Zaragoza Expo 2008

Expo 2008, "Water and Sustainable Development"

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Quick List Info

Guidebook of Expo 2008

Dates Open - June 14, 2008 to September 14, 2008.

Attendance - 5,650,941 visitors.

International Participants - 104 nations plus twelve international organizations. BIE lists 108 official participants.

Total Cost - Initial budget was 106,500 million pesetas ($571 million). Cost in 2008 estimated at 700 million euros ($1.07 billion).

Site Acreage - 62 acres (25 hectares).

Sanction and Type - Bureau of International Expositions Special (Recognized) Expo. Sanctioned December 16, 2004.

Ticket Cost - One Day Pass 35 euro ($55.65). One Day Pass (Average Cost) - 27.78 euro ($43.27). Season Pass (Average Cost) - 129.73 Euros. Night Season Pass (Average Cost) - 108.67 Euros.

Photo top center: Overview of Expo, 2008. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Column Top: Official guidebook of Expo 2008, 2008, Expo Authority. Column Bottom: Official logo of Expo 2008, 2008, Expo Authority.

Official logo of Expo 2008, Zaragoza

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History of the Event

Seal of Expo 2008, Zaragoza

In 2000, the city of Zaragoza, Spain's fifth largest, began promoting their idea at the BIE and Hannover's World's Fair that they intended to bid for a small special class expo in 2008. It would be held to commemorate the 200th anniversay of the 1808 first centenary and the 100th anniversary of the French Hispanic Exhibition of 1908, which drew 500,000 visitors. Three years later they officially presented their bid to the Bureau, competing against Trieste, Italy and Thessanoliki, Greece. On December 16, 2004, they had been awarded the exposition and preparations began. The site would be along the Ebro River on the topic of water.

The expo authority constructed a variety of theme pavilions, some of which became the most popular attractions at the fair. The Water Tower (Water for Life) pavilion drew 1,273,155 visits. The Bridge (Water Resource) Pavilion had 1,144,264. The Pavilion of the Arts drew 568.823. The theme pavilion Aquarium, the largest fresh water aquarium in Europe, was also popular, and remains today as a legacy of the exposition.

Above photo. Seal of the exposition, 2008, Expo Authority. Middle: Spanish Pavilion at Expo 2008, 2008. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Bottom: Russia Pavilion in the international area of Expo 2008, 2008. Courtesy Pinterest.

Spanish Pavilion Expo 2008
There were 104 official nations participating, segmented into eight large buildings and ecocentric areas called Islands and Coasts, Oasis, Ice and Snow, Temperate Forests, Tropical Rainforests, Mountains and High Plains, Grasslands, Steppes and Savannahs, and Rivers and Flat Plains.

In the end, the exposition was deemed a success, although the nearly 6 million visitors was short of its seven million projection over its three month duration. Yes, most of the visitors came from Zaragoza 56,7% and the other areas of Spain 38,80%, with few visitors from foreign nations, 4,5%, but that's to be expected. It was a small special expo. But it was liked. 37.1% of all visitors came to Expo 2008 for more than 15 days. There was vibrant use of the season passes sold, 32,894 full season passes, 39,118 night passes. In total, the Expo Authority brought in 90,021,766 from ticket sales.

Russia Pavilion Expo 2008
Media Perspective

"It's Zaragoza's Turn to Make a Splash" - New York Times, June 8, 2008. Article focused on the ease of travel to Zaragoza, the expected seven million visitors, and praised the architecture and sustainability of the site, plus the whimsy of the water themed plazas. They promote visiting the remainder of historic Zaragosa.

"Spain's Expo 2008 on World Water Opens" - Reuters, June 14, 2008. Article focuses on Europe's largest fresh water aquarium, how expo would be a boost to Zaragoza, and the fact that Greenpeace didn't like the build up necessary to construct the expo and facilities versus the water sustainability theme.

BIE Special Expo

Mascots of Expo 2008

International Participants
Nations and Colonies

Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, East Timor, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen.

International Organizations: United Nations, European Union, Red Cross, and approximately nine others.

Note: It is sometimes difficult to tell whether certain nations actually participated in a significant way. Take the above as a guide, not gospel.

Expo Tidbits
Highest attendance day was September 13 with 133,536 visitors.

Spanish community pavilions with the most visits: Andalucia 519,159, Aragon 1,414,578; Principado de Asturias 783,602; Canarias 886,842; Cantabria 908,305; Castilla y Leon 749,511; Castilla - La Mancha 507,955; Cataluna 737,638; Ceuta 523,295; Comunidad Valenciana 927,593; Euskadi 623,938; Extremadura 612,860; Galicia 973,269; Islas Baleares 252,585; La Rioja 989, 392; Madrid 696,114; Melilla 503,696; Navarra 1,026,187; Region de Murcia 594,814.

The most popular International Pavilions were Angola 1,281,424; Saudi Arabia 1,266,423; China 1,373,322; Spain 1,292,507; Japan 1,087,200; Malaysia 1,168,409; Morocco 1,514,867; Qatar 1,564,328; Turkey 1,033,086; Italy 1,062,245.

The entertainment program of Expo 2008 consisted of 3,400 acts from more than 350 artists.

The Zaragoza site was designed with a permanent legacy in mind. Intentions were for the Aragon Building to become a regional ministry of the Government of Aragon, Water Tower and Bridge Pavilion financial instititutions, the international pavilions as an office or science park, and the Spanish pavilion as the new school of architecture for the University of Zaragoza. The Water Tower was bought by the bank, Caja de Ahorros de la Inmaculada (CAI) and reopened in 2013. The Bridge pavilion was bought by Ibercaja Bank and is used for expositions. The Aquarium was to remain open and still is, the largest river aquarium in Europe at 3,400 square meters. By 2012, the buildings of the site (Ronda, Ebro, and Actur) had been or were being retrofitted to their new uses.

Zaragoza, Spain

Those in Charge
Jeronimo Blasco, Director of the Expo 2008 Consortium.

Sources: Final Report of Expo 2008; Zaragoza Herald; New York Times; Reuters; Zaragoza Expo 2008; Wikipedia Commons;; Bureau of International Expositions.

Photo column top: Mascots Fluvi and Ica of Expo 2008, 2008. Courtesy Pinterest. Middle: El Pilar, iconic landmark of Zaragoza, Spain. Courtesy Pixabay.

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