Egyptian mummies paraded through streets – despite fears over ‘pharaoh’s curse’

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A dazzling procession has been held in Cairo as 22 ancient Egyptian mummies were moved to a new museum.

In a parade unlike any other, the mummies – eighteen pharaohs and four queens – were transported from the Egyptian Museum, where they had rested for decades, to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.

Dubbed the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade, the 22 mummies were carried in special climate-controlled trucks filled with nitrogen to ensure they arrived without being damaged.

The vehicles, which had been decorated with wings and fitted with lights for the occasion, took around an hour to make the memorable journey.

Most Egyptians had to watch the parade on their televisions at home because the entire route was closed for security reasons.

The once in a lifetime spectacle included a 21-gun salute and live musical performances from an orchestra.

It comes despite fears over a rumoured "curse of the pharaohs" being unleashed by the move.

Locals on social media had suggested moving the remains would unleash an ancient curse, writes The Telegraph.

They argued that there was a link between the parade and recent disasters – including the blockage of the Suez Canal, a deadly train crash and the collapse of a building in the city.

The parade was attended by Egyptian dignitaries, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who took to Twitter to address the nation.

He said: "This majestic scene is new evidence of the greatness of (the Egyptian) people, the guardian of this unique civilisation that roots back into the depth of history.

"I invite all Egyptians and the whole world to follow this unrivalled event – evoking the spirit of the great ancestors who preserved the homeland and created a civilisation in which all humanity takes pride – to keep on our path that we have started: the path of construction and humanity."

The majority of the mummies were part of the ancient New Kingdom, which ran between 1539 BC and 1075 BC. They include Ramses II, Seti I and Queen Hatshepsut.

Seqenenre Tao, the oldest mummy in the unique collection, was the last king of the 17th Dynasty who ruled in the 16th century BC.

Egypt’s first lady, Intisar al-Sissi, said in a Facebook post that the event "expresses the greatness of the ancient civilisation that provided humanity, and still does, with a unique and diverse legacy, contributing to its progress and prosperity".

Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist from the American University in Cairo said: "By doing it like this, with great pomp and circumstance, the mummies are getting their due.

"These are the kings of Egypt, these are the pharaohs. And so it is a way of showing respect."

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany added: "This parade is a unique global event that will not be repeated."

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said the new museum was chosen to be the new resting place for the mummies because "we want, for the first time, to display (the mummies) in a civilised manner, an educated manner and not for amusement as they were in the Egyptian Museum".

The mummies will go on display in the Royal Hall of Mummies, which opens to the public on April 18.

  • Ancient Egypt

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