Although allopolyploids are common in nature and in agriculture, knowledge of their origin, evolution and genomic regulation is limited. We study synthetic allotetraploids of Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis arenosa as well as the natural allotetraploid Arabidopsis suecica. To elucidate the composition and behavior of the allotetraploid genome, we used chromosome painting with probes from contiguous regions of chromosome 4 of A. thaliana and fluorescent in-situ hybridization with centromeric (CEN) probes specific for each parental genome. We documented the presence of 16 A. arenosa and 10 A. thaliana chromosomes and demonstrate that two different A. arenosa chromosomes are homeologous to chromosome 4 of A. thaliana. Although chromosome pairing in pollen mother cells was predominantly homologous, CENs of different parental origin coalesced at early prophase I, but resolved into proper pairs by metaphase. In addition, CENs of homologous chromosomes were not paired in tapetum cells and endopolyploidy without strict polyteny was evident by the large number of independent CENs. Thus, the Arabidopsis synthetic allopolyploids were capable of homologous pairing as early as three generations after their formation. This indicates that diploid-like pairing is not the result of adaptive mutations in genes that regulate pairing nor the result of structural remodeling of the genomes: rather, it is likely that either the parents provided genes controlling pairing behavior or that features of the parental chromosomes hinder homeologous pairing.