A journey to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the structure currently holding the position as the world’s tallest building at 2,722 feet (829.8 meters). With only six years from excavation to completion, the Burj features two observations decks, along with offices, shops, apartments, a restaurant, and a nightclub.
At a height of 700 feet beyond that of the world’s second tallest building, the Burj also holds the world records for the tallest man-made structure, the tallest free-standing structure, the largest number of stories in any building, the highest occupied floor, the highest outdoor observation deck, the tallest service elevator, the longest travel distance elevators, the record for vertical concrete pumping, and the highest aluminum and glass façade.
While making your way to the world’s tallest observation deck, travelers are routed through an impressive historic museum illustrating the compelling story behind the design and development of this iconic structure. The journey to the observation platform at 1,483 feet takes barely a minute and causes a bit of inner ear pressure as the elevator transports visitors at a speed of 3 feet per second (1 m/second). Once on the open air glass observation deck, you are afforded spectacular views of Dubai and the surrounding area. Pre-booked ticket prices to scrape the sky from the Burj on this level were a hefty Dh400 or approximately $108USD each so we opted for only one visit at night for stunning views of the illuminated desert.
It is difficult to discuss the world’s tallest building without mentioning the surrounding features of the Dubai Fountain and Mall. Set on the 24 acre Burj Lake, just below the Burj tower and next to the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping center, is the Dubai fountain. Of course, the Dubai fountain is the world’s tallest performing fountain (why would you think otherwise?). Shooting water to heights equivalent of a 45 story building, the Dubai fountain, a replica of that at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, performs 13 times a day to a contemporary and Arabic musical score and draws thousands of visitors daily to enjoy the show.
Architects are an ambitious lot, always seeking to up the ante, with the architect of the Burj, Adrian Smith, currently designing his next record-breaking masterpiece. The Kingdom Tower, currently under construction in Saudi Arabia, is planned to be not only the tallest building in the world, but also the first man-made structure to reach one kilometer in height.
I would return to Dubai if I was on my way to another destination, as was with this stopover. As a Muslim country, there are way too many rules which are difficult for a strong willed person to adhere to; such as what not to wear, what not to say, what not to drink. Since I’m not much into all the imposed restrictions, a short stay is the safest for me overall….especially as after returning to the ground again we immediately went to the Kalifa Café to smoke hookah and illegally drink the alcohol I had stashed in my bag and brought along….yes; better a short stay for me in a country such as Dubai….
World Records Crushed by the Burj:
- Tallest existing structure at 2,722 feet (829.8 m) – previously KVLY-TV mast at 2,063 feet (628.8 m)
- Tallest structure ever built at 2,722 feet (829.8 m) – previously Warsaw radio mast at 2,121feet (646.38 m)
- Tallest freestanding structure at 2,722 feet (829.8 m) – previously CN Tower at 1,815 feet (553.3 m)
- Tallest skyscraper (to top of spire) at 2,722 feet (829.8 m) – previously Taipei 101 at 1,671 feet (509.2 m)
- Tallest skyscraper to top of antenna at 2,722 feet (829.8 m) – previously the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower at 1,730 feet (72.3m)
- Building with most floors at 163 – previously World Trade Center at 110 floors
- Building with world’s highest occupied floor at 1,918 feet (584.5 m)
- World’s highest elevator installation
- World’s longest travel distance elevators at 1,654 feet (504 m)
- Highest vertical concrete pumping for a building at 1,988 feet (606 m)
- World’s tallest structure including residential space
- World’s highest observation deck at the 148th floor at 1,821 feet (555 m)
- World’s highest outdoor observation deck at the 124th floor at 1,483 feet (452 m)
- World’s highest installation of an aluminum and glass façade at 1,680 feet (512 m)
- World’s highest nightclub at the 144th floor
- World’s highest restaurant (Atmosphere) on the 122nd floor at 1,450 feet (442 m) – previously 360 in CN Tower at 1,148 feet (350 m)
- World’s highest New Year’s display of fireworks