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Egypt moves Pharaoh's solar boat to new mega-museum

This handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on August 7, 2021 shows a view of the relocation process of the Solar Barque of Pharaoh Khufu   -  
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Egypt has transferred the pharaonic solar boat of ancient King Khufu to the Grand Egyptian Museum, close to the famed Giza Pyramids, authorities said on Saturday.

The boat, which dates back some 4,500 years, was discovered in 1954 at the southern corner of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the three Giza Pyramids.

It had been exhibited at a museum at the Giza Plateau, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement.

That museum has been closed since August to prepare the transportation, it said.

The boat, which is 42-meters (137.8 ft) long and weighs 20 tons, was transferred on a smart vehicle, a 10-hour trip that began late Friday, according to a report by the state-run MENA news agency.

The ministry said that the transportation aimed to "protect and preserve the biggest and oldest organic artifact made of wood in the history of humanity for future generations."

It will be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum along with tens of thousands of artifacts, including the famed mask of Tutankhamen, and other treasures currently housed in the century-old building in Cairo's congested Tahrir Square.

The transportation came four months after Egyptian authorities held a gala parade, celebrating the transfer of 22 of the country's prized Pharaonic royal mummies from the Egyptian Museum at the heart of Cairo to their new resting place in a massive new museum, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, further south in the capital.

The events are part of Egypt's efforts to attract foreign tourists by publicizing its ancient artifacts.

The tourism industry has been reeling from political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and more recently, the coronavirus pandemic.

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