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Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world

Updated on 02.06.2018

Burj Khalifa is Dubai's new flagship monument, a local pride visible for miles around. Climb to the top for a breathtaking view, and read this article to learn more about its eventful history.

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest tower in the world ©Odyfolio

History of Burj Khalifa

In 2003, Dubai developer Emaar Properties announces the launch of a gigantic construction project in Dubai, including dozens of buildings around an artificial lake, including a huge Dubai Mall and the tallest tower in the world: Burj Dubai.

Several architectural firms and engineering companies are working on the project with the ambition to build the tallest tower in the world. It will be a tower with tapered architecture made of concrete, aluminum and glass, planned to culminate at 560 meters. In 2004 work on the site begins.

But we are at the beginning of the 2000s, and the competition between the big cities of the world is intense. The tallest building in the world is then in Taiwan, but several projects at various stages of progress plan to be taller than the Burj Dubai. It was then decided to modify the project, and to reach nearly 830 meters, much more higher than all other towers of the world which were then in an order of magnitude of 500 meters.

But the 2008 economic crisis strikes Dubai, and its real estate madness plunges the finances of the emirate in the red. Real estate developers have financial problems and many projects in progress are on the brink of bankruptcy. The city then calls on its federal capital, Abu Dhabi, which, although less developed, is immensely rich thanks to huge oil reserves. Abu Dhabi has a lot of cash available. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyane, Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates, organizes the rescue of Dubai by injecting $10 billion. One of the counterparties was to rename the Burj Dubai Tower in his name.

And so the 829-meter high tower, the tallest in the world, was inaugurated on January 4, 2010 with a grand fireworks show, under the name of Burj Khalifa. This event marks the end of the crisis Dubai, and symbolizes the entry into a new golden age.

Overview of Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Burj Khalifa in numbers

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building and tower in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East and the world. Its height rises to 829.8 meters (or 828 meters, according to the technical definition of the measure) which surpasses not only all the other buildings, but also all other type of human-made constructions around the world. The last floor occupied is at 585 meters. Its cost is estimated at 1.5 billion US dollars.

The 163 floors are served by 58 elevators with a vertical speed of 10 meters per second. The tower houses 900 residential apartments, a luxury Armani hotel with 304 rooms and apartments, 2957 parking spaces, offices, for a total area of 309,473 m².

An exceptional living environment

The skyscraper has been divided into several parts, each with its own facilities including swimming pools on balconies, jacuzzis, gyms. If you are a resident you can receive your guests in private reception rooms with works of art hanging on the wall. The building also offers to its residents a catering service (Lafayette Gourmet) and a library.

At the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world ©Odyfolio

To see and do in Burj Khalifa

To admire the Burj Khalifa of Dubai, the best observation point is by the artificial lake, on the bridge linking Dubai mall to the Souk Al Bahar

To climb to the top, you must book your tickets in advance, preferably several days. Two observation points are open to visitors: level 124, and level 148. Two tariff offers are available to cover the time slots from 8:00 to 16:30, and 16:30 to 18:30. The second period is called Prime Hour: it is the most requested, since it allows to admire the sunset.

The base fare for visiting Burj Khalifa is 125AED (non-prime hour, level 124). For the same level in prime hour, it's 200AED. Children have a reduced rate. To go to the 148th floor, it's 350AED in normal period, and 500AED in the evening, and there is no discounted rate for children. For all types of tickets, babies under 4 years old do not pay. To book or check ticket prices visit the official website of Burj Khalifa Dubai. Rates are subject to frequent increases. It is possible to go to the 124th floor without reservation by purchasing a 300AED ticket. The highest floor is not accessible without reservation.

Our advice is to choose a day with good visibility, and to favor the evening to make the visit. Allow a lot of waiting time even with booking, so if you want to see the sunset, show up at the entrance at least 1h30 before. Access to the highest floor takes longer, and the visit is limited to 30 minutes. For 25AED you can rent an audio guide. The wifi is offered, so you can also surf OdyfolioEmirates during your visit!

Lunch at the top of Burj Khalifa

Another option is to have lunch, dinner, or have a drink at Burj Khalifa Dubai, at Atmosphere Lounge Restaurant, at level 122. This would be the tallest restaurant in the world, 442 meters above the ground. The prices of drinks, pastries and dishes are higher than the average of other restaurants in Dubai, while remaining reasonable... interesting alternative to the classic visit, for a budget not necessarily much more higher. Information and booking on the official website of Atmosphere, and click on here for price examples.

Hotels near Burj Khalifa

Impossible to mention hotels near the Burj Khalifa (Dubai Downtown) without mentioning the Armani Hotel Dubai, the only hotel in the building, where you can book a room with a view of the entire city of Dubai.

The alternative options in the same range within walking distance are The Palace Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Mall. Cheaper, the 4 star hotel Ramada Downtown Dubai is also conveniently located.

Many hotels in Dubai offer rooms overlooking the Burj Khalifa, including the Taj Dubai.

Access map and practical information

Access to the Burj Khalifa is located at Dubai mall (see our article), and there is a dedicated space under level 0 (ie the Lower Ground level), more exactly next to the Food Court. Search on a map in the mall or follow the signs At the Top of the Burj Khalifa.

Map with location of Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Notes and references :

Official website: https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/ -