Around the World in Two Days

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series The Emirates

Global Village is the fastest way to travel the world.

…Not literally, of course,  but this seasonal, cultural extravaganza allows you to visit most of the globe within a few hours.

Dubai is home to the world’s largest entertainment enterprise,  opening annually for the winter from November to April. It features over 30 pavilions, each representing countries from the continents of Europe, Africa, South Asia, the Far East, the MENA and the Americas.

Lady Liberty stands at the entrance to the global village, Dubai. Photo © Ayesha Patel

The entrance of this wonderland features all of the world’s biggest landmarks, from the Burj khalifah to Big Ben, to Lady Liberty to the Eiffel tower.

The colossal pavilions surround the main centre stage, on which there’s a performance every night. Each pavilion’s architecture is designed to imitate the country it represents. It has pictures of the country’s figure-head and a stage where performers replicate popular dances and styles of music. They also feature food and clothing stalls to serve the country’s food and fashion.

The Egyptian pavilion © Ayesha Patel

Egypt’s pavilion celebrates the Ancient Egyptian period by surrounding a pyramid, which visitors can climb (with steps) in order to admire the rest of the pavilion. Staff dressed as pharaohs sell traditional rugs, clay cat sculptures and small trinkets. Children can create their own bookmarks with their names written in hieroglyphics and there are Egyptian nuts and sweets on offer.

Of course, as the host of Global Village, the UAE is one of the bigger pavilions. Much attention is brought to the nomadic lifestyle of the Emirati people before the Emirates (particularly Dubai) became a world tourist destination. Bedouin houses are part of the pavilion’s structure for anyone who wants to see the way locals used to live. There is also a performance of the traditional Ayala dance, which locals would perform in the desert using sticks.

The Emirates pavilion showcases traditional building styles © Ayesha Patel

In 2016, a pavilion was created for the first time to represent the Americas. Inspiration for the architecture of the pavilion has come from the Mexico City cathedral and the Washington DC Capitol building, nicely tying together North America and Latin America.

The main stage is central to the entire extravaganza, singers from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East perform there every Friday night as a part of the Global village concert series. Big names have starred: Cheb Khaled from Algeria, Nancy Ajram from Lebanon, Shreya Goshal from India, and many more. Friday night is definitely the best night to visit, with the best of Middle Eastern talent representing the region.

The infamous Burj Khalifa (replica). Photo © Ayesha Patel

Visitors sometimes flock towards the pavilion that represents their own country to enjoy some of their own food before tasting and experiencing what other pavilions have to offer. Often, people will find that because there’s so much to see, they can’t possibly tour the extravaganza in one evening and instead plan their trip across two evenings. Therefore, the motto “A new world every day at Global Village”, is what visitors should expect. Anyone deciding to travel to the UAE won’t want to give this tourist attraction a miss — they will be left in awe after experiencing this educational and interactive cultural and heritage centre.

Featured image © Ayesha Patel

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