Dubai - The Expo 2020 Dubai, the first world expo held in the Middle East, closed on Thursday, with tens of thousands of visitors attending its official closing ceremony.
The ceremony was held at the iconic dome-structured Al Wasl Plaza, the central stage of the Expo's site, with the attendance of Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and deputy prime minister and minister of finance of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as other UAE and Expo officials.
International artists performed at the Al Wasl Dome while visitors watched the ceremony on giant TV screens at the Expo site.
"Today is not the end of Expo 2020 but a new beginning," said Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also UAE vice-president and prime minister, in a recorded message delivered at the ceremony.
"The UAE and Dubai will continue to be graceful and strong and be able to 'Connect Minds and Create the Future' with our exceptional government and the leadership of my brother Mohammed Bin Zayed," he said, referring to Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The flag of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), World Expo's organising body, was handed to the representatives of Expo 2025 Osaka during the ceremony.
Organisers said the Expo 2020 Dubai, which was postponed for a year to open in October 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has registered over 23 million visits.