They've been dead for centuries, but on Saturday they were on the move. NPR reports that 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies were paraded from the nearly 120-year-old Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The Pharaohs' Golden Parade, as the spectacle was called, involved the remains of 18 kings and 4 queens, among them King Ramses II and Queen Hatshepsut, whom the AP notes was the only woman pharaoh and "wore a false beard to overcome tradition requiring women to play only secondary roles in the royal hierarchy." The event was a spectacle: In preparation, the road the carriages traveled were repaved to provide a smoother surface, and the mummies were put into nitrogen-filled boxes to safeguard them, reports the BBC.
The hour-long procession cost millions and involved stepped-up security and vehicles that featured enhanced shock-absorbers. The mummies traveled in chronological order of their reigns, with the span stretching from the 16th century BC to the 12th century BC. All were found in the late 1800s and brought to Cairo and its Egyptian Museum via boats on the Nile or trains. The new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which the AP describes as "massive" and located further south in Cairo, is part of a move to rebuild a tourism industry that's been damaged by political unrest and the pandemic. All but two of the mummies will go on display in two weeks. NBC News reports the event has resurrected talk of the pharaoh's curse, with people pointing to recent tragedies and mishaps, including a deadly apartment collapse in Cairo, a devastating train crash, and the Suez Canal blockage. (Read more mummies stories.)