After 33 years of holding the record for the tallest structure in the world, the CN Tower was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa here in Dubai. When you get a chance, you might find it interesting to google it or simply go to www.burjkhalifa.ae They have an excellent website which provides lots of additional information. The Burj is more than a tower - it is an enormous commercial, hotel and residence building which is located right beside the largest shopping mall (aka shopping mall and entrtainment complex) in the world - The Dubai Mall. The Burj is over 160 stories high. The observation deck is at floor 124. In order to go higher you need to live or work there! We saw that when they were building it they had as many as 12,000 workers on site.
The Burj Khalifa - the Tallest Building in the World
We took this shot from the car on the Sheikh Zayed Highway.
The Burj is located on a beautiful site with several water features including, of course, the world's tallest performing fountain - some 900 feet long and which shoots water up to 500 ft in the air.
This is a photo I downloaded from the web site as we were not able to see it at night in its fully-lit glory with the music which accompanies the show which runs every half hour.
You access the elevators to the observation deck from the Dubai Mall which I will talk about later. They control the number of visitors by having you reserve tickets. If you reserve (and you are encouraged to do that on line) it costs 1/4 of what it costs if you go and ask for immediate access. Many of the time slots are sold out and so you might not be able to get immediate access anyway. Admission is 400 AED if you are in a rush or 100 AED (about $25) if you book ahead. Typical of the paperwork required for everything here - I booked on line and paid for the tickets with a credit card. I then had to print off the receipt (luckily I could e-mail that to Dave and ask him to print it off because we have no printer here) and we had to go to a specific ticket counter with the receipt and PHOTO ID. Then Dave had to sign our receipt that we printed off and give it to them so they could issue our tickets. Can you imagine what would happen if Ticketmaster went through all of that?
The elevators to the observation deck are - you guessed it - the fastest in the world. They whiz you up 124 floors in seconds with no sensation of movement except your ears plugging up a couple of times. They have fancy lighting to try to distract you from the numbers counting up more quickly than you can read them.
Once at the top you look down and see:
The scrolls in the water are the water fountain. The flat structure at the very left is the roof of The Dubai Mall.
If you look forward - eastwards you see the skyline of downtown Dubai with all its skyscrapers and the Sheikh Zayed highway running between them. The airport is several miles off in this direction. Up and to the left is the Arabian Gulf - lost in the sand fog.
Walking around the observation deck you look north at the Arabian Gulf and then west towards the Palm, Jumerian Beach and the Marina area where we are staying. Again all are lost in the dust fog. You can just see a shadow of the Arabian Gulf at the top of these 2 pictures.
If you look up from the observation deck this is what you see:
And just to prove that we really were there:
This is the view down at the bottom again in front of the fountain area.
We then went to explore the Dubai Mall which not only houses hundreds of stores - both very high end (Armani Casa) to ones we see at home (Aldo Shoes) but also has a full size hockey rink and a full sized "Aquarium and Underwater Zoo" and a couple of other attractions we did not explore (Kidzania and Segaworld).
The mall is spectacular - huge high and wide hallways with rotundas that are amazing.
The Mall is divided into areas - "Fashion Avenue" is one, "The Gold Souk" is another below:
The Gold Souk seemed to have more diamonds than gold - we didn't get the price on this diamond-encrusted Soccer ball though.
The place is so large that it doesn't seem at all crowded - and it is interesting to see the mixture of Emerati and visitors.
The Emerati are a very family-centered culture and often have their children with them - and often it is the dads who are managing the little ones.
We walked along and ran into this magnificent 3 story fountain with larger-than-life sized figures of divers.
We walked further and found the hockey rink which they were just flooding.
Yes, that is a large video screen at the end.
In another area we found the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which we went into and visited - it is 2 stories high and has many fish and sea creatures in it from all over the world. The front plexi glass panel holds the Guinness World record for the largest piece of plexiglass.
After all this exploring we had a snack at one of the many, many food courts and headed home to put our sore little feet up.