Dubai Expo City welcomed dozens of visitors on Saturday, with many stepping foot on the site for the first time.
Those who visited Expo 2020 Dubai during its six-month duration said returning to the site stoked fond memories of the world's fair. But for those who missed it, it was a chance to get a feel of the historic event.
Holidaying in Dubai with his family, Unnikrishnan Govinad, 79, from India, said it was a dream come true visiting Dubai Expo City as he was only able to watch the expo from afar on his TV at home.
He spent his first day in Dubai visiting the newly opened, pedestrianised city.
“I heard about it and never had the chance to see it in real life,” he told The National.
“I’m very happy to be here and I'm glad I had the chance to come with my wife and my nephew, who is a resident here in the UAE.
“I couldn't miss this opportunity.”
Although the day began quietly, groups of visitors started to enter the legacy site from late morning.
While much of the area is still closed until next month's official relaunch, there is plenty on offer for those looking to spend a few hours exploring the site.
Tours inside the two pavilions that are currently open to the public — Terra and Alif — remain popular with visitors. Entrance fees for the pavilions are Dh50 each.
At about 11am, New Zealander Nick Sheppard, 39, arrived with his wife and two children. He had his sights set on the pavilions.
With help of the free buggy tours on offer, Mr Sheppard and his family were able to move around the city with ease.
“I came nine times during the mega-event and my boys really enjoyed the robots. It's a cool thing to be able to do it again,” he said.
“I decided to come despite the hot weather.”
Expo City Dubai, the UAE’s first fully pedestrianised neighbourhood, opened its doors to the public on Thursday, with free entry for all.
For Russian resident Evgenii Gusarov, 45, it was interesting to visit the site and see how it had been transformed after Expo closed its doors to the public in March.
“It is interesting to see how the project developed through the [months]. I visited many pavilions during Expo and wanted to see what happened to the whole area,” he said.
“I visited the Terra pavilion six times. It is my favourite pavilion.”
He came with his friend Irina Tsyplakova, who was visiting the area for the first time.
Ahmed Mahgoub, 41, from Sudan, has lived in the UAE for 11 years. He visited the world's fair 25 times between October last year and March this year.
“This is my chance to see it again. My friend came for a visit and I brought him to see the site. It became a popular tourist destination as many people across the globe heard about it,” he said.
Saturday was the first time touring the site for Filipino Noel Cosico, 37. He didn't visit during the world's fair owing to worries about Covid-19.
“I came with my brother to see the site when I heard it opened. I live and work in Abu Dhabi and didn’t have the chance to come before, due to Covid-19. It is nice being here and seeing what people were talking about,” Mr Cosico said.
For those that wish to visit without the heavy crowds, gates open every day from 10am to 5.30pm.