The facade of the Bosnia pavilion at Global Village. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: A new treasure trove of delights await world explorers tucked away in the neon-infused maze of 27 pavilions representing 75 cultures at this year’s Global Village outdoor family theme park.

For the first time, a new Bosnia and Balkans Pavilion beckons with authentic foods, handicrafts and clothing descended from the ancient traditions of the southeast European Balkan Peninsula of old.

The 1.6 million square-metre Global Village is in its 22nd season running until April 7, 2018 with more than 12,000 cultural and entertainment shows, 120 food kiosks, 23 restaurants and 28 carnival rides.

Also new to the park this year is the South Asia Pavilion touting countries of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Bader Anwahi, Chief Operating Officer of Global Village, told Gulf News: “We are excited to host a collection of Global Village’s biggest and most extravagant cultural and entertainment festivals during Season 22. We have spared no effort in enhancing our offerings based on the feedback we got from our guests through our Guest Journey Mapping studies of main touchpoints to exceed the increasing expectations they have. Our focus is to spread happiness among our guests of all ages and give them an unforgettable experience through what we host in the region’s leading and first-ever multicultural festival park.”

Anwahi noted that “engaging with different cultures enriches us and this is reflected in our theme this season, ‘Come experience the world’. Guests will experience the world every time they visit as they witness more exciting and huge international shows that will surely leave a positive impact.”

The Bosnia and Balkans Pavilion, meanwhile, reflects cultures long steeped in the sweeping wooded vistas of the rugged terrain of the region that were originally named by the Ottoman Turks as “a chain of wooded mountains.”

Only steps inside the 13th Century stone-wall facade of the pavilion, visitors are welcomed by exhibitors costumed in traditional folklore dress. Up to 28 exhibitors offer a kaleidoscope of all things Balkan from organic honey and cultured pearls to handmade jams and one-of-a-kind clothing and jewellery pieces.

Admir Duranovic is certainly one of the most friendly, energetic hosts at the Duranovic exhibit touting authentic Bosnian organic honey that, he says, helps heal the body.

“We are offering the very best of our country and region to our visitors,” said Duranovic, adding that all of the offerings are “100 per cent authentic from Bosnia. Many of the goods we have, come from generations of our cultures.”

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Marija Taneski, a member of a Macedonian family that has brought cultured pearls to life from Lake Ohrid in her home country, said she was proud to showcase the unique treasures at her shop.

“All of our jewellery, including the mother of pearl, is handmade from carefully preserved family secrets handed down for a century from one generation to another,” said Tanseki, at Exhibit #4 in the pavilion. “The pearls are traditional in our country, everyone wears them.”

The special shell grains coated with silver emulsion from the fish scales of the plaschica fish are highly unique and range in price from Dh300 to Dh5,000, she said, at her exhibit.

Marija Spasic, an exhibitor representing One Piece Concept Fashion, said all of the products at the store are one-off pieces, unique to own because they are not duplicated.

“We’re supporting all of the rare and talented people in Bosnia,” Spasic said, noting that Bosnia-origin pieces such as necklaces integrated with “silver, lace and lava stones” are very popular in her country.

A nearby Bosnian House eatery also reflects the Balkans’ culture offering traditional food such as seasoned kababs and flatbreads in a tent setting.

Global Village visitor Baraa Mohammad, a Syrian who lives in Dubai, is a loyal patron of the family theme park, he said, because it offers an experience that is exclusive.

Mohammad said: “Global Village is a great place, it always is a good place to relax with your family. I bring my family here every year because it is different each time we visit.”

New World Avenue

Global Village organisers have something special to offer park patrons once again this year in the form of the newly refitted World Avenue and its streetscape of recreations of the world’s architectural world wonders.

From the Gate of the World entrance, the avenue opens up to miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, the Sydney Opera House, Big Ben, the Coliseum and the Taj Mahal.

Fast facts

  1. Park timings — Saturday to Wednesday, 4pm-12am; Thursday, Friday and public holidays, 4pm-1am; Mondays are dedicated to families and women only
  2. Two main entry gates — Gate of the World, Cultural Gate
  3. Entry ticket — Dh15 for general admission; Free entry for children under 3, people with determination and seniors above 65.
  4. For more details, visit www.globalvillage.ae