Mummies of ancient Egyptian royalty to parade through streets of Cairo

A parade of ancient Egyptian mummies will travel through the streets of Cairo on Saturday, during a televised event featuring Egyptian celebrities escorting them to their new home.

“The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade,” organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, will include 22 mummies on their way from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

The event will move 18 kings, four queens and their belongings 3 miles to the new museum, which is set to open to the public later this year.

“The whole idea is not the mummies. The whole idea is how you display the mummies. … It’s how you tell the story. It’s the environment. It’s the ambiance that you feel when you’re getting it,” Ahmed Ghoneim, executive director of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, told CNN.

A team of 48 people was tapped to prepare the mummies for their trip, including placing each mummy in a nitrogen capsule, free from oxygen and protected from the damaging effects of humidity, bacteria, fungi and insects.

“This parade will make all Egyptians proud of their country, archaeologist Zahi Hawass, former minister of antiquities, told National Geographic. “In a time of COVID, they want to be happy, to feel proud of their ancestors.”

The mummies date from about 1539 B.C. to 1075 B.C., and include the pharaoh Ramses II, portrayed as the pharaoh mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Exodus, and Queen Hatshepsut, the influential female pharaoh known for building monuments and temples and launching trade expeditions.

The parade will include vehicles designed to look like ancient chariots, motorcycles riders, horses and local celebrities. Some details, including new discoveries made while preparing the mummies, are being kept a surprise.

Televised coverage will include prerecorded segments, and people are being encouraged to watch the event on television rather than venturing into the streets.