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View from the top

Dubai's Burj Khalifa puts the Emirate high on the world record-breaking map



Dubai's Burj Khalifa isn't just the world's tallest building, it also breaks a number of other world records.

Take the Dubai Mall, from whose lobby you buy the tickets to head up to of the "Top of the World". Part of the US$20 billion Burj Khalifa complex, it includes 1,200 shops, an aquarium and Discovery Centre and, in 2011, became the world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination.

The Burj Khalifa's observation deck is on level 124 and is named At the Top. It stands at 452 metres above ground level, though it is only the world's third highest observation deck these days, having been pipped to the post by the Canton Tower in Guangzhou and the Shanghai World Financial Centre. However, it is still the world's tallest building at 829.84 metres high with 163 floors, which is also the world's highest occupied floor.

The waiting area offers a miniature Burj Khalifa as well as information about the building's height in comparison to other well-known super-tall structures including Eiffel Tower (324m), Empire State Building (381m), and Freedom Tower (541m).

After passing through security, the visitor is treated to a presentation of Dubai's history as the origins of the building, along with its design and construction. From the elevator zone, groups of 10 ascend to the observation deck on 124th floor (the world’s longest travelling distance for an elevator) in one of the world’s fastest elevators at a speed of up to 18 metres per second. It's a fast and smooth ride.

The view from "the top of the world" is impressive, offering a 360-degree view of Dubai. From this great height, you can take snapshots of the buildings and roads below as well as the sea, or you can use one of several high-powered telescopes to zoom in on particular section of city.

Before going back down, you can also buy Burj Khalifa models, postcards, keychains or knick-knacks at the "At the Top" souvenir shop. Many visitors stop off at the "At the Top Green Screen Photography", which offers a special effect photo service.

The Top of the World is open from 10am to 10pm Sunday to Wednesday) and until midnight on Thursday and from 9am to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Advance reservations via the Internet are a must with admission costing AED100 (Bt840) for adults and AED75 for children aged three to 12. A limited number of tickets are available at the ticket booth in the Mall but are priced at AED400 for both adults and children.

The writer visited Burj Khalifa as a guest of the UAE National Media Council during the UAE's 41st National Day celebrations from November 27-29.

Fast facts

<< Construction started on September 21, 2004. The Burj Khalifa was officially opened on January 4, 2010.

<< The building, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and developed by Emaar Properties, was formerly named Burj Dubai (meaning Dubai Tower) It was renamed Burj Khalifa, in honour of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

<< The tip of the spire can be seen 95 kilometres away.

<< The concrete used for Burj Khalifa is equivalent to the weight of 100,000 elephants.

<< The amount of steel rebar used for the tower is 31,400 metric tons.

<< The cladding of Burj Khalifa contains over 24,000 individually cut glass panels.

<< At the peak of construction, 12,000 workers were on site every day.

<< The building design was inspired by the Arabian desert flower, the Hymenocallis.


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