In a massive parade, 22 mummies from the dynastic kingdoms of Pharaohs were transported from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, Cairo to a new National Museum of Egyptian Culture in Cairo’s Old City.
The Pharaohs were moved through the streets in specially-made carriers designed to preserve them during the transfer. All the streets along the path upon which the Pharaohs were paraded were completely resurfaced and renovated in preparation for the relocation in order to protect the valuable mummies from damage.
The elaborate ceremony was a demonstration of Egyptian national pride and gave expression to the unique place of Egypt in the Arab world and their connection to ancient cultures long predating Islam. Egyptians do not formally consider themselves Arabs. Though most are Muslims, there is still a large population of Egyptian Christians called “Copts” dating back to the first missionary efforts of the early church.
The multimillion-dollar spectacle saw 22 mummies – 18 kings and four queens – transported to their new resting place 5km (three miles) away.
They were transported with great fanfare in chronological order of their reigns – from the 17th Dynasty ruler Seqenenre Taa II, to Ramses IX, who reigned in the 12th Century BC.
One of the main attractions of the event was King Ramses II, the most famous pharaoh who ruled for 67 years and is remembered for signing the first known peace treaty. He is also considered to be the Pharoah of the Exodus.
Another was Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt even though women were not allowed to become pharaohs.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who welcomed the mummies at the new museum, tweeted: “This majestic scene is evidence of the greatness of this people, the guarding of this unique civilization that extends into the far reaches of history.”