For six months, between 20th October 2020 and 10th April 2021, Dubai will host Expo 2020. The World Expo is expected to attract 25 million visitors, with 70 per cent of those visitors coming from outside the UAE. Here, we reveal everything you need to know about Expo 2020 Dubai.
What is a World Expo?
In 1851 the first World Expo (World’s Fair) took place in The Crystal Palace, a magnificent cast-iron and plate-glass structure, designed by British architect Sir Joseph Paxton, in Hyde Park, London. The Great Exhibition was the brainchild of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, along with members of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and its goal was to celebrate and showcase modern manufacturing. The telegraph was just one of the new technologies unveiled at the exhibition, which attracted more than six million people, including Charlotte Brontë, Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens.
Future World Expos introduced numerous landmark inventions to the world: the Ferris wheel at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893; electricity at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904; the television set at the New York World’s Fair in 1939; and the mobile phone at the Osaka World’s Fair in 1970.
What is Expo 2020 Dubai?
Dubai’s bid to host Expo 2020 was declared successful on 27th November 2013. There was an enormous celebration, a firework display at Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, promised to “astonish the world in 2020”.
The main theme for Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, with sub-themes of ‘Opportunity’, ‘Mobility’ and ‘Sustainability’. It will showcase innovation, encourage collaboration and celebrate human ingenuity, with innovators from all over the world invited to share ideas about the future of education, employment, financial models, transport, travel and exploration, improving mobility for disabled people and disconnected communities, logistics, protecting natural ecosystems and promoting biodiversity, climate change, resource management, sustainable cities and other challenges currently facing the world.
What can visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai expect?
Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome 190 countries, with each occupying a pavilion at the 4.38sqkm Expo 2020 Dubai site, located in Dubai South, next to Al Maktoum International Airport. Visitors can travel there in 16 minutes from Dubai Marina on the Dubai Metro Route 2020—which will carry up to 46,000 passengers per hour—and will be greeted by Al Wasl Plaza, the striking structure that will be the beating heart of the Dubai Expo. The translucent dome, designed by Chicago architectural firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), is 65m in height and 150m in diameter, and will house fountains, waterfalls, parks, palm-lined courtyards and three pavilions representing the Expo 2020 Dubai sub-themes. When darkness falls, the dome will transform into a 360˚ screen.
Outside of the key themes one of the draws will be the contemporary architecture on display, with each exhibiting country trying to make an impression. With a list of names ranging from Foster + Partners and Nicholas Grimshaw to Santiago Calatrava and Fentress, the line-up is going to be a who’s who of modern architecture.
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