marking the official launch of NMEC.

The ceremony, created to showcase the country's rich heritage, snaked along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square, to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the Fustat neighborhood, where Egypt's first Islamic capital was located.

"It is a new museum with a new technology that presents a new Egypt", the professor said, referring to the newly-opened NMEC. Tourism has nearly entirely stalled because of COVID-19 related restrictions.

As the royal mummies arrived at the museum, which was officially inaugurated Saturday, cannons fired a 21-gun salute. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi stood by as the mummies filed past on vehicles bedecked with golden pharaonic motifs.

The heads of the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization were also present at the ceremony.

The mummies of the kings and queens who died more than 3,000 years ago will be moved from their decades-long residence in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

Each mummy will be carried in a specially-designed glass capsule with shock-absorbers so the ancient royals won't get damaged during transportation, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Reuters.

Egypt: 22 mummies move to new museum in grand parade
Egypt gears up for pharaohs' 'Golden Parade'

To celebrate the opening of the mummies and central exhibition hall at the the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, the Chairman of the "Kenouz Egypt Factory for Archaeological replicas" Hisham Shaarawy announced a 20 percent discount on all company products until May 5.

Numerous mummies on display had made an arduous journey to Saturday's parade after being exhumed from the Deir El-Bahari cachette in Luxor's West Bank in 1881.

The 18 kings and four queens will be transported in chronological order of their reigns, starting with Seqenenre Tao, the last king of the 17th Dynasty, who reigned in the 16th century BC and is thought to have met a violent death.

They will include Seti I, who died in 1279 BC, Ahmose-Nefertari, and Ramses II, the most famous pharaoh of the New Kingdom and remembered for signing the first-ever known peace treaty.

Fustat was the site of Egypt's capital under the Umayyad dynasty after the Arab conquest.

The 22 royal mummies of the Pharaoh's Golden Parade were discovered in two cachettes, the first of which was unearthed in 1881 and the second in 1898, both in Upper Egypt's monument-rich province of Luxor. "And so, it is a way of showing respect", Ikram added.

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