Visited June 12, 2010. The expo opened from May 1 to October 31, 2010.
“Better City, Better Life” is the theme of China’s World Expo that ran from May 1 to October 31,2010 in Shanghai. Located along both banks of the Huangpu River, the expo site covers 5.28 square km and is an eye-catching sight when one enters Shanghai city. The expo alone hosted pavilions for 250 participating countries and international organizations. Over 73 million visitors have explored the pavilions—the largest attendance in world expo history thus far.
The idea of public exhibition originated in France during the 19th century. However, the first international expo took place at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, UK in 1851 to exhibit international manufactured products. Later, world expos featured art, design, innovations, tourism, and international trade and relations; all of these are intended for cultural exchange and showing a favorable national image.
This was my first expo visit. I was fascinated by the unique architecture used to represent each country. When we attended, line-ups for each pavilion ranged from 1 to 2 hours, because there were a lot of people. Apparently, at least 400,000 people visited the expo each day. A good portion of the people who visited was Chinese from other provinces; these people were given the opportunity to come to the expo by sponsored buses in order to learn about the world.
Due to the crowds and humid weather, we only went to a few select pavilions, those of which I will discuss here.
First and foremost is the China pavilion called the “Crown of the East,” which is marked by its distinct roof in the duogong (brackets) style dating from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-467 B.C.E.). The duogong style involves brackets laid between layers on top of crossbeams and columns. Inside the pavilion, there are individual exhibitions representing the provinces and minority groups of China. This was a delightful experience for me to see the diversity of Chinese culture in terms of art, landscape, industry, and history.
We walked throughout the expo, mostly admiring the beautiful facades of the pavilions of other countries. We did, however, visit the Belgium pavilion, where we spied two European Union star mascots posing with people in the line-up for pictures.
Amidst the technical information about Belgium, we spied a section on Tintin—the boy scout and reporter icon of world literature created by Hergé in 1929. The Musée Hergé is a definite visit when I visit Belgium in the future.
The food in the expo was predictably international, catering to a variety of peoples. We had food from the middle provinces of China. It was spicy but not authentic cuisine, more like fast food.
After that, we walked to the other end of the expo site and looked at the Africa pavilion, where they displayed the major countries’ culture and industry.
We finished our day with a walk back to the metro—the convenient transportation system that was expanded just to accommodate the influx of visitors. I wished we had an extra day to explore the expo, but the following day we had to go on our tour of Shanghai.
|Shanghai World Expo 2010|
Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination. (2011). Expo 2010 Shanghai, China. Retrieved from http://en.expo2010.cn/
Chappell, Urso. (2011, June 1). ExpoMuseum—The World’s Fair Museum. Retrieved from http://www.expomuseum.com/
Chappell, Urso. (2011, June 1). Shanghai World’s Fair—Urso Chappell’s Guide to China’s Expo 2010 for Visiting. Retrieved from http://www.shanghaiworldsfair.com/
Wikipedia. (2011, July 22). World’s Fair. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=World%27s_fair&oldid=440891311