In this edition of Postcards, we check out Expo 2020 Dubai. Set on a 4km site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South, this world fair is the largest cultural gathering in the world. Over 192 participating countries will inspire visitors over a six-month period until 31 March 2022. Each country has its own Pavillion within three themed districts, and the whole site is expected to attract 25 million visitors in just six months.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region and the site will transform into District 2020 after Expo 2020 closes its doors. There are already 87 new permanent buildings. It'll be a model global community that will rethink the cities of the future.
"Most of what we have built as organisers has been built to stay. This will be transformed into a smart multi-purpose city," said Maha Al Gargawi, Expo 202 Dubai Spokesperson.
What to expect
Visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai will need to show evidence of a Covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.
The Expo 2020 Dubai has thousands of events and exploratory experiences, and children under 18 get in for free.
There are around 200 food and beverage outlets and Expo has a diverse daily entertainment programme.
Three themed areas
Expo 2020 Dubai promises to inspire visitors to preserve and protect the planet with the purpose of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', highlighting ideas that are shaping the future. This will be achieved in three themed and petal-shaped districts which all connect to the central Al Wasl Plaza which is like the centre part of a flower according to the architect's drawings.
Hopkins architects designed the site with a landscape where one can relax and wander through to various events or sit and enjoy the birdsong in courtyards.
Water features, activity areas and event stages are underneath funnel-shaped metal structures which were inspired by the date palm and provide dappled light onto the areas below along the centre part of each district.
The Sustainability District - advanced technology
The Brazil pavilion provides an Amazon Basin experience with sights and sounds. Visitors will be able to discover how to work with nature for a sustainable future.
Uzbekistan's pavilion focuses on showing its technological developments in its theme of 'Mapping the Future Pathway.'
'Nature. Nurture. Future' is Singapore's themed pavilion providing a forest setting, with trees, nine-metre garden cones and hanging gardens. More than five hundred solar panels on the roof canopy will provide 100% energy to the pavilion.
The Mobility District - connections that keep the world moving forward
The Finnish pavilion 'Sharing Future Happiness' aims to bring together the country's icy landscapes with the culture of the host nation, inside a 'Snow Cape.'
Ireland's theme is 'Putting Creativity at the Centre of Human Experience in the 21st Century,' and will immerse visitors into the Irish culture.
The Opportunity District - the impact of how our lives and actions are connected
One of the pavilions in the Opportunity District is UK's 'Breakthrough Message' pavilion which was inspired by a project by Stephen Hawking. It's about the message one could communicate as a planet, to any visitors from space.
There's a 'moving walkway' running through the US pavilion, for visitors to experience exhibits in a completely different way.
The first World Expo was in 1851 when the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London's Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.
The theme was 'Industry of All Nations' which brought together the idea of nations meeting nations to share technological and commercial progress in a rapidly changing world.
It was organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert and more than six million people visited.