The streets in Cairo were lit and were filled with excited crowds between the old Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization as 22 mummies conserved through the centuries were taken from the former museum to the latter.
The Saturday night event which Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called an “unrivaled event “, was a procession that was watched across the world. Mummies from the dynasties of old and the famous Egyptian civilization were chauffeured in vehicles flamboyantly designed according to ancient Egyptian chariots.
The parade was dubbed “The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade” and had been in the works at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for about 14 months. A 21-gun salute opened proceedings and the mummies were driven in a nearly two-hour-long event to the new museum in line with “educational and civilization purposes”, according to archeologist Zahi Hawass.
“I invite all Egyptians and the whole world to follow this unrivaled event — evoking the spirit of the great ancestors who preserved the homeland and created a civilization in which all humanity takes pride — to keep on our path that we have started: the path of construction and humanity,” tweeted President El-Sisi.
In all, there were 18 kings and four queens that were moved. Among them were the mummies of King Ramses II, Ramses III, Thutmose I, Seqnen Ra, Hatshepsut Amenhotep I, Amenhotep II, Amenhotep III, Ahmose Nefertari, Merit Amon, Merenptah, Seti I, and Seti II.
For about 120 years, these mummies had been available for tourists at the Egyptian Museum.
Tourism accounts for about 15% of Egypt’s GDP, representing some $11 billion and providing jobs to three million Egyptians. So much of tourist traffic revolves around visits to the pyramids and to museums.