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Egypt parades royal mummies in show of Pharaonic heritage

CAIRO — Egypt is launching a gala parade celebrating the transport of 22 of its prized royal mummies from central Cairo to their new resting place in a massive new museum.

The ceremony, designed to showcase the country’s rich heritage, snakes along the Nile corniche from the Egyptian Museum overlooking Tahrir Square, to the newly opened National Museum of Egyptian Civilization at the edge of the city.

The mummies are being 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 ceremony kicks off with a 21-gun salute and will be accompanied by lights and music.

Most of the mummies belong to the ancient New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt between 1539 BCE to 1075 BCE, according to the ministry of antiquities.

They include Ramses II, one of the country’s most famous pharaohs, and Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s only woman Pharaoh who ruled as a man — by affixing a false beard to overcome tradition that required women to play only secondary roles in the royal hierarchy.

The mummies — 18 pharaohs and four other royals — were originally buried around 3,000 years ago in tombs in the Valley of Kings and the nearby Deir el-Bahri site. Both areas are near the southern city of Luxor. They were first excavated in the 19th century.

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