Remembering Expo 2020 Dubai: a visual journey through the highlights

As the reimagined site opens its gates, we look back at highlights from the world's greatest show

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It's been almost a year since Expo 2020 Dubai opened, bringing the world's greatest show to the UAE.

The celebration of opportunity, mobility and sustainability left a legacy that will last long after the end of Expo in March.

This week, Expo City Dubai opened its gates, giving the people of the UAE a chance to revisit two of the site's most popular attractions: Alif – The Mobility Pavilion; and Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion.

View of the Sustainability Pavilion at night. Pawan Singh / The National

The area, which is planned to be an economic centre, a residential space and a global destination for events and exhibitions, had a soft launch on September 1 ahead of the official opening in a month, one year after Expo 2020 Dubai began.

This is not the only way the legacy of Expo will live on. The entire site is an architectural marvel, and last month Al Wasl Plaza, the dome at the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai site, was longlisted for the Dezeen Award in architecture.

Artists performing during the UAE’s 50th National Day celebration at Al Wasl plaza.  Pawan Singh / The National

Measuring 130 metres in diameter and more than 67 metres tall, the structure incorporates an immersive projection experience. Known as the heart of the Expo 2020 site, its delicate-looking pattern was based on a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age ring found in the UAE. The ring was also the inspiration behind the Expo 2020 Dubai logo.

Students from Abu Dhabi Police Academy at Al Wasl Plaza. Pawan Singh / The National

The name Al Wasl, which translates as “the connection”, was chosen to reflect the area’s heritage as a meeting point across the region. The open space was a central gathering spot during Expo 2020 Dubai and will remain as a landmark of District 2020.

The flowing contours of the UAE pavilion. Victor Besa / The National

The UAE pavilion, with its stunning curves and flowing contours, has also been longlisted for a 2022 Dezeen Award in design.

Visitors follow a foggy path to the summit of the Swiss pavilion. Pawan Singh / The National

Expo will be remembered for its pavilions — the interactive, vibrant and educational ― as well as its striking light shows, parades, national day festivities, celebrity visitors and, of course, the incredibly Instagrammable water feature.

A young visitor checks out the Expo's popular water feature. Pawan Singh / The National

The event was a resounding success. According to organisers, the event had a record almost 1.6 million visits in one week and more than one million visits were reported on its final weekend, with nearly 23 million visits in total.

Cristiano Ronaldo taking a selfie with fans after a Q&A session for Expo’s Health and Wellness Week at Al Wasl Plaza. Pawan Singh / The National
Updated: September 02, 2022, 6:21 PM