Expo 2020 Dubai: five fantastic pavilions you should not overlook

While the likes of Japan and Germany captured the imagination, there are plenty of other top attractions to check before the world's fair ends

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Tens of thousands of people will flock to Expo 2020 Dubai this weekend as the countdown continues until the world fair's finale at the end of the month.

With maps in hand, tourists and residents alike will be exploring the site in search of another memorable Expo experience.

They can expect big queues at some of the event's most popular pavilions, such as Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia, but with a whole world to explore there are plenty of other top attractions on show.

Quote
I have found new places to visit. It made me step back and think about things we take for granted, like water and greenery
Andrea Novakova, Czech tourist

Intriguing offerings include the Hungarian pavilion that has water as its theme but has not used water in any exhibit.

A white-tiled laboratory in the Morocco pavilion is lined with dried plant extracts that promise a cure for everything from insect bites to eye infections.

The fun educational content in the Dubai Cares pavilion literally has children and adults yelling for more.

Andrea Novakova, a Czech tourist, said the pavilions made her think and want to travel more.

“I have found new places I want to visit. It’s also made me step back and think about things we take for granted, like water and greenery,” she said.

Here are five unmissable pavilions to see before Expo ends on March 31.

Morocco’s Instagram moments

A room full of old, large wooden doors that open with information bout green energy at the Morocco Pavilion. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The facade of the stacked rectangular block structure is built entirely of earth to depict mud-bricked homes in villages.

A sloping path links the interior exhibition spaces and people start the tour at the top of the building, making their way to the ground.

A room with a huge, slow-spinning chandelier provides one of many Instagrammable moments.

Visitors wait patiently in different corners of the room to capture the patterns the light throws on the walls and floor.

In a section on plant power, glass bottled jars of medicinal extracts detail the uses to treat ailments from pulmonary complications to arthritis.

Visitors are in for a surprise when they train their phone on a large, seemingly static artwork and the map of Africa emerges on long wooden lines.

Wave your hand over sensors in a room packed with intricate, hand-carved doors and watch each door open with details about the country’s solar plants and plans to boost energy production from renewable resources.

Hungary’s water of life

The ball pit at the Hungary Pavilion. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The pavilion aims to make a splash without using a single drop of water.

Instead, a continuous flowing stream of blue light winds across the floor to evoke water.

“You will have the feeling of water without water anywhere in the pavilion,” a guide said.

The landlocked country treasures its natural resource and this decision is part of its sustainability goals.

Before you take the stairs to start your tour, trail your fingers across walls blanketed with interactive moving images of water.

The walls ripple, splash and turn into waves, reacting to the movement of your hands.

Using technology and immersive experiences, the installations recreate thermal water lakes that stay warm through the winter.

Visitors learn about salt chambers, water caves, saunas and spas used by athletes for recovery, patients for physiotherapy, skin conditions and respiratory disorders.

A large ball pit under a darkened dome at the end of the tour is a favourite with adults joining children as the screen lights up with bubbles.

Finally, you can taste the mineral-rich water. Check if you can spot the difference between three kinds of liquid that vow to soothe frown lines, smooth your hair and settle your digestive tract.

A shout out for Dubai Cares

Visitors check the future of education at the Dubai Cares Pavilion. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

You are in for a treat with creative displays that show the path of education in the future.

Strap on virtual reality sets that allow you to drop the heart, kidneys, lungs and brains into the correct cavities in a 3D skeleton or soar over the Expo site.

A big hit with mothers and children is a cubicle in which you can scream your heart – or lungs – out.

Here children are not shushed when they shout.

Instead attendants encourage them to shout and a meter lights up the louder they yell inside an enclosed booth.

Well-crafted video messages tell the audience of the organisation’s goal of education as a building block and how funding has helped to provide a brighter future for children in countries around the world.

Enoc powers up

Visitors at the Enoc Pavilion at the world fair in Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

A helpful signboard logs the experience time as 11 minutes, with 18 people allowed inside a steel and aluminium structure that asks visitors to "reimagine energy".

Rooms come alive with vivid illustrations to show how the Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company powers the city.

In one room, models of buildings, schools, the airport, planes and cars light up as people wave their hands over more than 30 panels on the wall.

In another space, when the audience moves the cursor on a computer screen, a central tower shoots out swirls of light that follow the movement of people standing directly in front of it.

The company aims to show how each person has a personal connection with the energy they consume.

A quick tour takes visitors through a turbo-charged description of what is energy, the connections it creates and the promise it holds for the future.

Magical Peru

Rich colours of the Peru Pavilion at the Expo in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

From the moment you step inside the eye-catching, textile-cloaked pavilion and on to a handwoven rope bridge, the country invites you on a magical journey through rugged terrain.

You will learn more about age-old ruins of the Inca empire and watch panoramic footage of snow-capped Andes mountains.

Short lessons are shared on how more than 2,500 varieties of quinoa originate in the Andes and superfoods such as purple corn are ground and boiled to create a drink filled with antioxidants.

The visually-rich site takes visitors past tall panels showing majestic waterfalls.

Walk past images of lush rainforests where jaguars and giant anacondas lurk. It is also home to endangered turtles and bright-coloured macaws that have tourists reaching for their cameras.

In the final room guests are invited to dance around a symbolic tree decorated with ribbons as part of an age-old ritual.

Updated: March 23, 2022, 7:56 AM
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