With just over a week to go before the United Arab Emirates marks 50 years since its historic unification, Expo 2020 Dubai has announced 50 ways to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee.
Expo organizers have announced a month-long celebration packed with Emirati events, attractions and performances, with events celebrating calligraphy to pearl diving, the Bedouin lifestyle to the Dubai story, abayas to camel milk cafes, fireworks to Emirati food celebrations.
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Here are some of the top 50 things to do.
1) Visit the UAE pavilion
The UAE Pavilion is reminiscent of a falcon in flight and is inspired by the country’s national bird. Once inside, take a multisensory journey that chronicles the rise of a nation of “dreamers who do.” The pavilion boasts dunes of real sand and visitors can learn about the UAE’s nation’s founding father Sheikh Zayed, the natural wonders of the Emirates and their rapid modernization.
2) See the fireworks and an airshow at al-Wasl Plaza
Al-Wasl Plaza will host a number of events throughout the 50th celebrations, including parade of horses, a musical police band and a spectacular airshow.
3) See Emirati handicrafts at al-Meghzal
Al-Meghzal is a contemporary Emirati storytelling experience based on a conversation between a boy and his grandmother. It showcases the passing on of the heritage and wisdom of the past to the generation of the present and how Emirati handicrafts continue to inspire us today.
4) Visit a pop-up food experience at Saddle
Saddle is an Emirati-branded pop-up food experience, built around serving innovative food that’s sourced from all over the world. They are known for their specialty coffee, healthy breakfast options and home-made crepe recipes.
5) Visit the Alif – The Mobility Pavilion
In today’s hyperconnected world, mobility is more important than ever – so what better way to embody this than through a visionary structure that looks ready to take flight? With its space-age contours and awe-inspiring exhibits, Alif – The Mobility Pavilion offers visitors an immersive journey through the spectrum of human movement
6) Take the children to an Emirati ‘pillow fort’Through this marble sculpture of the takiya, traditional Emirati floor pillows, Emirati designer Afra Aal-Dhaheri revisits moments of impromptu play. The massive scale materializes the comparison in size felt by a child when piling up a pillow tower or fort.
7) Witness a historical theatrical production
Take your children to hear a story about a young boy becoming a man and a horse that rediscovers her love for life. Visitors at al-Adiyat can learn how the boy and the horse is a tribute to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and an acknowledgement of his visionary character that delivered the dream of Dubai to its people during this 20-minute theatrical production.
8) Tour the Vision Pavilion
The Vision Pavilion at Expo 2020 celebrates the insight, values and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Across three galleries filled with captivating exhibits, the pavilion explores the Dubai ruler’s personal story and celebrates the Emirati people and culture of Dubai.
9) Hear about the UAE’s ancestors at sea
Based on the Golden Jubilee theme of water, the ‘Expressions’ sea showcase looks to the UAE’s humble beginnings and takes visitors through a story of resilience – the story of the UAE’s ancestors at sea. Guests are immersed in a nostalgic trip to the past exploring the art of navigation and pearl diving and honoring the contributions of those who came before us.
10) Take a sip of Emirati coffee
Emirati homegrown brand RX harbors a vision of bringing people together through the power that lies in a cup of coffee.
11) Shop Emirati designs
ONOGRAM is a multidisciplinary design firm that aims to preserve and revive Emirati heritage, emphasizing on the values that made the people of the UAE what they are today.
12) Celebrate the UAE’s Golden Jubilee with Expo 2020’s Al Wasl Opera
As the UAE gears up to mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations, Expo 2020 Dubai is launching a landmark opera, in collaboration with Welsh National Opera (WNO), that honors thousands of years of UAE history, its achievements to date and its aspirations for the future. Al Wasl Opera’s premiere run takes place at Dubai Opera from December 16-19, making it the perfect opportunity to celebrate the nation’s remarkable 50-year journey of accomplishments through a unique artistic showcase.
13) See Emirati calligraphyInkByAmna is a local, young business that reflects a passion for calligraphy and wax sealing, with a goal of providing a launching pad for beginners to start their journey in this field.
14) Learn about Emirati artisan culture
MENASA (“Platform” in Arabic) – Emirati Design Platform offers visitors an overview of the UAE’s vibrant artisan culture. Its bespoke collections are created with top local and international designers and explore six Emirati “Craft Stories”: safeefa, clay, talli, sadu, coffee and pearl. Each story leads you through the processes involved in crafting items, including woven baskets, sadu rugs and pearl-encrusted jewelry.
15) Taste UAE chocolate
A UAE homegrown brand, Cocoville caters to everyone. Being a local brand, Cocoville tends to have a greater understanding of local tastes and benefits from stronger community ties and cultural identities, resulting in a competitive edge
16) Visit Sameem, and hear about the UAE’s history
An open-air pavilion that takes you on a journey through time, where you can engage with Emirati storytellers, artists and artisans as things are built in real-time.
17) Visit a Majlis
Visit a majlis for “foala conversations.” The “foala” is something that falls at the very heart of Emirati tradition. It signifies the hospitality offered to guests as an expression of warmth and togetherness. Friendly and informal in nature, foala conversations often occur over a shared platter of home-made sweets, coffee and dates. In order to bring this timeless tradition to Expo 2020 Dubai, a number of pocket panels will manifest on Expo 2020 Dubai’s Majlis plots across the site.
18) Shop Emirati Haute couture
Amalfi Fashions, founded and designed by Dr. Amal Nasser, is the first Haute Couture Abaya shop in Sharjah. They curate designs that reflect both the modern and natural world.
19) Pick up a piece of Emirati jewelry
Hassa Jewelry offers the world pieces that are inspired by Expo 2020 Dubai as well as signature pieces showing the bond and love between the brand and horses.
20) Design an aircraft at Emirates pavilion
Discover the future of aircraft cabin design while designing your very own aircraft, experimenting with robotic arms and exploring the innovative metallic and composite materials of the future
21) Eat at one of the UAE’s first restaurants
Arabian Tea House is one of the first traditional Emirati restaurants. Opened in 1997, it remains a place where tourists and locals come time and again for a journey back to the city’s past and to explore its cultural heritage. They showcase Emirati cuisine to the world, prepared with original “grandma’s recipes” and create an ambience where people can come and experience Emirati hospitality.
22) See the Expo from Garden in the SkyMake your way to the Garden in the Sky, where you can stand on its tree-lined upper deck more than 90 meters from ground level and get that perfect panoramic shot.
23) See how water, earth and fire combine to make the Expo 2020 water feature
Step inside the 14-meter-high walls of the Expo 2020 Water Feature and be mesmerized by the 360-degree immersive water, light and fire show, set to music curated by Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi.
24) Visit the Majlis Cafe for camel milk beverages
The Majlis Cafe is the first camel milk cafe in the UAE. It is a holistic concept that reflects the elaborate sense of Arabian hospitality and culinary delights.
25) Eat at Tawa; an Emirati gluten-free cafe
If you don’t eat gluten or avoid it, confidently order at this Emirati homegrown brand knowing that everything’s prepared in a 100 percent gluten-free kitchen.
26) Shop Emirati fine jewelry
Hashi is a fine jewelry brand which crafts individual pieces with a nod to Emirati culture.
27) Visit a space city
The space city is a fun-filled immersive experience where visitors can bounce over nets in the “zero-gravity” chamber and power a rocket by jumping on energy-generating tiles. Embark on your own mission to Mars by hopping aboard a replica of the UAE’s Hope Probe
28) Shop Emirati perfume
Allover is a brand born in Abu Dhabi and offers a versatile range of uncompromised quality-oriented fragrances.
29) See Emirati-made sculptures