How did Cairo Egypt get its name

Egypt's mummies: move to the brand new tomb

Since that eerie river trip, the 22 mummies have populated four different museums, some in showcases, others in locked storage rooms that are not open to the public. Ramses II even flew to Paris for restoration in 1976.

It was indeed Ramses ’trip to France that inspired the current Minister for Antiquities, Khaled el-Anani, to hold a gala parade. As a child in a French-speaking school in Cairo, El-Anani saw a film of Ramses ’arrival in Paris.

"I was amazed to see the crowd of reporters and television cameras at Paris airport greeting Ramses like a president or a king," says El-Anani. So when he became minister, he decided to "do something great, organize an incomparable parade to pay tribute to our ancestors who are also part of the cultural heritage of humanity."

A modern curse of the mummy?

Many Egyptians looked forward to the parade, a moment of solemnity during the privations of the pandemic. But others feared that the mummy hike would bring bad luck.

A fatal train accident in Central Egypt, a building collapse in Cairo and the bizarre blockade of the Suez Canal are all signs of the modern mummy curse associated with the parade. Hawass, the archaeologist, rejects this notion. "There is no such thing as a curse," he laughs, "just a lot of superstitious people."

Another aspect that overshadows the evening pageant is a little more serious: worldwide there are increasing discussions about the ethics of exhibiting human remains. Many museum curators are pushing for mummies to be covered or human remains to be removed from the exhibition entirely.