UAE - With a new Guinness World Record, Expo City Dubai has unveiled a new season of events and entertainment, including high-tech experiences, cultural festivals, new dining options and a slew of sports and wellness initiatives.

On Thursday, Al Wasl Plaza – the beating heart of the futuristic and sustainable community – set the Guinness World Record for the largest interactive immersive dome, spanning 24,038 square metres.

Being immersive means visitors will be able to interact with Al Wasl Dome through their mobile phones and smart devices using augmented reality (AR). One of the interactive experiences include focusing a smart device at any point of the 360-degree projection and a computer-generated flock of birds will follow.

The laser light projection and computer-generated content bring about multiple sensory encounters, including visual and auditory.

Alwaleed Osman, official adjudicator at Guinness World Records, noted: “Al Wasl Plaza stands as a testament to architectural excellence and a distinguished structure that resonates with those who have had the privilege of experiencing it. Its recognition in Guinness World Records underscores the commitment of Expo 2020, and the subsequent Expo City Dubai, to innovation and excellence.”

Bringing people together

The new Guinness World Record is not the only exciting development at Expo City Dubai. Amna Abulhoul, executive creative director, events and entertainment, said: “Al Wasl, which means ‘connection’ in Arabic, continues to bring people together, and we are thrilled to share details of our new experiences at the same time as our iconic interactive dome has received this prestigious recognition.

“From interactive augmented reality and a tribute to legendary explorer Ibn Battuta, to the launch of a sustainable café and the return of our popular Winter City and Hai Ramadan festivities, our upcoming offerings cement our city as a hub of creativity, innovation and wellbeing,” she underlined.

Creative F&B

Al Wasl Plaza Café, a homegrown brand offering Arabic fusion cuisine, also opened on Thursday. Abulhoul noted the café will serve as a hub of creativity and innovation as they will collaborate with Emirati chefs to created signature F&B (food and beverage) offerings.

What makes Al Wasl Plaza Café extra specials is that diners can not only enjoy the food but also the ambience of dining amidst 32,000 floral lights in the garden.

“The café is one of many new F&B outlets setting up in the city, from plant-based cuisine to high-class dining, and including brand new concepts as well as the return of some Expo 2020 Dubai favourites,” Abulhoul added.

What to watch out for

Expo City Dubai is the venue for upcoming COP28 or the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) taking place from November 30 to December 12.

One of the interesting events taking place in the run-up to COP28 include -22.7°C by Molécule, an artistic musical adventure happening on October 27 and 28 that highlights Greenland’s rapidly melting ice.

Several changes are also taking place at Expo City as it prepares for COP28. Khaleej Times reported early this week that six pavilions and attractions (Terra, Alif, Vision and Women’s Pavilions, Stories of Nations and Latifa’s Adventures) will be temporarily closed for 12 days from November 18 to November 29 to incorporate changes for the hosting of COP28.

Artist’s dome

In terms of artistic pursuits, Dubai Calligraphy Biennale – the first of a series of collaborations with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority – will take place from October 21 to 28. Not to be missed are Japanese VR/NFT artist Aimi Sekiguchi and Emirati painter, photographer and sculptor Mattar Bin Lahej.

Sekiguchi will paint in the air and her creation will instantaneously be projected on Al Wasl Dome

Bin Lahej – who is more popularly known as the Emirati calligrapher who carved out the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, on Museum of the Future – will also create a move art piece that will come to life on Al Wasl Dome.

Music, arts and fitness

More events are lined up at Expo City Dubai, including the inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Film Festival (AIFF) and Winter City taking place from December 8 to January 7, 2024

Next year, Expo City will also host music, food and arts festival Break the Block and the Middle East debut of electronic dance music festival Untold

Expo City is also keen in promoting sports and fitness activities, including the Dubai Half Marathon on February 4 next year and the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge on February 24 and 25.

Hai Ramadan will also return for the second consecutive year from March 11 to April 10, showcasing the true spirit of the Holy Month.


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Angel Tesorero