Officially closing its doors after 182 days of activations and events, Expo 2020 Dubai has concluded with an impressive turn-out and elaborate showcase, punctuated by a colourful closing ceremony on Thursday as the site now prepares to transform into a multi-billion dollar mini-city in the desert.

The six-month-long exposition, staged under the central theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, defied the tremendous challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic to bring over 190 participating nations, including multilateral organisations and academic institutions, in a moment to exchange new ideas and perspectives, inspire change and create a brighter future.

The site will now be envisaged as a car-free "15-minute city", with all parts accessible by foot or bicycle within a quarter of an hour, setting the stage for District 2020 and a plethora of new businesses and activations.

“During the Expo 2020 Dubai journey, we portrayed to the world a different version of ingenuity that touched the hearts and minds of every member of society. Our sons and daughters have proven their ability to overcome unprecedented difficulties and challenges,” said HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The new city will see eighty percent of the structures remain, including a few country pavilions that will stay on as major cultural attractions, including the UAE, Saudi and India, while the Sustainability Pavilion (Terra) will be transformed into a Children and Science Centre. The Mobility Pavilion (Alif), Vision Pavilion, Mission Possible, and Dubai Exhibition Centre will remain unchanged. The first cohort of 85 startups and small businesses will set up shop at District 2020 by the end of this year.

“The UAE and Dubai will continue, God willing, to be graceful and strong – and able, to Connect Minds and Create the Future with this exceptional government, and the leadership of my brother Mohamed bin Zayed,” HH added.