A procession of 22 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 Egyptian history.
The procession of 18 kings and four queens, called the Golden Parade of the Pharaohs, left the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square around 8 p.m. and headed to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, reports the Washington Post. Each of the mummies traveled in gold and blue vehicles that looked like ships, and each vehicle bore the name of the mummy it carried.
The entire event sought to recreate ancient Egyptian ornaments, with horse-drawn chariot artists dressed as ancient Egyptians. The procession circled Tahrir Square, the center of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
The route taken by the vehicles was freshly paved, the coffins were filled with nitrogen, and the vehicles were fitted with special shock absorbers to preserve the ancient remains.
The event had been promoted for months, the Post notes, and Egyptian authorities hoped the mummy transfer would attract tourists to the country whose economy has been hit hard 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 has often been called “a new pharaoh” for his authoritarian rule and his ambitious projects.
Most Egyptians watched the event on television, the Post reports, and the entire route was closed for security reasons. 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.