CAIRO: Cairo stepped back in time on Saturday with a four-hour pharaonic procession as a collection of royal mummies was moved from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.
Laser lights and flashlights were used to decorate the night sky above the capital with the names of 22 pharaoh kings and 17 royal sarcophagi.
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization received the royal mummies of 18 kings and four queens.
In July 2020, 17 royal coffins were taken to the museum.
The royal procession began at 5 p.m. and continued more more than four hours, passing along Cairo’s main roads.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and a group of international figures were in attendance as the mummies were taken inside the museum. The event was also broadcast live on 18 international channels.
The procession set off from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, then passed by the Tahrir Square, before heading to Simon Bolivar Square, and moving along the Nile Corniche in the neighborhoods of Sayyidah Zaynab and Old Egypt.
Festivities included horse parades and performances, while the pharaonic chariots were decorated with the names of 22 famous ancient kings.
Artillery welcomed the parade with a 21-gun salute.
The royal carriages carried famous actors in pharaonic dress, headed by Hussein Fahmy, Sawsan Badr, Asir Yassin and Mona Zaki.
Representatives from archaeological sites in Luxor, Aswan and the pyramids carried messages in different languages inviting tourists to visit Egypt.
Military bands, also dressed in pharaonic costume, played national music and songs led by Nader Abbasi, with a film showing the boom in Egyptian antiquities.
Security was stepped up in Fustat ahead of the royal procession.
Workers began cleaning and decorating the streets surrounding the museum early on Friday, placing roses and trees along the procession route.
In front of the museum, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities installed large gates decorated with pharaonic images and symbols, along with colored lighting as part of the display.
Zahi Hawass, former minister of antiquities, said that the procession of royal mummies will be viewed by people across the world.
The procession “shows the magic of mummies,” he added.
Hawass said that King Seqnen Ra, who led the procession, started the liberation war against the Hyksos, who colonized Egypt for more than 150 years.
Other royal rulers included Ahmose-Nefertari, the queen who married King Ahmose, followed by King Amenhotep I and Thutmose I.
Hawass said that a CT scan on King Thutmose III showed the deceased king had been found wearing gold bracelets.
Khaled Al-Anani, minister of tourism and antiquities, said that the Museum of Civilization tells the story of the Egypt from prehistoric times until the present.
The royal mummies, coffins and a large collection of Islamic antiquities represent a “great gift from Egypt to the world,” he said.
Al-Anani said that the cost of the Great Hall and the Royal Mummies Hall in the National Museum of Civilization exceeded 600 million Egyptian pounds ($38 million), equivalent to half the government funding to complete the stalled archaeological projects.
The total cost of establishing the museum exceeds 2 billion Egyptian pounds, he said.