“The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade”: the ultimate journey of the royal mummies?

The gods Set (left) and Horus (right) blessing Ramesses in the small temple at Abu Simbel. The bas-reliefs on the side walls of the small sanctuary represent scenes of offerings to various gods made either by the pharaoh or the queen.[6] On the back wall, which lies to the west along the axis of the temple, there is a niche in which Hathor, as a divine cow, seems to be coming out of the mountain.

The Pharaohs of Egypt have compared themselves with the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, as the story tells. But in the history of human’s archaeology, there are many attempts to make a big show of it. For example, before the so-called Arab Spring, Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former antiquities minister, had tried many times to make such shows which went wrong sometimes. He is a famous man, not just because of his shows, here, but also because of his crimes! Here , here and here. There are a lot of worthy heritages for us to appreciate respectfully and to learn from.

Here is an extensive report of such a story. With thanks to Marie Grillot for her brilliant work.

“The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade” : l’ultime voyage des momies royales ?

via https://egyptophile.blogspot.com/

Among the 22 mummies of kings and queens that will be transferred from the Tahrir Museum to the NMEC during “The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade” on April 3, 2021, is that of Ramses II (CG 61078)

They reigned over the kingdom of the Two Lands. They lived in grandiose palaces, surrounded by their courts and their servants, in luxury, gold and riches… They were powerful, military strategists, builders, diplomats, kings and priests at the same time … they assimilated to their gods …

And then their body got tired, their Ba flew away, for it to become immortal, their remains were placed in the hands of the taricheutes (Embalmers) for a 70-day mummification process …

Then, in the lamentations of the mourners, the long funeral procession crossed the Nile and took the winding and sun-crushed path leading to the “great, noble, necropolis of Pharaoh’s Millions of Years”.

Sarcophagus room – Tomb of Ramses V – VI – KV 9 – Valley of the Kings
KV 9 ramsès V-VI

In their sumptuous hypogeums dug by the craftsmen of the Place de Vérité in the bowels of the pyramidal mountain, their heavy sarcophagus was placed as well as their fabulous funeral trousseau then, the door of the tomb was closed …

They were there for a long eternity, doubly, protected by the Theban summit and by the Medja, the police attached to the necropolis …

But that was without taking into account the pangs of history… Towards the end of the Ramesside period (XXth Dynasty), a very troubled period engendered numerous exactions in the Valley of the Kings: looted tombs, mistreated mummies,…

“Rediscovery”, in July 1881, by the Department of Antiquities, of the Cachette des Mummies Royales (DB 320) discovered in 1871
by the Brothers Abd el-Rassoul near Deir el-Bahari

Respecting and venerating the former rulers, the high priest of Amun Herihor who ruled the Theban region at the start of the XXIst dynasty (around 1080 BC) he took the initiative, after the desecration of their homes of eternity, rebury the mummies in a tomb, originally known to have been that of a princess Inhâpi. This collective tomb will be discovered in 1871, in Deir el-Bahari, by Gournawis, the Abd el-Rassoul brothers. The existence of this “Hiding place of the royal mummies” will not be known to the Antiquities Service until ten years later, in 1881. Forty-two mummies rested in the “DB 320” … Among them, Ahmosis, Seqenenrê, Thoutmosis I, II, III, Amenhotep I, Séthi I, Ramses II, III, IX… Queens or princesses were also there: Ahmès-Méritamon, Ahmès-Inhâpy, Ahmès-Néfertari, …

The sarcophagi, mummies and the remains of funerary furniture will be transferred to the Boulaq Museum by the steamboat “Le Menshieh” … “All this funeral pantheon was stowed in the museum’s steamboat (that of the late Mariette) that they had just sent to Luxor. The bridge, the divans, the tables were loaded with royal spoils; Mariette’s bed and each of the rooms we had engaged and which we have occupied since then became the asylum of a king or a queen of Egypt; for the last time, they were descending this river which they so often travelled for a war or celebration apparatus “(Arthur Rhoné).

February – March 1898: Victor Loret discovers, in KV 35, the second hiding place of the Royal Mummies
Original page from Victor Loret’s excavation book – Tomb of Amenophis II part 4
March 28, 1898 – Archives of Egyptology of the University of Milan – Loret Fund

Seventeen years later, in February – March 1898, Victor Loret discovered the tomb of Amenhotep II in the Valley of the Kings. The KV 35 did contain the pharaoh’s mummy, but not only … In what will be called the “Second hiding place”, 17 royal mummies had been sheltered in an annexe of the tomb, among which: Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III, Merenptah, Seti II, Siptah, Ramses IV, V, VI, and probably Setnakht. It also housed female mummies, including that of the “Young Lady (KV35YL) who is undoubtedly that of Nefertiti” (Marc Gabolde) and that of an “elder woman” who “could be the remains of Queen Tiyi”…

Again, according to the same scenario, everything will be transported to Cairo …

But… the rest of the “wandering mummies” is not yet for now… For them begin other journeys …

The royal mummies are first exhibited at the Boulaq museum created by Auguste Mariette
and inaugurated by Ismail Pasha on October 16, 1863 – photo L. Fiorillo

Boulaq, created by Auguste Mariette and inaugurated by Ismail Pasha on October 16, 1863, very quickly became too small. The Egyptian collections, including mummies, will then be transferred to a splendid palace in Giza. Inaugurated on January 12, 1890, by S. A. Abbas Pasha Hilmi, this new museum has 91 rooms. However, he quickly suffered from two evils: his remoteness from the city centre and his lack of security …

In 1890, the royal mummies were transferred to the Giza Palace-Museum inaugurated on January 12, 1890
by S. A. Abbas pasha Hilmi – photo by Zangaki

The collections will remain there until 1902 when they will be installed in Kasr-el-Nil (Ismailieh square which, after 1952, became Tahrir square). The magnificent neoclassical building created by Marcel Dourgnon, will be inaugurated on November 15, 1902, by the Khedive Abbas Hilmi II.

However, the public display of the royal mummies will come to an end under Sadat’s presidency. ​It was doubly motivated by a “safeguard” both “physical” and “moral”. Indeed, as Christian Leblanc explains: “Under a warm glass roof on the first floor, exposed, not to say exhibited without conditioning and to the indiscreet, even disrespectful gaze of thousands of visitors a day, the mummies were suffering”. And, on the other hand, the Raise evoked the immoral aspect: “I cannot agree to display the remains of the Egyptian pharaohs in exhibitions for people to see. This goes against the commandments of the three religions. : Islam, Christianity and Judaism “.

The Getty Conservation Institute will then be mandated to carry out in-depth studies which will lead to a new exhibition of mummies, respectful and “secure” in an adequate space being totally dedicated to them … Voices are still being raised against this exhibition. disrespectful and irreverent towards the former rulers …

And now, in this very month of April 2021, they move again for another home: the last?

It is indeed towards the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization that will head, this April 3, 2021, “The pharaohs’ golden parade”, which wants to be worthy of the last convoy having led them to the Valley of the Kings …

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), located at El Fustat in the old part of Cairo, overlooking
Lake Ain El-Seera, will host the royal mummies from April 3, 2021 – photo Travel Notes

The NMEC is the first real museum of Egyptian civilization. “It is located on the archaeological site of El-Fustat in the oldest part of Cairo, overlooking Lake Ain El-Seera. The museum was designed by Egyptian architect El Ghazzali Kosseiba and interior architecture by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The NMEC will present Egyptian civilization, from prehistoric times to the present day, through a multidisciplinary approach highlighting the tangible and intangible heritage of the country “specifies Unesco”.

Momie de Séthi 1er (CG 61077)  : vue d’ensemble – photo : Emile Brugsh – source  : pop.culture.gouv.fr

Among the exhibition rooms, in a suitable temperature, and in a museography attached to respect and meditation, a specially dedicated hall will host twenty-two royal mummies: nineteen of pharaohs: Seqenenrê, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III, Sethi I, Ramses II, Merenptah, Sethi II, Siptah, Ramses III, Ramses IV, Ramses V, Ramses VI, Ramses IX, and three queens: Ahmes- Nefertari, Méritamon, Tiyi.

In one of the first articles announcing this transfer – which was initially scheduled for early December 2020 – Nevine El-Aref (Al-Ahram, 11-8-2020) provided this valuable information: “The mummy room is designed to resemble the Royal Tombs in the Valley of the Kings from Luxor. There is a slope leading up to it, where visitors will come face to face with the royal mummies in a dimly lit room painted black. ‘The NMEC exhibition committee chose black as the colour of the mummies room so as not to disturb visitors during their visit and to make the mummies the protagonists of the exhibition ‘said Mahmoud Mabrouk, advisor to the Ministry of Antiquities for the exhibition scenarios “.

She had also specified that 17 royal coffins had already joined the NMEC and unveiled part of the organization of the transfer of mummies: “The royal procession which will take place on this occasion will bring spectators back to the ancient Egyptian period, when the kings and the queens were transported to their graves, to eternity. The new procession will see the royal mummies transported on the Nile then accompanied by chariots and horses “…

Military vehicle dedicated to transporting the mummy of Siptah from the Tahrir Museum to the NMEC
during “The paraohs’ golden parade” on April 3, 2021, in Cairo

The mummies will be “placed” on vehicles, military, twenty-two “tanks”, revamped in a pharaonic tuning, with a lot of LEDs illuminating protective wings … Each tank will bear the name of the sovereign it carries, written in hieroglyphics, in Arabic and English.

Recent press articles: The latest press releases from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, as well as various photos and videos of the preparations, give a more precise idea of the event …

It is around 6 pm, at nightfall, that the convoy will leave Tahrir Square. “It was the Egyptian sound and light company that carried out the technical and artistic lighting of all the buildings in this Khedival square,” says archaeologist and researcher Ahmed Amer. In addition: “an obelisk of Ramses II from the temple of Amun in Tanis, as well as four rams from the temple of Karnak in Luxor, which now decorate the centre of the square, will be inaugurated during the procession” (Nasma Réda, Al- Ahram Hebdo – 24-3-2021).

The procession, scheduled to complete the 7 km in 45 minutes, will evolve between large feathers of Maât and will be “animated” by performances by artists in period costumes and accompanied by symphonic and military music.

This major event will be filmed and announced by more than 400 televisions and broadcast, live on the YouTube channel and the Facebook page of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities – will take place in particular in the presence of President Al-Sisi, the Minister of Tourism and Antiques, and many other personalities …

It will testify to Egypt’s immense respect for its former rulers: what other people can afford, today, such a “collective” homage?

Marie Grillot


The Finding of Deir-el-Bahari. Twenty photographs, by ME Brugsch. Text by G. Maspero


General catalog of Egyptian antiquities in the Cairo Museum N ° 24001-24990 – Excavations of the Valley of the Kings (1898-1899), Georges Daressy, 1902

General catalog of Egyptian antiquities in the Cairo Museum N ° 61001-61044, Coffins of the royal hiding places (1909), Daressy, Georges


Discovery of the Royal Mummies, Arthur Rhoné, La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Tome 27, 1883


“The extraordinary discovery of Pharaoh Amenophis II”: Patrizia Piacentini guides us in an exhibition to be discovered in Milan

Interview with Patrizia Piacentini carried out on 9-13-2017 and published by EA and Egyptophile

The Complete Valley of the Kings, Nicholas Reeves, Richard H. Wilkinson, The American University in Cairo press, 2002

History of the Valley of the Kings, John Romer, Vernal – Philippe Lebaud, 1991

The Memory of Thebes, Christian Leblanc, L’Harmattan, 2015

The Getty Conservation Institute, Oxygen-Free Museum Cases, Edited by Shin Maekawa 1998




Mummies to the NMEC, Nevine El-Aref, ahramonline, Tuesday 11 Aug 2020 – A version of this article appears in print in the 13 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


The Golden Parade of Royal Mummies, Nasma Réda, Al-Ahram Hebdo – 24-3-2021)


“The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade”: video “announcement” from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities:


YouTube channel and FB page of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities



Mummy of King Thoutmôsis III (CG 61068): an overview in the middle of the unrolled strips – photo: Emile Brugsh – source: pop.culture.gouv.fr

11 thoughts on ““The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade”: the ultimate journey of the royal mummies?

  1. Marie’s articles on Egyptian mythology are incredibly rich! Thank you so much Aladin for sharing them on your blog. The photos add such colour and richness to her study, bringing those ancient mysteries to life. I’m fascinated by Egyptian mythology, especially the journey they believed we take after death. Love and light, Deborah

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is true! Marie’s works are fascinating. Though she writes so emotionally sometimes and my French is mostly so poor, that I had to give a lot of effort to get the point. 😜 but it’s worth the effort! And yes, Egyptian Mythology is amazing. Thank you, Deborah, my friend. 🙏💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. elainemansfield

    Thank you, Alaedin. It’s such a long complex history. A lifetime study. I’m exploring the Goddesses, particularly Isis and Ma’at, the Goddess of Justice and Balance (and more). We desperately need Ma’at in our world.

    Liked by 1 person

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