Oman has unveiled details of its pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, which runs in the Italian city until October.
The pavilion extends over 2,790 square meters and three floors, and is located just at the East Entrance Roserio, quickly recognisable from the architecture of Arab-Islamic medieval forts.
The theme of the Pavilion is ‘Heritage in Harvest: Harnessing the sea, sun and sand’ and the exhibition area is divided in four thematic spaces representing water, oasis, sea and domestic traditions.
Upon entrance, visitors are welcomed by a majestic fountain that through a suggestive show of lights, colours and music, creates a fiabesque atmosphere worth of a Thousand and One Nights story.
The area is surrounded by palm trees and a relaxing, hypnotic music typical of the Omani bedu culture.
In the first section, ‘Harnessing every drop of water’, Oman presents its long tradition in managing water resources.
Just after the entrance visitors are enveloped by the fog of the khareef, the summer monsoon that, with its passage, makes the Dhofari region lush.
Dhofar is also the region where Boswelia is grown, the plant from where Omanis extract frankincense, commercialised for millennia on the caravan routes of Asia and Arabia.
Outside of the Pavilion there lies a real aflaj, a 2,000-years-old ancient irrigation system made of a dense network of canals and dums that has received the UNESCO Heritage award.
The second section, ‘Our rich farming heritage’, portrays the history and innovations of Oman’s agricultural industry and its rich production.
Products such as honey, nuts, date palms and roses from the mountainous region of Jebel Akhdar make the range of fruits and flowers in Oman surprisingly unique.
The Pavilion tells this story through informative panels, images, plastic models and 3D projections. Finally, authentic plants of Akhdar Roses have been brought on the Pavilion’s terrace, to help visitors witness their amazing perfume and pure colour.
In the third section, ‘Treasures of our seas’, visitors can experience directly the wonders of Oman’s undersea world and find out about the fishing industry, based on traditional techniques but subject to constant research and development to safeguard the marine habitat while boosting production in numbers and quality.
A special augmented reality system, allows visitors to dive into the depth of the Ocean and swim in its amazing sea beds with the marine creatures that inhabit Oman’s sea.
The fourth section, ‘Welcome to our home’, is an authentic showcase of Omani hospitality.
The area portrays the sablat, the room of the house where Omanis receive their guests, and the culture of living meals as a fundamental moment of sharing.
The Pavilion hosts an authentic Omani Restaurant, Al Sablah, born out of cooperation between Omani and Italian chefs and offering international as well as traditional Omani meals.
The one and only Omani restaurant in Italy, at the Sablah guests are invited to taste the typical cousine, a fusion of specialties from the Arabian Peninsula and Asian flavours.
The menu includes more well-known dishes such as tabbuleh, fish salad and hummus, but also special recipes like ghouza, a millenary dish made of lamb, very slowly cooked, and red fish biryani.
The Sablah restaurant has a wide indoor room with air conditioning and furnished in arabesque fashion, and an elegant outdoor garden room in wood.
Next to the restaurant there is the Take-Away window, ideal for a quick, tasty and convenient bite.
The take-away offers a wide range of dishes including lamb sandwiches with Omani sauce, octopus and potatoes in bread basket and chicken skewers.
Aside from food, the Sablah Juice Bar offers a rich variety of freshly-made juices, bio and detox drinks and smoothies, made of fresh fruits and vegetables and enriched with oriental aromas.
Last but not least, on the first floor there is the Terrace Café an exclusive environment overlooking the whole exhibition where to taste a refined selection of teas and coffees, including the traditional Omani coffee with special dates.
Indeed, the Al Sablah is one of the prides of the Omani Pavilion, a place for cultural exchanges, celebration of tastes and entertainment, as will be highlighted during the six months through live cooking and entertainment shows, and special gastronomic itineraries.