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In less than 100 days, all roads will lead to Dubai’s South District for the world’s greatest show — the largest international event amid a pandemic.
And when Expo 2020 Dubai opens on October 1, the world shall begin a new phase of recovery, said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as he announced the 100-day countdown on Wednesday.
“100 days for the launch of the largest international cultural gathering… 100 days for the meeting of 192 countries in Dubai… 100 days for the launch of the largest international event after the pandemic, so that the world begins a new phase of its recovery,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
Fifty thousand employees worked to complete 192 pavillions while 30,000 volunteers are ready to welcome the world.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first world exposition being held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, it will bring together people and ideas from across the world under a single platform to inspire innovations and seek solutions to make the world a better place. Delayed by a year, the Expo promises to be a better and bigger experience for visitors. Organisers are expecting an estimated 25 million visits during the six-month period between October 1 and March 31.
It is no mean feat to put up ‘the world’s greatest show.’ But for a city that built the world’s tallest tower and dared to send the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission to Mars amidst a pandemic, hosting a world exposition of this scale is not an unsurmountable task.
“Our success in hosting the world’s largest cultural event reflects the power of human solidarity in overcoming the pandemic,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
“The global community is preparing for a new stage of collaboration by harnessing science and technology to combat the pandemic. Expo 2020 Dubai provides the platform for sharing knowledge and innovations,” he added.
The UAE will host the mega event with tight Covid-19 precautionary measures and a safe environment where about 90 per cent of the population have been vaccinated against Covid-19, positioning the country among the top five nations in vaccine distribution rate.
Sheikh Mohammed said Expo 2020 Dubai will provide the space for the largest and most inclusive cultural and knowledge exchange in the world. It will “pave the roadmap for key economic, development and cultural trends of the post-Covid-19 era”, he added.
With a little more than three months to go before the official opening, the Expo site is abuzz. The constant noise of drilling and welding echoes across the 4.38sqkm site as workers put the final touches to giant concrete structures. The construction of several country pavilions are nearing completion while others are racing against time.
Dubai sure knows how to make reality look better than a fairy tale. A quick visit to the sprawling site will show you why.
A future-proof city is rising from the barren land with some of the best man-made architectural wonders: The giant steel structures that look like mysterious alien spaceships perched on giant pillars; the world’s largest 360-degree projection dome at Al Wasl Plaza; the world’s largest passenger lifts that can transport over 160 people at a time are just a few samples.
Riding on AI and augmented reality, the cutting-edge technology and innovations showcased at the Expo will transport visitors to a new world filled with breathing trees, future mobility devices, drones and robots.
Visitors can walk through the Brazilian rainforests, enjoy the rainfall in Netherlands, walk under the blue skies of Australia, dive into the coral reefs of UAE, and even get up close with the indigenous tribes of New Zealand, to mention a few.
“Through Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE is bridging cultures and galvanizing efforts and aspirations towards creating a better future for everyone,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“People from every corner of the globe are welcome to join the once-in-a-lifetime inspiring and enlightening experience that pays testament to human creativity. We will meet at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
Three stars of the show
The three thematic districts built as three petals have performance spaces, innovation galleries, art installations, parks and outdoor gardens. Each is anchored by its own thematic pavilion
>The Opportunity Pavilion: Mission Possible
>The Mobility Pavilion: Alif
>The Sustainability Pavilion: Terra
The beating heart
Al Wasl Plaza is the focal point of celebrations during Expo 2020.
> It is as wide as two Airbus A380s.
> Its steel trellis dome is one of the world’s largest 360-degree projection surfaces
EXPO BUCKET LIST
>Ride the world’s largest lift that can carry 160 people at a time 182 days
>Watch the first Emirati opera featuring 100 musicians
>Try new culinary flavours, as 50-plus global cuisines will be featured at the show
>See the site’s 1,300 solar panels move (they follow the direction of the sun)
>Join a live event — every week (Expo will host 60 live events daily)