DUBAI: Blazing fireworks and dazzling lights marked the opening of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, which the Gulf Emirates hopes will pep up its international image, shaken by debt woes.
The steel and glass tower was opened by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid al Maktoum, who also lifted the veil on a closely guarded secret of its final height.
“Emirates has made a mark on the world and Dubai has built something for the world that is built by human beings,” Sheikh Mohammed said while announcing the tower open. The paratroopers then came down to greet onlookers.
The $1.5 billion structure, an “unprecedented” engineering marvel that was thrown open to the public today, was built with a major contribution from India, a vast labour force.
The launch coincided with the fourth ascencion to the throne of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Burj Dubai Metro station also opened today to mark the launch.
Declaring that the tower is 818 metres (2,684 feet) high, he said the new building pips all its nearest rivals, including the 101-storey high Taipei Tower in Taiwan.
Sheikh Mohammad inaugurated the tower in a colourful ceremony featuring dazzling laser lights, fireworks display and a choreographed water display on the Dubai fountains which stretch for 275 metres at the foot of the tower.
The Dubai Burj’s record seeking builders are also boasting of the highest occupied floor of any building in the world and today the needle-shaped tower ranks taller than north Dakota’s Television mast.