Cairo says farewell to one of the greatest pharaohs

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The Independent Online

A massive statue of one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs, Ramses II, rolled through the streets of Cairo to a new home near the Pyramids yesterday to escape the corrosive pollution at its former spot in a crowded transit hub.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to bid farewell to the 3,200-year-old red granite statue, which weighs 83 tons and was wrapped in plastic and thick padding for the painstakingly slow 21-mile journey, that took 10 hours.

"We are going to miss you. Cairo will never be the same again," shouted Ahmed Sami as the statue started moving.

Ramses II was a powerful ruler and prolific temple builder who ruled Egypt from about 1304 to 1237 BC.

Residents waved from their windows and balconies. Some were in tears. Others climbed to get a view of the statue, which had stood in a square outside Cairo's main railway station for more than half a century.

The decision to move itcame after a long discussions because it had deteriorated, mainly from exhaust fumes and vibrations caused by rail and car traffic.(AP)

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