The 3,000-year-old mummified remains of 22 members of ancient Egyptian royalty (18 kings and four queens) were escorted on Saturday under high security from the old Egyptian museum to their new residence – the nation’s state of the art National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC).
The 4-mile, 48-minute highly elaborate “Pharaoh’s Golden Parade” was choreographed and filmed for live-streaming to be watched by Egyptian residents and viewers from all over the world. The multimillion-dollar spectacle included highly ornate horse-drawn chariots – each engraved with the name of the royal body – and designed to appear like ancient boats that were once used to carry deceased pharaohs to their tombs.
Each climate-controlled vessel included special shock absorbers to protect the honored royal figure, who had been placed inside of a sealed nitrogen-filled case. The carriages were escorted by hundreds of performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costumes. Along the entire route, roads and bridges were closed and under high security.
The parade was part of an effort by Egypt to attract foreign visitors with hopes to revive Egypt’s hard-hit tourist industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the mummies belonged to the ancient New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt between 1539 BC to 1075 BC, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.
The oldest rulers were first in the procession, starting with Seqenenre Tao, the last king of the 17th Dynasty, who reigned in the 16th century BC. The convoy also included two of the most well-known ancient Egyptian rulers – Ramses II, often acknowledge as the greatest pharaoh and Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled at a time when female pharaohs were uncommon. The last carriage contained remains of Pharaoh Ramses IX from the 12th century BC.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi presided over the ceremony. “With great pride, I look forward to welcoming kings and queens from Egypt after their trip,” he posted on Twitter shortly before the proceedings took place. “This grandiose spectacle is further proof of the greatness … of a unique civilization that extends into the depths of history,” he added.
In a Facebook post, Egypt’s First Lady Intisar al-Sissi wrote that Saturday’s event “expresses the greatness of the ancient civilization that provided humanity, and still does, with a unique and diverse legacy, contributing to its progress and prosperity.”
By mid-April, 20 of the ancient royals will be displayed in the NMEC’s Royal Hall of Mummies while the remaining two will be stored, according to the ministry.
The lavish parade can be seen in the video below.