The idea of a World’s Fair may seem somewhat quaint, calling to mind the first Great Exposition in London, England in 1851 or the electrical exhibits at the the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. However, the practice of holding international expositions has continued to this day. Now, as then, the expositions provide countries with an opportunity to show off, whether it be by displaying new technologies or through cultural and artistic exhibitions.
This year, China is hosting a world’s fair in Shanghai. The Shanghai World Expo started on May 1st and will continue until October 31st, 2010. The theme of the expo is “Better City: Better Life,” and as you might imagine, China has gone all out to get the city of Shanghai in the best possible shape for the event, spending approximately $45 billion to prepare the city for the Expo. The opening ceremony featured a fantastic fireworks display, and additional festivities are planned throughout the event, which is expected to attract more than $75 million people (via the New York Times).
Each country participating in the Expo has a pavilion designed to show visitors the country at its best- France has brought some of its most famous art works, including paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Bonnard and Cezanne, as well as a statue by Rodin. Denmark has made its famous “Little Mermaid” statue the centerpiece of its pavilion. According to the NileGuidance blog, even tiny Kazakhstan has managed to put together a pavilion that exemplifies its “wealth of culture and open invitation to tourists.”
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