At least one million people are expected to flock to a “once in a generation” exhibition about Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun which opens at Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris this weekend.
More than 150 treasures from the boy king’s tomb – including 60 which have never left Egypt before – have been assembled for the blockbuster show.
The Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities said this is the largest number of Tutankhamun artefacts ever to have left Cairo.
Ticket sales for Tutankhamun: Treasures Of The Golden Pharaoh topped 130,000 last week as curators began the delicate task of installing the spectacular 3,400-year-old exhibits.
Almost all come from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Its unparalleled collection is being transferred to the enormous new Grand Egyptian Museum near the pyramids at Giza, which is due to open next year.
The Louvre in Paris has also loaned one of its top Tutankhamun pieces to the show, a statue of Amon, the king of the gods, protecting the pharaoh.
Mostafa Waziry, the Egyptian ministry’s secretary-general, said the touring show – which will open in London in November before moving on to Sydney – will help pay for the Giza museum.
The global tour will take in six other as-yet undisclosed cities.
Previous exhibitions about the boy pharaoh had been record-breaking blockbusters, setting off “Tut-mania” around the globe.
More than eight million people attended a 1973 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Another 1.2 million people queued to see a smaller exhibition six years earlier at the Petit Palais in Paris in what was called “the show of the century”. – AFP