Millennium Dome (O2), London The Millennium Dome (now O2) is an exhibition hall built on the Meridian Line in Greenwich to celebrate the start of the new Millennium. History In 1994, the Chairman of what would later become the New Millennium Experience company suggested a national exhibition to be held as part of the country’s millennium celebrations. The project, to funded mainly by the National Lottery, was revised when Tony Blair became the new Prime Minister in 1997. He declared that the exhibition, to be held in Greenwich, would open a window on the future. The focus would be on entertainment and education (also dubbed ‘edutainment’). This resulted in 14 themed zones, including Faith, Talk, Mind, Rest, Home Planet, Body and Learning. The Millennium Exhibition The project was controversial from the start. The Millennium Dome, with an estimated cost of £750 million, was disliked by many Londoners, who did not see it as a proper symbol for their city. Due to the focus on education and the high entrance fee, the Dome did not attract as many visitors as originally forecasted: a total of 7 million people visited the exposition, compared to the original estimate of 12 million visitors. Even with each of the separate themes in the Dome sponsored by major corporations, the project had a serious budget deficit. The millennium exhibition ran until the end of 2000.turkeyarena.com O2 In 2005 the millennium dome was renamed O2, after the mobile phone company. At the same time it was converted into a multifunctional sports and entertainment complex. The complex now houses a number of buildings and is used for many different events, including concerts. It will be used during the 2012 Olympics as the venue for gymnastics (artistic/trampolining), basketball finals and handball finals. The Dome's Structure The cover of the Dome is made of PTFE-coated glass fiber, which has an estimated minimum lifetime of 25 years. The structure, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership is 320m in diameter and 50 meters high at its center. It is twice the size of the Wembley stadion and covers 20 acres of ground floor space. The structure is expected to last until 2018. After that year, developers are allowed to demolish the dome and redevelop the site. Location The Dome, located near the Thames across Canary Wharf, can be reached via the Jubilee line. The underground station is the largest in Europe.