Burj Khalifa, the World’s Tallest Builsing Opens in Dubhai

With its mix of nightclubs, mosques, luxury suites and boardrooms, the Burj is an almost-perfect representation of Dubai’s own complexities and contradictions. It will boast the world’s first Armani hotel; the world’s highest swimming pool, on the 76th floor; the highest observation deck on the 124th floor; and the highest mosque on the 158th floor.

More than 12,000 people will occupy its 6 million square feet, zooming up and down in the 54 elevators that can hit speeds of 65 kilometers, or 40 miles, an hour. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago.

“Dubai not only has the world’s tallest building, but has also made what looks like the most expensive naming rights deal in history,” said Jim Krane, author of City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism. “Renaming the Burj Dubai after Sheikh Khalifa of Abu Dhabi — if not an explicit quid pro quo — is a down-payment on Dubai’s gratitude for its neighbor’s $10 billion bailout last month.”

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