Basel's Muba 2001 fair has flung open its doors to reveal the ultimate in "retail therapy". This year marks the 85th birthday Switzerland's oldest and largest consumer goods fair.
For 10 days, the exhibition hall in Basel is playing host to four different exhibitions featuring trends, innovations, events and interactive shows.
The massive area, which covers 45,000 square metres, will be the temporary home of more than 1,100 exhibitors, artists and performers.
The stands offer the latest in new products and helpful, practical ideas to an estimated 400,000 visitors.
Opening the fair, the justice minister, Ruth Metzler, called for reforms in Switzerland's state institutions. She said closer cooperation was needed with other countries as well as between Switzerland's cantons to keep up with increasingly complex problems.
She pointed to plans to reform the government and step up international cooperation to fight organised crime.
One of the highlights of this year's Muba fair is likely to be the exhibition from the guest country, Iran, where visitors can be transported on a magic carpet ride through the tastes, sounds and art of that country.
The Iranian exhibition is housed under a number of domes, which add to the exotic flavour of the pavilion. Once inside, visitors are invited to experience the rich Persian culture with a line-up of concerts, dance shows, art galleries and tastings of traditional cuisine.
At the same time as enjoying Muba, visitors also have a chance to experience other exhibitions currently on show. One such example is "Sportdays", which is dedicated to the diverse world of sport in its many forms.
Muba runs until May 13.
swissinfo with agencies
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