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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Cairo moves 3,200-year-old Pharaoh

King Ramses II statue in Ramses Square

A giant statue of King Ramses II has been moved to a new location free from the pollution and vibrations it has suffered during 50 years standing outside Cairo's main railway station.

King Ramses II wrapped in protective material

The statue, which originated in Memphis, had been in Ramses Square since the 1950s. King Ramses II was born in 1302 BC and became pharaoh in his early 20s.

King Ramses II outside Ramses Square wrapped up for the journey

It was feared that lying the 83 tonne, 11m (36 feet) high statue on a lorry would destroy it, so engineers decided to move it standing up in an enclosed steel cage.

Cairo's night sky is lit up with lasers as the statue prepares to leave Ramses Square

Despite the early start at 0100 local time, tens of thousands of people lined the streets for the event, which was broadcast live on Egyptian television.

Excited Cairo crowd wave flags as the royal statue passes by

Ebullient residents lined the streets to watch the red granite statue move through the city at a slow and stately pace.

Sunrise over Cairo as the statue of King Ramses II continues its roll through the city

It took 10 hours to move the royal statue 2km. The authorities had rehearsed the journey with a replica in July this year.

The statue passing the Giza pyramids as it heads towards its new home

Ramses, a prolific builder of monuments in his lifetime, will find a new home in an Egyptian antiquities museum to be constructed near the pyramids in the next five years.

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