10 years ago today, Spain welcomed the world to Specialised Expo 2008 Zaragoza, the first of its kind. Over three months, the event gathered over five million visitors for an immersive journey into the theme “Water and Sustainable Development”, highlighting the issue of managing the Earth’s scarce resources and presenting solutions for the future.
The event was a watershed moment for the capital of Aragon, transforming the city’s riverbank and reinforcing its status as a global centre on water management. A decade later, a range of cultural events are being organised to commemorate the experience of Expo 2008, while also looking towards the ways in which the Expo’s physical and intangible legacy can be promoted.
Kicking off the celebrations, a special gala is being held today by the Aragon region, which will be followed this weekend by a ‘Fiesta’ in the Parque del Agua, organised in partnership with the city of Zaragoza. The two-day event in the park, which adjoins the former Expo site will feature over 100 activities for all ages.
Beyond this, cultural association Legado Expo Zaragoza 2008, a citizen-run initiative to promote the Expo’s legacy, is organising a four-month commemoration programme throughout the summer. Running from today until 14 September, the Association will hold activities in Expo 2008’s River Aquarium, the largest of its kind in Europe and the only Expo pavilion that remains open to the public as it was during the Expo. With an increased number of fish species and growing visitor numbers, the Aquarium plays a key role in international river ecology research, boasting 250 partnership agreements with other aquariums and universities.
Guided tours of the Expo site will also be organised, as well as conferences dedicated to how the Expo was planned and developed, and public debates focused on the future use of from the Expo site.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.