What does it take to organize an expo?

The country and venue of the Expo are traditionally chosen by the International Bureau of Exhibitions, headquartered in Paris.

To be able to participate and win in the tender, applicants must submit their applications and projects 6-9 years before the expected opening date of the exhibition. The United Arab Emirates, which will be the key topic of this article, won the bid to host the World Expo-2020 in 2013. That day will always be remembered in the country's memory, because it is a significant honor and responsibility to be the host of such a large-scale exhibition. There was a holiday for all UAE residents in celebration of this event. However, there were long preparations ahead as it was the first World's Fair in the Middle East and Africa.

The venue for the exhibition was a huge plot of desert in Dubai, which was planned to be transformed into a modern oasis. A new subway line, hotels, roads, and other facilities were constructed as part of the project. Everything that was created on an area of 4.38 square kilometers had a clear prospect of use after the end of the Expo. One can admire and talk about the UAE government's foresight endlessly, especially at a time when all mankind was gripped by terror and panic due to the beginning of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Yes, the government had to postpone the exhibition for a year, but it did not shake their plans in any way. All efforts were made to ensure a high level of safety and vaccination of all residents of the UAE. The UAE opened its borders for tourists in 2021, just as the rest of the world was recovering from the pandemic, and set a date for the exhibition to open.

On October 1, 2021, a remarkable global event took place. After eight years of preparation, the first World Expo in the Middle East opened its doors to visitors from around the world. Visitors to the Expo had the long-awaited opportunity to experience the cultures of the countries and to participate in a 6-month educational program under the slogan "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future".

Places at expo 2020 you can't miss

EXPO 2020 is the most global exhibition in history, showcasing the cultural characteristics of countries in all areas (art, food, music, etc.). More than 190 participating countries take part in the exhibition, each of which has prepared its own exhibition pavilion. There are three districts on the territory of the EXPO, representing the following sub-themes: "Opportunities", "Mobility" and "Sustainable Development". Each of the three districts has its own themed pavilion.

Al Wasl Plaza, covered with a domed roof, is a connecting element of the three districts. The dome has the world's largest 3D projection surface and looks like a luminous canvas against the night sky. The panoramic projection screen captures the imagination of visitors as it tells the history of the Arab region. It also shows the natural world of our planet, space and humanity's longing for a better future.

You can navigate around the exhibition area with the help of a map or a navigation app. We have compiled a list of what we think are the best pavilions that should not be overlooked during your visit to Expo 2020.

United Arab Emirates pavilion

The host country's pavilion is first on our list. Dubai's UAE pavilion stood as the largest and most spectacular at Expo 2020. It resembled a falcon in flight. The four-story building is a model of Emirati culture, containing the history of the country's development as well as its leaders' visions and plans. The pavilion lifts 28 carbon fiber wings several times a day. It lasts about three minutes and is almost invisible to visitors. There are hydraulic actuators that move the structures. The bird is intended to represent the national symbol of the UAE, a falcon, according to architect Santiago Calatrava.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion is second on the list in our guide to the exhibition. Just imagine, the pavilion occupies an area the size of two soccer fields and is the second largest after the UAE pavilion! The main feature of the construction was a mirror screen with 8,000 LED floodlights located on the outside of the pavilion. This made it the largest interactive mirror screen in the world. After sundown, the light is reflected in multicolored patterns, creating an amazing spectacle. The showroom itself features many installations that introduce visitors to the wonders of nature, the country's rich past and promising future.

Alif Pavilion

The futuristic "Alif - Mobility Pavilion" is one of the most distinctive icons of the exhibition because of its unusual appearance. With its curved facade and polished stainless steel cladding, it reflects the energy of the surrounding area. Visitors to the pavilion will discover how mobility is changing the way humanity lives, connecting people and promoting understanding between cultures.

The Mobility Pavilion features the world's largest passenger elevator, capable of carrying 160 passengers simultaneously. Visitors to the pavilion can explore the complex system of moving goods around the world and the future of urban mobility. They can also build their own robot or spacecraft, and watch robot and drone performances.

Russian Pavilion

The multicolored, domed Russian pavilion is nearly impossible to miss. It looks like a planet with colorful threads woven into its outer shell. At night, with all the lights on, the dome seems to spin. As the pavilion staff explained to us, it represents the endless process of learning. The constant changes in the direction of the threads symbolize the unstoppable pace of progress.

The exhibit hall is highly interactive with a multimedia show. At the center of the exhibit is a large kinetic brain sculpture. In case you missed biology lessons at school, the mechanical marvel interactively explains everything you need to know about how our brains work.

The pavilion hosts forums and presentations on the most current and progressive topics in energy, healthcare, information technology, investment and much more. In total, dozens of business-related events are held in the Russian pavilion during Expo 2020.

Pavilion of Kazakhstan

As you stroll through the Opportunity District, be sure to stop by the Kazakhstan pavilion. Inside the pavilion are interactive and tactile installations that allow guests to learn about the country's rich natural landscapes, resources, culture, biodiversity, flora and fauna. The exhibition hall presents various projects, including those demonstrating transportation potential, digitalization, industrialization, human capital and environmental development.

In addition, the pavilion houses a science and chemistry laboratory. Several unique daily shows and a panoramic movie theater demonstrate the interaction between artificial intelligence and humans.

Japanese Pavilion

The Japan Pavilion was one of the most technologically impressive and memorable experiences during our visit to the exhibition. At the entrance, you are given a smartphone with a set of instructions and escorted to the various halls, where you can enjoy watching presentations about Japan, its achievements and the basics of its culture. One of the most interesting halls you will visit is the one with the adorable miniatures that only the skillful Japanese could make. At the end of the tour, you will be assigned a personal avatar, designed based on your mannerisms as you walk through the halls. It's almost like having a personal Pokémon created based on what you interacted with during the hour-long tour. After the tour, you can enjoy Japanese cuisine at the restaurant across the hall from the pavilion, which serves delicious sushi on a rotating conveyor belt.

Moroccan Pavilion

The seven-story Moroccan pavilion is considered one of the best at the Expo for a reason. This huge building, 33 meters high and four thousand square meters in area, is located in the "Opportunity" area. A special feature of this pavilion is that it is made entirely of clay. This ancient traditional building technique helps to control the temperature in hot and dry climates. The tour of the Kingdom of Morocco begins with a video showing its history, landscapes, and culture. After that you have to enter a large elevator and go up to the seventh floor, and from there go down the ramp to the courtyard. Here you can see a replica of the oldest Homo sapiens skull ever found, over 315,000 years old.

Everyone knows how popular Moroccan cosmetics are, but few know the history of the argan tree and how unique this product is. However, in the Moroccan pavilion, you will have the opportunity to visit the apothecary room with aromas of herbs and spices grown in Morocco.

Emphasis has also been placed on the pursuit of sustainability and the country's intention to move to a carbon-free energy model.

Italian pavilion

Due to the consequences of the current climate crisis, the theme of the Italian pavilion exhibition was the concept of reconfigurability in modern architecture, as well as the intelligent use of resources and digital technology.

Materials such as orange peel, seaweed, sand, and coffee grounds were used in the construction of the pavilion, which resembles a tent in the desert. There are no walls inside the tent, but there are facades that are hung with ropes from recycled plastic and a curved roof made of boat hulls.

In addition, Italy does not forget the merits of its fashion houses and art. Jewellery by Bvlgari and Jannah, as well as an art installation by Sotiria by Simone Lingwa, all intended to demonstrate Italian beauty. 

Among other things, you can see the world's most exact replica of Michelangelo's David statue, created on a 3D printer. To digitize the sculpture's parameters and print it required over six months of work.

Germany Pavilion

To get a tour of this popular pavilion among visitors, we advise you to book a visit in advance through the “My Expo” app. The Germany Campus surprises visitors with its creative environmental ideas and interactive developments. Instead of a traditional exhibition hall, in accordance with the campus concept, the entire building becomes a platform for introducing German innovations.

Germany is known for its practicality and economizing tendencies. The campus is designed for intelligent resource consumption and circular energy. These design elements are reflected in numerous elements. The pavilion easily adapts to the climatic conditions in Dubai thanks to its smart design. As an example, the architects designed a transition space for visitors waiting in long lines before entering the campus to prevent temperature shock and reduce energy costs. Soft water mists allow visitors to gradually acclimatize. There are many small openings in the roof that let daylight into the space, making the entire structure glow from within..

There are three labs on campus that focus on contemporary issues related to the lab's themes - the Energy Lab, the Future City Lab and the Biodiversity Lab. Visitors can take part in interactive activities and discover something new for themselves, just as they would in a study campus. All in all, the pavilion showcases developments from around twenty companies, research centers and universities from various fields.

Netherlands Pavilion

The Netherlands Pavilion also supports the idea of reconfigurability in architecture and brings clean energy plans to life. The technology-equipped pavilion is called "Biotop" and is an integrated circular climate system that extracts moisture from the desert air to irrigate the garden and also collects solar energy. As you walk down the ramp leading inside the pavilion, you start to feel the temperature change. A covered cone-shaped vertical farm of edible plants on the outside and mushrooms on the inside occupies the main element of the pavilion's exhibit. The temperature and humidity in the cone are regulated by a chimney-like structure. From the humidity, the pavilion draws 800 liters of water per day to irrigate the plants, and organic transparent solar panels produce clean renewable energy. All pavilion structures are designed to be dismantled and reused, and the raw materials and biomass will be returned to local owners and reused in the environment.

The issues of ecology, protection and improvement of the environment were also highlighted among the other countries participating in the exhibition. The pavilions of Singapore, Hungary, Brazil, New Zealand, Seychelles and others focused on environmental issues such as climate change and pollution.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the unusual innovations and creative solutions of many other Expo pavilions. For example, the Finnish pavilion is a snow-covered Arab tent. The Swedish pavilion can transport visitors to the northern forests. The Spanish pavilion is designed with acoustic and thermal insulation.

As you have already understood, the Expo 2020 exhibition in Dubai knows no boundaries and will be able to surprise even the most sophisticated traveler. On the territory of the exhibition, there are many souvenir shops, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes. It is even possible to drink alcohol in the pavilions of the Czech Republic, Germany, and Belgium.

Access to Expo 2020 is open until March 31, 2022. Visiting the exhibition is quite affordable for the budget tourist. Visitors have at least three options when purchasing a ticket:

1. A season pass to visit the exhibition - valid until March 31, 2022.

The cost is AED 195 (~$53). You can visit the exhibition as many times as you like.

2. "1-Day Pass.

This ticket allows you to attend the show only once. Its cost is 45 AED (~ $12).

3. Premium tickets for business people, who have the opportunity to talk to the leading representatives of business, cost from 350 AED (~ $95).

Some categories of people can get into the exhibition for free. These categories include people with disabilities, children under 18, people 60 years and older, and students. You can buy tickets and read the rules for attending Esco 2020 on the official website of the exhibition. Come and enjoy the exhibition yourself!


The EXPO boasts a history of one and a half centuries, dating back to 1851. The first international exhibition was held at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in central London. "The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations", as it was called at the time, was a remarkable point in the history of the Industrial Revolution. It was visited by nearly a third of the British population. Because of this popularity, the concept was repeated around the world, showcasing the best innovations and heritages of global character. All significant inventions such as the mechanical computer (1862, London), the cell phone (1876, Philadelphia and 1970, Osaka), and the Super Hi-Vision Theater (2005, Aichi, Japan) were first introduced at the World Expo. For a while the focus of the Expo was only on material progress and technology. However, history shows that the impact of World War II has shifted the focus of public interest. Yes, of course, technological progress was still in the spotlight, but after that people became concerned with the process of promoting quality of life and establishing an international dialogue. Based on the way the themes of Expo exhibitions have changed, it has become obvious to look for an answer to the question of promoting human development and exchange. Such themes as "Progress and Humanity" (1958), "Peace through Understanding" (1964) or "Man and His World" (1967) attracted more countries to the global discussion and created a platform for active brainstorming. For example, in 1947 only nine countries participated in the EXPO, but in 2002 the number of participating countries reached 89. The evolution of the exhibition has increased the scale and provided all countries with equal opportunities to showcase their culture and heritage.