DUBAI: Dubai’s long-awaited Expo 2020 kicked off on Friday, with international guests arriving to celebrate the event’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
With representatives from 192 countries taking part, the 4.38 square-kilometer site features 200 pavilions.
The Arab countries with large contingents at the event include Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Syria, Palestine, Oman and more.
Saudi Arabia’s unfolding rectangular facade, rising six stories above the ground and featuring a 1,320 square-meter inclined mirrored screen, is designed to showcase the Kingdom’s ancient culture and heritage, the wonders of its natural landscape, as well as the rapid drive and innovation of its present and future ambitions.
Among its numerous accolades, the Saudi pavilion has been awarded the LEED Platinum Certificate by 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 interactive state-of-the-art water feature, largest LED mirror screen display and largest interactive lighting floor.
To celebrate Morocco’s participation in Expo 2020, the country’s pavilion offers daily folklore performances for visitors. With multiple shows set during the day, guests can watch short dances — with traditional music — commonly performed at weddings, parties and festivals throughout the country.
Expo 2020 also features more than 200 international restaurants, including Saudi Arabia’s famous fast food eatery Al-Baik, for visitors to enjoy while exploring the field.
To incorporate Arabic art, the site has calligraphy-inspired benches.
Designed by celebrated architect Asif Khan and Arabic typographer Lara Captan, the 50 benches spread around the event feature Arabic words such as “blessed,” “the good,” “decisiveness,” “determination” and more.
In the coming days, the event will host live performances including a show by Arab group Hosny Band that fuses Arabic oud melodies with Western chords on guitar.
Another show is Theater and Street Arts, which represents the cultural values of Portugal.