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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Burj Khalifa - The Tallest Building In The World - Is Now Open...

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Dubai opened the world's tallest skyscraper Monday in a blaze of fireworks, then renamed the half-mile-high tower as Burj Khalifa.

Long known as Burj Dubai -- Arabic for "Dubai Tower" -- the building rises 2,717 feet (828 meters) from the desert. The $1.5 billion "vertical city" of luxury apartments and offices and a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani also plans to have the world's highest mosque (158th floor) and swimming pool (76th floor).

Its backers wanted the skyscraper to be a monument to the boundless, can-do spirit of Dubai -- one of a federation of seven small sheikdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates.
As officials opened the tapering metal-and-glass spire with fireworks and multicolored lights, they unexpectedly announced it would be renamed Burj Khalifa, to honor the Abu Dhabi leader who is also president of the UAE.

Thousands of cheering, clapping spectators watched as a tally projected on huge screens at the opening ceremony revealed the tower's most closely guarded secret -- its height of 2,717 feet. That made it more than 1,000 feet higher than the skyscraper known as Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which at 1,667 feet had been the world's tallest since 2004.

Besides an observation deck on its 124th floor affording 360-degree views of the entire city, Burj Khalifa is home to the world's first Armani Hotel, luxury offices and residences, and a variety of other sophisticated leisure and entertainment facilities. Burj Khalifa will ultimately be the place of residence, work and leisure for a community of up to 12,000 people.

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