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Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh selected as host city for World Expo 2030

World’s Fairs are global events that celebrate great human achievements in engineering, culture and innovation. For example, the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower, a feat of engineering designed to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution on the occasion of this exhibition. Almost 140 years later, Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, a country with towering ambitions, has been chosen to host Expo 2030. This choice was determined by a secret ballot in which Riyadh received 119 votes out of 165.

The Riyadh Expo 2030 is expected to draw 40 million visitors. Saudi Arabia’s vision for the Expo includes a comprehensive public transportation system and a modern, circular area featuring green spaces, electronic gaming amenities, extensive performance areas, and sports facilities. These developments are not only for the Expo but also for future ambitions of the country like the 2034 World Cup. 


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“The legacy of Riyadh Expo 2030 will go beyond the buildings,” said the Kingdom’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan,  “We are about a journey, a journey that brings the world together (..)  So that will be the legacy, working together for a brighter, more prosperous future.”

Spotlighting global achievements

World fairs, or Expos, have long been a stage for countries to showcase their innovations and cultural achievements. These global events trace their origins to the mid-19th century, beginning with the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, which set a precedent for future world fairs. Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, was instrumental in organizing the first World Expo, titled ‘The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations.’ Held in London’s Crystal Palace from May to October 1851, in order to reflect the dynamism of the Industrial Revolution, showcasing the technological and material advancements of the era. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), established in 1912, has since overseen these grand exhibitions.


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The World Expos have always been a platform for technological and cultural milestones. For instance, Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone at the 1876 Expo in Philadelphia, and Philo Taylor Farnsworth’s television was displayed at the 1939 World Expo in New York. These innovations highlight the Expos’ role in shaping modern society. 

World Expos are no stranger to the Middle East. The most recent Expo before Riyadh’s selection was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The next one is set to take place in 2025 in Osaka, Japan.


See also

5 things to see in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia

Published on 29 November 2023

#Saudi Arabia