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30-foot statues, rainforests, mirror room: Top 10 Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions

Visitors learn something new in each of the 200+ pavilions



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Sahim Salim

Published: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 3:20 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 10:40 PM

200+ pavilions. 191 participating countries. Thousands of cultures. One platform: Expo 2020 Dubai. The region’s first World Expo has recorded nearly 23 million visits — making it the largest global gathering since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

A lot of thought and efforts have gone into designing the pavilions at the Expo — offering visitors a slice of the country or theme they represent.

We asked Khaleej Times readers which their favourite pavilions were. These were the crowd favourites and some of the responses we got:

The pavilions at Expo 2020 showcase innovations, cultures and business and tourism opportunities, with visitors stepping out of each having learned something new.

It’s a tough ask to choose the best pavilions at the Expo. The bigger pavilions drew the crowds, but there were so many smaller ones that stood tall.

Here are our top 10 picks, chosen due to their popularity and innovations:

1. Alif

Even the name of the pavilion is innovative: Alif – the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, symbolising the beginning of progress. The true moment of awe begins as you come face to face with nine-metre-tall, stunningly detailed figures of celebrated Arab civilisation giants, including navigator Ahmad Ibn Majid and celebrated explorer Ibn Battuta.

Having started at the very beginning of the mobility journey, visitors end it with the future world of possibilities. Futuristic cities imagined by children are projected in an immersive space.

2. UAE

If you have been to Expo 2020, you will not miss this pavilion. Shaped like a falcon in flight, the UAE pavilion is the biggest at the Expo.

With 28 movable wings, its roof can spread its wings to harvest energy through integrated photovoltaic panels, according to the official pavilion website.

3. Saudi Arabia

This is undoubtedly among the most popular pavilions at the Expo. Designed like it is about to take off, the pavilion is as impressive inside as it’s outside.

Check out this video we did on the 5 coolest features at the pavilion, and you will begin to get an idea of just how awesome it is:

The pavilion takes visitors on an interactive journey that showcases the Kingdom’s past, present and future. Huge screens tell the Saudi story, showcasing the Kingdom’s growth, prosperity and tourist spots.

4. Campus Germany

Easily the biggest crowd-puller at the event, the pavilion scores with its interactive games and learning rooms. This clip of a room that has thousands of plastic yellow balls in a ball pit captures the fun we had at the pavilion:

5. Pakistan

This is among the most popular pavilions at the Expo. Its impressive, colourful façade and interactive spaces are what draw the crowds.

Inside, technology is used to narrate the country’s 7,000-year history. According to the Expo 2020 website, there is even a “beautiful bazaar full of the finest craft products handmade by craftspeople, artists and designers from across Pakistan”.

6. India

Such is the popularity of this pavilion that crowds brave queues of up to four hours to get inside. Check out this video to understand just how long the line runs:

7. Luxembourg

This one makes you go weeeeeeeee! The pavilion has saved the best for the last, literally. At the end of the tour, you get to exit the building via a lift, a walkway or a giant slide! For our multimedia journalist, Luxembourg was the most exciting pavilion:

The first-ever giant slide in the history of World Expo is a fun nod to the ‘Schueberfouer’, Luxembourg’s traditional fair which dates back to 1340.

8. Palestine

This pavilion replicates the streets of Palestine. Marketplaces and illustrations of famed urban landmarks dot the walls of the colourful pavilion. Performances capture the colourful culture of the land:

9. Japan

The UAE will be passing on the Expo baton to Japan, which will host the global event in 2025. One part of the pavilion lets people share their ideas and messages for the event, helping them shape the next Expo. It’s among the most popular pavilions due to its infinity mirror room, a 360-degree theater and 3D art.

Such is its popularity that it had to be closed on some days due to unprecedented rush:

10. Singapore

In this pavilion, it’s difficult to figure out where the forest ends and the pavilion begins.

Hanging gardens, vertical forests and rainforests … the pavilion has it all.

The stunningly green pavilion symbolises Singapore’s reputation as a City in a Garden.

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