The last parade of the Pharaohs made the Egyptians proud of their country
Twenty-two mummies, 18 kings and 4 queens, were transported from the iconic Egyptian Museum, where most have resided continuously for over a century, to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, a new resting place 5 kilometers away.
In what has been nicknamed the gold parade of the pharaohs, the mummies traveled according to an order of seniority, first the oldest, each aboard a chariot decorated in an antique style. And then half-naked dancers, evocative music, hundreds of figures, fires. All decidedly not archaeologically correct but certainly of great impact.
“The parade made the Egyptians proud of their country,” commented star archaeologist Zahid Hawass, a former Minister of Antiquities known as the Indiana Jones of Egypt. But the event, accompanied by 21 salvos of honor and fireworks, was also aimed at the outside, to attract to Egypt those millions of tourists who admire its beauties every year and that Covid has held for more than a year far away. For those who followed it in live streaming, it was better than a Romero film: the dead returned in procession through the streets of Cairo.
Once at the National Museum the royal mummies will be subjected to restoration for about 15 days in the museum’s state-of-the-art laboratory. They will be prepared for their installation inside the new display cases at the Royal Mummies Hall, decorated to resemble the Valley of the Kings, the area in southern Egypt that houses the original royal tombs. Before the arrival of the mummies, the wing, which will open to the public from April 18, was visited by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi and the director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azulay, accompanied by the Minister of Tourism Khaled Al Anani.
A pharaonic-style event. They promised it, and so it was. Also, from a timing point of view: from the announced 40 minutes, with a direct game slightly delayed, the Pharaohs Golden Parade went on for quite a while, ending after well over an hour. Seven-five minutes during which the streets of Cairo were transformed into the set of a film about Ancient Egypt as the mummies of eighteen pharaohs and four queens passed by at sunset on chariots escorted by guards on horseback.
An event with a high-sounding name, the “Golden Parade of the Pharaohs”, with a blockbuster atmosphere, followed on the official YouTube channel of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism and the Experience Event YouTube Channel by thousands of enthusiasts all over the world despite the psychosis of curse that had spread on social media in recent days after a train accident in the center of the country with dozens of deaths, the collapse of a building in Cairo that killed 18 people and the incredible blockade of the Suez Canal due to the silting up of the Ever Given. One misfortune after another that the most superstitious had related to the transfer of royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, on the south-eastern outskirts of the Egyptian megalopolis.
And, instead, everything went without incidents, albeit with the limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic that minimized the presence of the public on the Nile. Yesterday, the last of the ships was still in queue for the closure of the waterway crossed the Suez Canal. The mummies were found in Luxor in two different expeditions, in 1881 and 1898, and almost all date back to the time of the New Kingdom, from 1539 to 1075 BC.
Among them are prominent figures of Egyptian civilization such as King Seqenenre, who started the war of liberation against the Hyksos; Queen Hatshepsut, to whom the magnificent temple of Deir Al-Bahari is dedicated on the west bank of the Nile, facing Luxor; Ramses II, the great pharaoh of the New Kingdom.