Twenty-two mummified members of ancient Egyptian royalty passed through downtown Cairo in an awe-inspiring parade on Saturday, the mummies being relocated from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, about 3 miles away. The spectacle was named The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade and comprised 18 kings and four queens. The move included Ramses II, the longest reigning pharaoh, and Queen Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s few female pharaohs.The royal figures were placed in nitrogen filled boxes for protection and were transported in vehicles specially rigged to carry the remains.
Officials hope the new museum will be a boon for tourism. Visitors will be welcomed starting April 18. The hall has been designed so that visitors will experience the illusion of being in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi expressed his excitement via Twitter about the relocation of the mummies. It was a made-for-TV spectacle with fanfare and a 21-gun salute. Plastic screens at least 10 feet tall were mounted on scaffolding. The spectacle underlined the economic and social divisions in Egypt’s capital. Many of those who gathered were met by police barricades and turned back.“There is a tendency to try to show a better picture instead of fixing the existing reality,” Ahmed Zaazaa, an urban planner, said of the government’s public image efforts. Two security officers confirmed that no one would be allowed to leave nearby neighborhoods during the parade, or to step onto the street to watch.