DUBAI: The long-awaited Expo 2020 Dubai kicked off on Friday, with the arrival of international guests to celebrate the event’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
With representatives from 192 participating countries, the 4.38 square kilometer site has 200 pavilions.
Arab countries with large contingents at the event include Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Palestine, Oman and more.
Saudi Arabia’s rectangular fold-out facade, rising six stories above the ground and featuring a 1,320 square meter tilted mirror screen, is designed to showcase the ancient culture and heritage of the Kingdom, the wonders of its natural landscape, as well as the speed and innovation of its present and future ambitions.
Among its many accolades, the Saudi pavilion has received the LEED Platinum certificate from the US Green Building Council, placing it among the most sustainable designs in the world.
It also holds three Guinness World Records for the longest state-of-the-art interactive water feature, largest LED mirror screen, and largest interactive lighting floor.
To celebrate Morocco’s participation in Expo 2020, the country’s pavilion offers visitors daily folklore shows. With several shows held during the day, guests can witness short dances – with traditional music – commonly performed at weddings, parties and festivals across the country.
Expo 2020 also features more than 200 international restaurants, including Saudi Arabia’s famous fast food restaurant Al-Baik, which visitors can enjoy while exploring the grounds.
To integrate Arab art, the site has benches inspired by calligraphy.
Designed by famous architect Asif Khan and Arab typographer Lara Captan, the 50 benches spread around the event feature Arabic words such as “blessed”, “good”, “decision”, “determination” and more.
In the coming days, the event will host live performances, including a show by the Arab group Hosny Band which merges Arabic oud melodies with Western guitar chords.
Another spectacle is theater and street arts, which represents the cultural values of Portugal.