Egypt has relocated its ancient kings and queens, including Ramses II and Hatshepsut, one of the few known female pharaohs, to a new resting place in a grand ceremony designed to showcase the country’s heritage and boost tourism.
The convoy of golden trucks that moved through the streets of Cairo on Saturday was designed to resemble the ancient boats that once carried deceased pharaohs to their tombs.
The mummies were transported inside climate-controlled capsules filled with nitrogen from the Egyptian Museum to the newly-inaugurated National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in a spectacular ceremony.
As the mummies made the one-hour journey to their new resting place in Fustat, the site of Egypt’s first Islamic capital, the historic event was widely broadcast on TV and online.
The show featured various artistic performances and famous landmarks in an apparent bid to boost tourism, which has stalled during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the procession circled Cairo’s Tahrir Square, an obelisk surrounded by four sphinxes was officially unveiled in the square.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as well as the heads of UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization, welcomed the mummies at their new home, where Egyptologists say they will now be displayed in a more “civilized” and “educated” manner.
In recent weeks, Egypt has experienced a series of unfortunate incidents – including the Suez Canal blockage, a fatal train crash, a garment factory fire, and a deadly apartment building collapse – reanimating the ‘pharaoh’s curse’ myth. However, with the 18 ancient kings and four queens now finally settled in their new home, perhaps that myth can also be put to rest at last.
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