A grand parade will transport 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies in specially designed capsules across the capital Cairo on Saturday to a new museum home where they can be displayed in greater splendor.
The convoy transports 18 kings and four queens, mostly from the New Kingdom, from the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, about 5 km southeast.
Authorities are blocking roads along the Nile for the detailed ceremony, which aims to increase interest in Egypt’s rich antiquities when tourism has almost completely stopped due to Covid-19-related restrictions.
Each mother will be placed in a special capsule filled with nitrogen to ensure protection, and the capsules will be carried on strollers designed to rock them and provide stability, said Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass.
“I am glad that the mummies will find a new home in the Civilization Museum, where they will be displayed for educational and civilization purposes, and not for the pleasures they were in the Egyptian Museum,” he said.
“I’m sure the parade will capture the hearts of people everywhere,” Hawass added.
Archaeologists discovered the mummies in two rounds at the complex of residential buildings in Deir Al Bahari in Luxor and in the nearby royal valley from 1871.
The oldest is that of Seqenenre Tao, the last king of the 17th dynasty, who ruled in the 16th century BC. and is considered to have met a violent death.
The parade will also feature the mummies of Ramses II, Seti I and Ahmose-Nefertari.
Fustat was the site of Egypt’s capital during the Umayyad dynasty after the Arab conquest.
“By doing it this way, with great pomp and circumstance, the mummies get their due,” says Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at American University in Cairo.
“These are the kings of Egypt, these are the pharaohs. And this is a way of showing respect.”
( Jowharwith REUTERS)