After eight years of planning and billions of dollars in spending, the Middle East’s first ever world fair opened on Friday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with hopes the months-long extravaganza draws both visitors and global attention to this desert-turned-dreamscape.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed Expo 2020 back a year and may affect how many people flock to the U.A.E. See some of the performers, pavilions and displays from the world fair, which began with the opening ceremony yesterday.

Opening ceremony highlights

Dubai opened its extravagant expo Thursday, with a flashy ceremony boasting fireworks and lights displays. Here, artists carry national flags during the opening ceremony.

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

British singer Ellie Goulding performs at the opening ceremony.

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, left, leaves the stage after his performance.

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

Performers in costumes

A woman performs on stilts at the expo on Friday. 

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

Performers dressed as jaguars pose near the water at the Brazil pavilion.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

An acrobat in action at the expo.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

Qataris take part in a traditional sword dance at the opening of the Qatar pavilion on Friday.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

Egypt pavilion

A man takes a selfie of a display inside Egypt’s pavilion.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

Visitors gather around the ancient wooden coffin of the priest Psamtik. 

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

Italy pavilion

People line up to see the Italian pavilion on Friday.

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

A giant replica of a Roman statue is pictured inside the pavilion.

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan pavilion

The following photographs show scenes from the Japanese pavilion on Friday.

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Visitors watch an animated wall inside the pavilion.

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain pavilion

People pass by the Spain pavilion on Day 1 of the expo.

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

Journalists visit the Spain pavilion themed Intelligence for Life.

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

During a media tour, journalists visit the Dinamo, an audiovisual installation specifically designed for the Spain pavilion. 

(Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press)

Switzerland pavilion

A family takes a photo in front of Switzerland’s pavilion.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

A man walks through a foggy mist simulating climbing a mountain inside the Swiss pavilion.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

U.S. pavilion

An image of late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs is displayed at the U.S. pavilion. 

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

The interior of the pavilion.

(Giuseppe/Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

Outside other pavilions

The Russia pavilion. 

(Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

The Australia pavilion.

(Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.A.E. pavilion is seen at sunset on Friday.

(Jon Gambrell/The Associated Press)

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