Egyptian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai heralds a future steeped in the past

DUBAI: The Egyptian pavilion proved, unsurprisingly, to be a major attraction at Expo 2020 Dubai. Since the creation of the World’s Fairs in the 19th century, the country has always participated in the event, participating as a renowned participant in the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

Egypt’s pavilions and exhibits at previous World’s Fairs have always been among the most popular and important, often focused on the country’s agricultural and industrial growth as well as its rich history.

For example, a guide to the 1851 exhibition mentions “a beautiful exhibition of Egyptian chemicals”. Then, between 1876 and 1904, Egypt used the World’s Fair to stimulate interest in its cotton industry and the infrastructure that supported it, such as bridges and railways.

Most importantly, Egypt has always been ahead of the game by developing an experiential format for world exhibitions, adding sensory richness and a sense of “being there” to its displays.

Again, going back to 1851, one commentator noted: “The Egyptian exhibit was one of the greatest exhibits… its entrance consisted of an arch suggesting entry into an ancient Egyptian temple.

Since the creation of the World’s Fairs in the 19th century, Egypt has always participated in the event and has always been a major attraction. Dubai 2020 is no different. (AFP)

Likewise, media reports from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair stated: “The biggest attraction of all, without a doubt, is the ‘streets of Cairo’ with its 180 men, women and children, theaters , camels, donkeys and dogs. “

Little of this showmanship was lost in the decades that followed. At Expo 2020 in Dubai, Egypt once again used its pavilion to showcase its national history, while carefully crafting an ambitious vision for its future.

Designed by Egyptian architect Hazem Hamada, the pavilion covers 3,000 square meters and combines the authenticity of Egypt’s remarkable history while highlighting its ambitious Vision 2030 program.

The four-story pavilion enjoys a prime location close to Morocco and Saudi Arabia in the Opportunity District. As a nod to its heritage, the building is printed with hieroglyphics, while three sharp angles near the entrance are indicative of its iconic pyramids.

Designed by Egyptian architect Hazem Hamada, the pavilion covers 3,000 square meters and combines the authenticity of Egypt’s remarkable history. (AFP)

The structure contrasts sharply with its neighbor Switzerland, whose pavilion is a blend of steel, cubic architecture and a mirrored facade – old and new, side by side, each daring and unique in its own way.

Upon entering the Egyptian Pavilion, visitors are taken on a 15-minute guided tour of a series of exhibits inspired by key moments in Egyptian history. Visitors are both guided by a “real life” host and greeted by a virtual guide, highlighting Egypt’s duality of authenticity and modernity.

The opening exhibit welcomes visitors with music and cascading projections of golden hieroglyphics that flow down the walls like rain. Next to these digital manifestations of modernity are famous artifacts from Egypt’s past.

A notable exhibit is the sarcophagus of the priest Psammitic, son of Pediosit, recently discovered in the archaeological excavation sites of Saqqara. An immediately recognizable replica of King Tutankhamun’s golden funerary mask is accompanied by replicas of three of his sarcophagi.


* 3,000 m² – Surface area of ​​the Egyptian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, 19 m high and spread over 4 levels.

* 3 – Original ancient statues of Pharaoh on display, offering a glimpse of what to expect at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

* 4,000 – Years of commerce and innovation attached to the name of Egypt – a unique brand to attract new investments.

These pieces offer visitors a tantalizing glimpse of things to come when the highly anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo finally opens its doors, where Tutankhamun’s largest collection of relics will be on display – many for the first time since their discovery.

As with Egypt’s previous forays into the World Expo, the 2020 pavilion is carefully balanced to not only leave a lasting cultural impact, but also to convey a broader message.

Several exhibits focus on Egypt’s Vision 2030 agenda and the range of sustainable development opportunities it has to offer. The organizers are keen to present Egypt as a favorable investment destination connecting the world to the African continent.

The Suez Canal Economic Zone, Egypt’s Smart Cities and its tourism developments are just a few of the country’s prime investment vehicles.

The pavilion “finale” brings it all together in a digital collage of art, music and dance, blending tradition and vision, old and new. (AFP)

In telling the story of its ancient civilization, the Egyptian pavilion’s message to investors is: Let history be our guide. With some 4,000 years of innovation and commerce attached to its name, Egypt can say that its vision is based on raw experience.

The pavilion’s “finale” brings everything together in a digital collage of art, music and dance, combining tradition and vision, old and new, water and desert, verdant landscapes and blue oceans and modern commerce with ancient craftsmanship. It’s a bold, unique, engaging and impressive display.

Throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, the Egyptian Pavilion will host important figures from science, sport, arts and culture. It organizes more than a hundred events on topics ranging from urban development and tourism to sustainable development, agriculture and the quality of life of women and young people.

In addition, it hosts nine exhibitions on antiques, education, real estate and investing, which will include workshops, seminars, networking events and cultural fairs.

Given its long and proud history of world exhibitions, it is hardly surprising that the Egyptian organizing committee knows how to draw crowds. And with such a busy schedule of events, it will undoubtedly build on that well-deserved reputation, in this and many World’s Fairs to come.

About Pamela Boon

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