Visitors flock to reopening of Al Wasl Dome on first night of Expo City Dubai

Repurposed site offers people the chance to experience the magic of the six-month world's fair, which ended in March

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Visitors have turned up in their droves for the first light show at Al Wasl Dome since Expo 2020 Dubai ended earlier this year.

The theme of the colourful display was "Reveal" and it was designed to celebrate the first day of the site’s new incarnation as Expo City Dubai.

Many of those in attendance had waited until sunset, strategically avoiding the heat.

As images were projected on to the roof of the dome, visitors could have been forgiven for thinking they had been transported back in time to the world's fair as familiar sounds and sights filled the auditorium.

Among those in attendance was Umair Jamil, a warehouse manager from Pakistan, who had brought a jacket covered in 700 Expo-themed badges.

“I have been here since 9am this morning. I couldn’t sleep last night as I was so excited about coming back again,” Mr Jamil said.

“I started collecting the badges last year when I was a volunteer at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Last time, I was here as a volunteer, but this time I am a visitor, so I am looking forward to experiencing it all again but through new eyes.”

Alongside him at Al Wasl Dome was Zameen Mohammed, an interior design student from India, who had taken along a book full of sketches of the pavilions, which he began in March — as the original Expo event drew to a close.

“It was last March that I realised I was going to miss the place so much. I decided to come in the mornings and start drawing sketches of the pavilions,” the University of Dubai student said.

“I am hoping that I will be able to complete the set now. The Expo was very dear to my heart.”

Saturday was the official opening of Expo City Dubai, with free entry for visitors. Four pavilions were open as well, each costing Dh50 to enter — unless a Dh120 day pass was purchased.

A soft opening took place at the beginning of September with two of the pavilions open to visitors.

Although the vast majority of the many pavilions from the world’s fair were no longer open, visitors were still free to wander around the entire site.

One guest said he could not wait to attend on Saturday because worries about Covid-19 had kept him away from the initial event.

“We decided to play it cautious as we were concerned over the pandemic and wanted to avoid large crowds,” said Ghamer Adala, a Filipino physiotherapist living in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s great to be finally here and witness the light show here in the Al Wasl Dome as I saw so many photos and videos of it throughout the duration of the Expo."

Joanna Selcott, from England, who was visiting her daughter in Dubai, said she was delighted that Expo’s second lease of life had given her the chance to witness it for herself.

“I am having a wander around and it’s fantastic. I’ll definitely be back again as well before I go back,” she said.

For one Sharjah resident it was all about the light show at Al Wasl Dome.

“I never managed to get to the Expo first time around,” said Sushil Kumar, a procurement manager from India.

“I really wanted to see the display at the Al Wasl Dome for myself and it’s amazing to be finally here.”

Updated: October 02, 2022, 10:41 AM