Which beloved world's fair landmarks will be part of Expo City Dubai?

Expo 2020 Dubai's legacy site will retain key attractions such as Wasl Dome, its striking water feature and the UAE pavilion

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The sprawling Expo 2020 Dubai site is to be reborn as Expo City Dubai — 12 months after it first captured the imagination of millions around the world.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday set out an ambitious vision for the legacy site to be a “hub of economic activity”. Major companies will make it their home and it will draw thousands of businesses and visitors.

The city will open in phases from October, a year after the mega event's spectacular opening ceremony.

As Dubai looks forward to the future, some of the cornerstones of the world's fair will remain central to its success.

More than a dozen top attractions that dazzled visitors, from the shining jewel of Al Wasl Dome and the hugely popular waterfall, to some of the most visited pavilions, will be at the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai's transformation.

Plans are already in place for some, as Expo takes another step forward in a remarkable journey.

Here, The National looks at the major attractions that will stand tall for years to come.

1 - Al Wasl Dome

Known as the Expo’s beating heart and its crown jewel, the 360-degree translucent structure will be a centrepiece of the new District 2020 legacy site.

The gigantic dome provided a stunning stage for top acts such as Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas and Alicia Keys, who enthralled fans from a sunken garden with more than 30,000 flickering LED lights.

While specific details on the dome's future are yet to be revealed, it will continue to be one of the site's biggest attractions.

2 - Expo waterfall

Global sport star Lionel Messi was among the visitors enthralled by the Expo water feature. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

Crowds poured into Expo 2020 Dubai during its six-month-run, and few left without an Instagram snap from the striking Surreal water feature.

It was created by the WET, the Los Angeles company that designed the fountains at Burj Khalifa and Bellagio in Las Vegas.

High-tech mechanics create an illusion that the water is racing upwards before the streams drop back down and disappear at the feet of spectators standing on the stone structure.

3 - Garden in the Sky

View from the Garden in the Sky at Expo 2020. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

The gently rotating observation tower soars 55 metres above the ground, offering a bird's-eye view of the Expo site.

It proved a hit with visitors keen to experience panoramic views of the world's fair from a tree-lined deck linked to an air-conditioned lower cabin with tall glass windows.

London designer Asif Khan was behind the observation deck, which will continue to flourish at Expo City Dubai.

4 - UAE pavilion

Styled as a falcon taking flight, the architectural marvel has long been earmarked for a key role in Expo's next phase.

The four-storey structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was a favourite landing spot both for Expo enthusiasts and world leaders alike.

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Co-operation, who served as director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said the pavilion would be integral to the Expo site's future.

“The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come,she said.

5 - Mobility pavilion

The Mare and the Foal sculpture outside of Alif - the Mobility pavilion. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

The glinting curved rims of Alif, the mobility pavilion, attracted millions of curious visitors for a glimpse of cutting edge technology.

Foster + Partners built a flexible structure that will continue to address the theme of mobility after the Expo ends.

It will also house offices.

The polished stainless steel building that resembles a giant fidget spinner also features the world’s largest passenger lift, carrying more than 160 people at a time.

It will host temporary exhibitions on mobility to attract tourists and residents.

6 - Terra, the sustainability pavilion

Terra - the sustainability pavilion - at night. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

The solar-panelled sustainability pavilion, Terra, will live on as a children's and science centre.

Net-zero for energy and water, the canopy will remain as an example of sustainable design.

Grimshaw Architects, the British firm that designed the pavilion, wanted it to make people think about water reduction and recycling strategies.

It will host workshops and temporary exhibition spaces to raise awareness about the environment and to inspire children to make changes in their everyday life.

7 - Opportunity pavilion

Branded 'Mission Possible – The Opportunity pavilion', the Expo staple focused on how every person can be an agent of change in helping to reach sustainable development goals.

It will continue to serve as a symbol of sustainability when it embarks on its second life, as the Expo 2020 Dubai Museum.

The new addition to the legacy site will highlight the history and impact of world expos and celebrate the success of the long-running international event.

8 - Vision pavilion

Visitors inside the Vision Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo; Expo 2020 Dubai

The Vision pavilion, designed and built as a gift and tribute to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, will remain as “a significant cultural asset", organisers had previously confirmed.

Inspired by the book My Story: 50 Memories from 50 years of Service by Sheikh Mohammed, the pavilion offered visitors a glimpse of the influences that have shaped his life with an in-depth guided tour.

The development of the pavilion was a top-secret project, initially led by an internal team of only four people, to surprise Sheikh Mohammed. He visited the pavilion for the first time on October 10.

9 - Saudi Arabia pavilion

The second-largest pavilion after the UAE, received more than 3 million visits during the global spectacle and will continue to draw crowds as part of Expo City Dubai.

It proved a major attraction thanks to its gigantic LED mirror screen, interactive water feature and about 8,000 floor lights.

Covering an area of two football fields, the pavilion, which resembles a giant window opening to the sky, was designed as a legacy structure to remain long after the world’s fair ends.

The six-storey structure earned a platinum rating in a global green index.

10 - Women's pavilion

The Women's pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

The pavilion was the first in more than a century dedicated to women at an expo.

It celebrated the significant — and often underrepresented — contributions of women in helping society advance.

Under the theme “When women thrive, humanity thrives”, the exhibits inside the centrally-located pavilion highlight the challenges women still face, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic.

It will continue to champion equality in society in the years ahead.

11 - Recording studio

The Firdaus Studio at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

The Firdaus Studio, a collaboration between the Expo and the composer AR Rahman, will serve as a creative space in which artists from around the world can collaborate.

Rahman’s vision is for a world-class space where musicians and directors will converge to record film scores, albums and multimedia projects.

It will also be the home for the Firdaus Orchestra, the UAE’s female ensemble that fuses Arab and western styles.

12 - Exhibition centre

Dubai Exhibition Centre will remain part of the vast Dubai South site. 
Pawan Singh / The National

Sited near the Dubai Metro Route 2020 station, within walking distance of the two hotels on the site, the centre was used as a competition arena for the World Chess Championships and international trade events.

The venue is being positioned as ideal for conferences, concerts, exhibitions, award ceremonies and weddings.

An expansive 45,000 square metres of event space will be used by companies in logistics, tourism, education and technology as part of plans to deliver world-class facilities in a global innovation hub.

New look for old favourites

Several more country pavilions will continue to enlighten and entertain visitors to the site.

Reworked versions of the Luxembourg, Australia, Pakistan, India, Morocco and Egypt offerings will be among those to continue to be part of Expo's legacy.

They helped shine a light on the culture, customs and bold plans of their countries, shedding a light on everything from fascinating ancient Egyptian civilisations to the rich history of India and Pakistan, nations that have millions of citizens who call the UAE home.

Updated: June 21, 2022, 5:34 AM
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