You thought you had been prepared by having seen countless videos and photos, but Burj Khalifa flabbergasts with its staggering 828 metres – challenging to describe if you have not been near its entrance. Truly an incredible feat of engineering, it is regarded as the Vertical City.
How to Get Reach Burj Khalifa and Go Atop
Probably the easiest way to visit this steel gargantuan is by taking the metro and getting off at “Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall” metro station. The station is adjacent to the Dubai Mall and after a 10-minute walk (in a specially designed and air-conditioned pathway) you will get inside the mall and then to Burj Khalifa.
Of course, riding a cab is always a viable option and they are not too expensive, but riding the driverless metro is a great experience especially if you are in front of the train (for that you have to buy a VIP ticket which is 14 AED).
There are other options to get to Burj Khalifa such as hiring a limo, helicopter ride or even skydiving – if you have the courage or the pecuniary means, be their guest, he-he!
History about its Construction
Burj Khalifa’s inception was back in 2004. To construct the building, around 1,200 workers (mainly from South and East Asia) from different nationalities were needed for more than 6 years. The chief architects of the building were the ones who also designed the One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower) and the Willis Tower.
Next to the indefatigable efforts of throngs of peoples in regards to its construction and design, another feat worth mentioning was the communication carried out between various locations across the globe. The architects were based in Chicago, the designers – in London, while the main contractor – Samsung – was from South Korea, to name a few.
Burj Khalifa was planned to slightly surpass Taipei 101‘s height, but until the last moment, its real size was not announced. The building’s structural system has a buttressed core and in order to endure the sizzling temperatures of Dubai in summer (which can go as high as 45-50 C or 113-122 F) it has a specially designed cladding system. However, what enthralled me most was that the pin of the spire of Burj Khalifa can be seen from 95 km!
The Highest Open-air Observation Deck in the World
The building houses more than 30,000 homes, 9 different hotels (including Armani) and a couple of observation decks. I visited the one which is located between levels 124 and 125. It holds the record of the world’s highest open-air observation deck. Here is what I saw and captured with my camera and my phone.
Dubai’s fountains as seen from level 125:
Etymology of the Name
Burj Khalifa’s original name was supposed to be Burj Dubai, but at its inauguration was changed to Burj Khalifa in honour of Abu Dhabi’s emir and President of the UAE – Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Emirati capital and Khalifa bin Zayed lent lump sum amounts to Dubai in order for it to pay its debts in regards to the construction of Burj Dubai and other humongous infrastructure projects in the Gulf city of Dubai.
When to Visit Burj Khalifa
I have prepared a list of recommendations and useful tips for visiting Burj Khalifa which is a holder of more than 20 different records:
- Register in advance to ensure you have a spot. Waiting until the last moment is not a good option.
- My friend told me to visit the tower at noon (12:30) because at 13:00 there is an amazing fountain show (see video above). I am sure a lot of people would prefer visiting it at sunset but he told me it is jam-packed with people and the vista is not that good (fogs, clouds, desert storms, etc.).
- The open-air observation deck is a better place to take all your photos for Facebook, Instagram or your blog (level 124). It may seem like an obvious hint but there are swarms of people there so better plan in advance when to go there (and be as cheeky as possible, he-he).
- Evening fountain shows start at 18:30 and they are every half an hour for around 3-4 minutes. They are a magnificent and a must-see event. Therefore, a great spot to observe them is TGI Fridays (see a photo of the fountains at night above) in the Dubai Mall. It has an enormous terrace which provides a mesmerising panorama overlooking the lake.
- Prices and when to make a reservation can be found here.
“Burj Khalifa is a singular project that illustrates the success of collective human endeavour. A project of Burj Khalifa’s size and scale happens once in a lifetime.”
Mohamed Ali Alabbar,
Chairman, Emaar Properties
What do you think of this contemporary “beast”?