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Byline: WITH TRAVEL EDITOR NIGEL THOMPSON AND DEPUTY MARJORIE YUE

Pharaoh Ramses II has arrived at the Grand Egyptian Museum, ready for the opening of one of the world's most anticipated exhibits of antiquities.

The 36ft high, 75-tonne stone statue of the king - crafted 3,200 years ago - is now in permanent place at the entrance of the state-ofthe-art, immersive facility, which is expected to open its first phase in November.

The pharaoh's sculpture is one of 100,000 Ancient Egypt relics that will be housed in the striking triangular building by the Pyramids of Giza, just outside the capital Cairo, with final completion due by 2022.

Already hailed as an architectural masterpiece, with a translucent alabaster facade, the first stone of the museum was laid in February 2002. The opening in November will include the Grand Atrium, the Grand Staircase and Tutankhamun Hall.

It's the latter that will undoubtedly draw the biggest crowds - it will be the first time the full collection of King Tut artefacts will go on show.

Each of the 5,000 items that were found inside the boy king's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 will be displayed.

They have been relocated mainly from the iconic rose-pink Egyptian Museum - which is not large enough to show them all - and other sites around the country.

The moving of the statue of Ramses II is key to the progress of the much-delayed museum, as he is seen as one of the most powerful and influential rulers of Ancient Egypt.

He reigned for 66 years until his death in 1213BC and was responsible for more monuments than any other pharaoh, most notably the construction of the Ramesseum mortuary temple in Thebes and the rock temples of Abu Simbel.

His statue was first discovered at Mit Rahina in 1820 and has now been moved four times to various locations across the country, including Ramses Square in Cairo in 1955.

The $550million museum - designed by Dublin architects Heneghan Peng - is on a 120-acre site 1.25 miles from the Pyramids. gem.gov.eg, egypt.travel

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PARK KING Ramses is wheeled into place in Cairo

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Feb 4, 2018
Words:366
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