Egyptian mummies had a field day recently. And no, it is not that kind of mummies.
Thousands of years after their demise and burials, ancient Egyptian kings got another parade, this time, with all the trappings of modern civilization. It was a multi-million dollar spectacle in Cairo that included a live band, lavishly decorated casket vehicles and street procession, aptly named ‘The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade’. The president was also involved, as he received them personally at the destination.
The occasion was the relocation of 22 royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the newly constructed National Museum of Egyptian Civilization at Fustat. Transported were 18 kings and 4 queens. The distance was about 5 km. The event was broadcast live the government-owned TV stations and social media.
The procession was in the order of their kingships, starting from Seqenenre Taa II. Also among the relocating monarchs were the famed King Ramses II, who had a 67 year reign, Queen Hatshepsut, technically not a pharaoh but reckoned among ancient leaders, Seti I and Ahmose-Nefertari.
Each of the royals got a specially made resplendent vehicle and accompanying motorcade for protection befitting of their status. Their names were emblazoned on the bodies of the vehicles. Also accompanying were war chariots pulled by horses. To guard against harm to the preserved noble bodies, the roads were smoothened for the occasion and the mummies were ensconced in nitrogen-filled containers.
The ancient royals have not always enjoyed first class travel after their deaths. Some of them hitched a ride on boats rather meant for peasants after being moved out of their tombs and suffered the indignities of passing through paperwork at customs before landing at the Egyptian Museum. But they have soaked in lots of attention as millions of tourists have paid them a visit.
Egypt is hoping the pomp will boost the country’s tourism sector after the ravages of the Corona pandemic and political unrests. The new museum will be opened to the public and the Royal Hall of Mummies, the new resting place of the royal figures, will be available for visits by April 18th.
The President, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, had expressed his excitement on Twitter ahead of the fanfare, posting “With all pride, I look forward to receiving the kings and queens of Egypt after their journey. This majestic scene is new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guardian of this unique civilization extending into the depths of history.”