Shanghai’s World Expo Kicks Off
The Beijing Olympics may be over, but China is making headlines again–now with the Expo 2010 Shanghai, which began on Friday evening.
Expectations seem to be as big as China itself. Of all world expos, it covers the largest area (5.28 km), costs the most ($4 billion for the Expo itself, and about $45 billion for city remodeling), has the most participants (190 countries and more than 50 international organizations), and is expected to draw the largest crowd (70-100 million visitors).
Since the first showing in London in 1851, world expositions have existed for the exchange of ideas and to showcase each country’s latest developments in economy, culture, science and technology. The theme of this year’s Expo, running from May 1 to October 31, is “Better City, Better Life.”
The theme is fitting, given that since winning the Expo bid in 2002, Shanghai has been remodeling the city to prepare for it, building new roads and highways, subway lines, and airport terminals. Also among the city’s new safety precautions: Adding metal detectors to subway entrances and screening cars entering Shanghai.
The Expo kicked off on Friday night with opening ceremonies that included 2,300 performers (among them: Jackie Chan and Andrea Bocelli), a fountain shooting water 262 feet high, and fireworks (above).
Those who visit the US pavilion–whose motto is “Rise to the Challenge”–can see a Hollywood-produced film about the environment in a movie theater with 4-D effects, acts like musician Herbie Hancock, and booths selling Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut (ah, the reflections of American culture abroad).
China’s pavilion dominates in size–the red “Crown of the East” is a six-story inverted pyramid that rises 206 feet high. At Denmark’s pavilion visitors can see the bronze statue of the Little Mermaid from Copenhagen–the first time it’s been out of the country. Japan’s pavilion
- Nat Geo Expeditions
offers environmentally focused technologies–outside, its exterior is embedded with solar cells; inside, its floor generates power when visitors walk on it. Even North Korea will be there–it’s the first time the country has been represented at any world expo.
Admission for a standard single day pass is 160 CNY (US$23), a 3-day pass is 400 CNY (US$50), and an evening pass is 90 CNY (US$13).
For more about Shanghai, check out our City Guide. Attending the Expo? Let us know what you think!
Photo: Shanghai World Expo 2010