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22 ancient Pharaoh mummies encased in glass pods and riding gold war chariots paraded through Egypt's capital in a spectacular procession

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4/4/2021 sankel@businessinsider.com (Sophia Ankel)
a group of people performing on stage in front of a building: General view of a parade at a ceremony of a transfer of royal mummies in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021, i Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV © Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV General view of a parade at a ceremony of a transfer of royal mummies in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021, i Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV
  • More than 20 of Egypt's ancient royal mummies were transported to a new museum on Saturday.
  • Among them were the notable mummies of Seti I, Ahmose-Nefertari, and Ramses II.
  • They were transported to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in special capsules.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A grand parade displaying 22 of Egypt's ancient royal mummies passed through Cairo's streets on Saturday.

The convoy transported 18 kings and four queens from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, a city about 3 miles outside the capital.

Each mummy was carried in a specially-designed glass capsule with shock-absorbers so they wouldn't get damaged during transportation, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Reuters.

The capsules were placed on carts that looked similar to horse-drawn war chariots and designed to provide stability.

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The procession of Pharoah mummies was carried in chronological order of their reigns. They included Seti I, Ahmose-Nefertari, Ramses II, the most famous pharaoh of the New Kingdom, signed the first-ever known peace treaty.

The oldest mummy in the parade was Seqenenre Tao, who reigned in the 16th century BC and is thought to have had a violent death.

Royal mummies are transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Mohamed Abd El Ghany © Mohamed Abd El Ghany Royal mummies are transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The multi-million dollar spectacle was designed to get people excited about Egypt's rich antiquities collections after the coronavirus pandemic put an abrupt halt on the country's tourist industry.

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

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

A mummy is seen in a video screened during a ceremony of a transfer of Royal mummies in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021, Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV © Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV A mummy is seen in a video screened during a ceremony of a transfer of Royal mummies in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021, Host Broadcaster/Reuters TV

Egypt, which has had more than 200,000 coronavirus cases, was on a strict lockdown in the summer of 2020 but has since lifted restrictions on open-aired gatherings.

The parade was also live-streamed online for people outside of Cairo to watch.

The mummies will be housed in the Royal Hall of Mummies and will go on display to the general public from April 18.

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