Crowds of Egyptians are expected to line the streets to witness a historic procession of their country’s ancient rulers through the capital, Cairo.
The lavish, multi-million-dollar spectacle will see 22 mummies – 18 kings and four queens – transported from the peach-colored, neo-classical Egyptian Museum to their new resting place 5km (three miles) away.
With tight security arrangements befitting their royal blood and standing as national treasures, the mummies are going to be relocated to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in what’s called The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.
They will be 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.
Egypt experienced a pointy rise in Covid-19 infections a year ago, but following a decline within the number of cases and deaths, restrictions on open-air gatherings were later lifted.
One of the main attractions of Saturday’s event is King Ramses II, the most famous pharaoh of the New Kingdom, who ruled for 67 years and is remembered for signing the first known peace treaty.
Another is Queen Hatshepsut or Foremost of Noble Ladies. She became ruler albeit the customs of her time were that ladies didn’t become pharaohs.
Each mummy was going to be carried on a decorated vehicle fitted with special shock-absorbers and surrounded by a motorcade, including replica horse-drawn war chariots.
While ancient mummification techniques originally preserved the pharaohs, for the move they need been placed in special nitrogen-filled boxes to assist protect them against external conditions. Roads along the route have also been repaved to stay the journey smooth.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has done its best to form sure that the mummies are stabilized, conserved, and are packed during a climate-controlled environment,” said Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.
The mummies were discovered in 1881 and 1898 in two caches within the ruins of Thebes, Egypt’s ancient capital – modern-day Luxor in Upper Egypt.
“They have already seen a lot of movement in Cairo and before that in Thebes, where they were moved from their tombs to other sepulchers for safety,” Dr. Ikram pointed out.
While most of the traditional rulers’ remains were brought from Luxor to Cairo via boat on the Nile, a couple of were transported within the first-class carriage of a train.
They were housed within the iconic Egyptian Museum and visited by tourists from around the world for the past century.