I travel a fair bit for my official work and in November last year I had a chance to visit Dubai for our office offsite. As I had been to Dubai for a holiday once before, I had seen and done many of the typical touristy things. But my travels have taught me that even repeat trips to see the same sights can be fun – you can see things that you missed in the excitement of last time or try new ways of experiencing the same sights. And I tried re-experiencing “At The Top” in Burj Khalifa, but this time in the night and by learning more about this architectural marvel.
During our earlier visit we had taken the slot just around sunset and had a chance to capture Dubai views in the fading sunset colors. You can read my earlier post on my day visit and views at “At the Top” with Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains. However this time we took a 7pm slot and saw Dubai all decked up for the night in its party glory.
All around the lobby are pictures and notes on some interesting facts about Burj Khalifa. It is the tallest building in the world and stands over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) with more than 160 stories.It’s roughly three times the height of the Eiffel Tower, 15 times the highest point at Niagara Falls and almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building.
You realize its height when you have to walk a fair bit to capture the entire building in one shot. 🙂
It also holds several other records in the world – it is tallest free-standing structure, has the highest number of stories, highest occupied floor, highest outdoor observation deck, elevator with the longest travel distance and tallest service elevator.
The elevator is so quick that we traveled from the ground to the 124th floor in 1 minute.
The design of Burj Khalifa has been inspired from the Hymenocallis, a flower with long petals extending from the centre. This name in Greek means “beautiful membrane” the design mimics the flower with its Y-shaped structure composed of elements—in this case building wings—arranged around a central point.
Though, except with the exterior design, you can’t make this out during your visit to the observation deck.
The design and construction of the Burj Khalifa is also one of the best examples of global integration and efforts with people and companies from pretty much all around the world contributing to it. This building was designed by American architects, was constructed by local and South Korean contractors, with Chinese cladding experts, glass was cleaned by an Australian company and labour from every part of the world for actual construction.
There are many pictures of the people involved in the construction and its various stages on the ground floor; that make an interesting read.
I also read somewhere that the Burj Khalifa is so tall that if you can reach up fast enough you can two sunsets in a day – you can first watch the sunset from the base of the building, then get into an elevator right to the top, and watch the sunset all over again.
I would love to try this someday but with the long queues at the base it looks like an impossible task.
Apart from timing of sunset, there is also a difference in temperature that drops 6 degrees from base to the peak and the winds at the top can reach 90 miles an hour.
It is much cooler on the observation deck too (as compared to the base) and do carry a jacket when you visit. Also the views from the observation deck are beautiful and make you forget that this city is actually a desert.
Every year 15 million gallons of water are collected sustainably (by condensation on its glass walls) and used in the artificial man-made lake at its base.
The Dubai fountains are situated in the same lake and have free shows after sunset every evening.
The Dubai Fountain has 6,600 lights to illuminate it as well as 50 colored projectors for the production of water ballets set to music. The fountain is 275 meters (902 feet) long and can shoot water as high as 150 meters (490 feet).
These shows are a must watch whenever you visit Dubai. There are shows every 30 minutes and each one is on a different song. We saw one on a hindi song too.
The Dubai Fountain is the largest choreographed fountain system in the world and can spray 22,000 gallons (83,000 liters) of water in the air at any moment.
I tried a place for dinner with the views of the fountain and saw some 4 – 5 different shows. It was a beautiful sight.
Also some people say that there is a mosque on the 158th floor and it is the highest mosque in the world. But there are many articles that dispute this fact too. Hence I have kept this is as a matter to be checked out on my next trip to Dubai 🙂