22 mummies paraded through downtown Cairo in lavish display on way to new museum

22 mummies paraded through downtown Cairo in lavish display on way to new museum
© Islam Safwat/Getty Images

A procession of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies passed through downtown Cairo on Saturday on their way to a new museum three miles away as part of a lavish ceremony to celebrate Egypt's history.

The procession of 18 kings and four queens, called the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade, left the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square around 8 p.m. and went to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, The Washington Post reports. Each of the mummies rode on gold-and-blue vehicles resembling boats, with each vehicle bearing the name of the mummy it carried.

The entire event sought to recreate the trappings of ancient Egypt, with horse-drawn chariots performers dressed like ancient Egyptians. The procession circled around Tahrir Square, the center of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

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The route that the vehicles took was freshly paved, the caskets were filled with nitrogen and the vehicles were fitted with special shock absorbers in order to preserve the ancient remains.

The event had been promoted for months, the Post notes, with Egyptian authorities hoping the transfer of mummies will attract tourists to the country whose economy has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and political chaos.

The event also served as a nationalist event to highlight Egypt's place in history, the Post notes, with President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi presiding over the ceremony. He himself has often been referred to as "a new pharaoh" for his authoritarian rule and ambitious projects.

The majority of Egyptians saw the event on television, the Post reports, and the entire route was closed off for security purposes. Some parts of the event were also pre-recorded with orchestras and singers playing patriotic music and segments dedicated to Egypt's famous temples, mosques and churches.