Egypt has held a spectacular parade to celebrate the transport of 22 of its ancient royal mummies through the capital, Cairo, to their new home in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.
Crowds on Saturday gathered to witness the multimillion-dollar spectacle of the 18 kings and four queens making the 7km journey (four miles) to their new resting place.
Under heavy security, the mummified remains of the pharaohs and other royals were transported in climate-controlled cases loaded onto trucks decorated with wings and pharaonic design for the hour-long journey from their previous home in the older, Egyptian Museum.
The vehicles were designed to appear like the ancient boats used to carry deceased pharaohs to their tombs.
‘What a night’
The “Pharaohs’ Golden Parade” was broadcast live on the country’s state-run television and other satellite stations, as well as on official social media platforms.
Salima Ikram, head of the Egyptology unit at the American University in Cairo, told Al Jazeera the spectacle was “extremely moving”.
“In a way, people are very proud of what they are seeing,” she said. “So although there was great expense, I think the return may be quite good in the long run.”
“When these mummies were moved to the museum in the first place after their discovery, of course we’ve got photographs and the rest of it, but it’s not the same as actually witnessing. It’s truly a momentous occasion,” said Hetherington.
“You can imagine that they’ve been working on it a very long time and I think they’ve pulled it off – there was the spectacle but we also felt that everything was done safely; obviously these are irreplaceable royal ancestors, so every care had to be taken.”