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The Pharaohs in Brazil — III
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 05 - 2019

After I had left the city of São Paulo and travelled to another city for my third lecture in Brazil, I landed in Curitiba, the capital of Paraná State. About 11 million people live in this state, and as is commonly known the country of Brazil is divided into 26 separate states.
I came across a surprise there that really proved to me that the history of the Pharaohs has conquered every corner of the world. This is because I visited a large museum taking up some five acres called the Egyptian Museum. The façade of the museum takes the form of an ancient Egyptian temple with beautiful lotus columns. The museum authorities had put a large poster with my picture and a picture of the Pyramids on the façade as an announcement of my lecture.
The second part of the museum has another temple façade, and in front of it there is a huge replica statue of the Sphinx with a statue underneath its chin. The third part has a huge, life-size Avenue of the Sphinxes, with some 13 statues on each side representing the Pharaoh Thutmose III. At the end of the Avenue there is a life-size obelisk made of granite that is a replica of the obelisk of Thutmose III in Istanbul.
Inside the museum, there are beautiful replica statues, and at the entrance there is an exact copy of the Rosetta Stone. There are also other statues of Imhotep, the great architect of the Step Pyramid, as well as reproductions of an Old Kingdom scribal statue and of the famous statues of Rahotep and Nofret and various funerary objects.
The museum staff have clearly been concentrating most on Thutmose III and Akhenaten, however, having procured two life-size replica statues of them.
The museum was built in 1995 by the Rosicrucians, the practitioners of a spiritual movement who believe in ancient truths. They have an endless love for ancient Egypt and are found all over the world. Some people think they may number up to 20 million. They also have a museum in San Jose in California, and this also contains many original objects, one of them being a unique statue of Cleopatra. I have lectured many times at that museum.
The Rosicrucians deeply admire Thutmose III, the great king who built the ancient Egyptian empire in 1550 BC, a kind of Napoleon of the ancient world. They also revere the Pharaoh Akhenaten because he was the first to establish monotheism, seeing the one god in the form of the sun or Aten.
I remember once when I was an inspector of the Giza Pyramids, I entered the Great Pyramid with a group of Rosicrucians. They were weeping and crying, as if they were repenting their mistakes. They left the Pyramid at sunrise to stand in front of the Sphinx. When I met the people in charge, I discovered they had a high regard for Mohamed Nazmi, the owner of a travel company called Quest Travel which arranged tours for Rosicrucians in Egypt.
These people often visit Egypt, never asking if it is safe or not first. Nazmi has since died, but he was a great man who loved his job and his country very much.
In Curitiba, I gave my lecture to an audience of 300 people in a beautiful auditorium. I answered all their questions and took photographs with them. It was an evening I shall never forget.
The local TV channel broadcast a long interview with me, in which I appeared with two local Egyptologists. These individuals had also acted as researchers for the Rosicrucians. We had a sort of debate, with my answers being interpreted into Portuguese for the local audience.
I answered one question about the recent discoveries at Amarna and near Amarna, and I mentioned Egyptologist Barry Kemp who has excavated at the City of Akhenaten (the horizon of Aten) at Tell Al-Amarna. I explained the significance of the sculpted head of Akhenaten that Kemp has recently found, and I talked about the large cemetery that has been found in the desert between Tuna Al-Gabal and Amarna. I made sure to talk about the sarcophagus that was found in 1929 that led to the eventual discovery of this necropolis.
A lot of noise followed my interview with the TV channel. This was because I had said that the bust of Nefertiti in the Berlin Museum, the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum, and the Dendera Zodiac in the Louvre should be returned to Egypt to mark the forthcoming opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the Giza Plateau.
The bust of Nefertiti left the country illegally. The German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, who excavated it in 1912, hid it from the officials who were registering the objects prior to their division. Borchardt also lied in the registry book, stating that the bust was made from gypsum rather than from limestone and thus ensuring that he would be able to take it out of Egypt. At that time, there was a law stating that no statue of an ancient Egyptian king or queen made of limestone could be taken out of Egypt.
The Rosetta Stone was found by the French Expedition that came to Egypt at the end of the 18th century under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, and it was given to the British after their defeat of the French without any consideration of its legal status. As for the Dendera Zodiac, this was cut out of the ceiling of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera in 1821 by a French man who later sold it to the Louvre.
I said in Brazil that I intended to head a group of Egyptian and foreign intellectuals asking for the return of these three objects to Egypt.
The last surprise I had at the Egyptian Museum in Curitiba was when I found that it did have one real and authentic object in the shape of a female mummy that had been taken out of Egypt in 1888 after the discovery of the Deir Al-Bahari mummy cache near Luxor. The mummy has no name, but the museum has called it “Tothmea”, and it has carried out a CT-scan of it. The results reveal that it dates to the Late Period in about 500 BC. The museum staff have also reconstructed the mummy's face, revealing a beautiful 25-year-old woman with a splendid wig and a wearing a necklace round her neck. This mummy alone receives around 10,000 visitors a month.
The museum has also built another gallery that will be dedicated to the collection of the ancient Egyptian boy-king Tutankhamun. All the pieces will be manufactured by the replica workshop of the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt.
Before I visited this museum, I would never have guessed that the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs would have made their way into the living culture of Curitiba. Above all, the museum is a great way to promote tourism to Egypt and the history of the Pharaohs.

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