Dubai: The world's tallest building is 828 metres and has been named Burj Khalifa by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Until now, the building has been known as Burj Dubai.
Unveiling the nameplate, Shaikh Mohammad said: "We built the high rise for people with strong will and determination. The highest point in the world should be linked to the big names and I announce today [Monday] the opening of Burj Khalifa Bin Zayed."
He added: "Today, the UAE has put a new spotlight on the world map."
Immediately after the opening, about eight skydivers appeared in the sky carrying UAE flags and pictures of Shaikh Mohammad and Shaikh Khalifa. They landed right in front of Shaikh Mohammad.
The final height of the "superscraper" was revealed yesterday during a spectacular opening ceremony watched by thousands of UAE residents who crowded onto the Dubai Mall promenade and surrounding area.
For many the high point was a breathtaking fireworks display that lit up the building to its full height.
As thousands of residents and visitors gazed up at the tower, which had been shrouded in darkness, light exploded around it in an awe-inspiring display, while the Dubai Fountains in front of the tower danced in synchronisation.
Ten thousand individual white fireworks danced around the structure, shooting off the building from every level, making the show the tallest display ever.
The show was broadcast to millions across the world by several local and international media organisations. The inauguration of the tower coincided with the fourth anniversary of Shaikh Mohammad’s accession as Ruler of Dubai.
Equipped with cameras and smiles, spectators took photographs of everything in their path — be it the Burj Khalifa, the fountains, their loved ones, even the crowd itself.
"This structural marvel makes all Emiratis proud," Mohammad Obaid, a military officer from Dubai, says. "It is proof to the world that the UAE’s economy is stable," added the father of two.
"I want my son to see this and remember this day. I’ve already booked for us to go to the top of the tower on Thursday.
An overwhelming sense of patriotism filled the Burj Park Island as people stood in the thousands to witness the Dubai Fountains performing to the national anthem.
Future residents of the Burj Khalifa were also among the invited guests to see their future home in all its glory. Shabamah Faisal, who currently resides in Sharjah, bought a two bedroom flat on the 80th floor of the Burj.
"It's great to see that this is the building we’re going to be living in. The reason I bought here, apart from the fact that it’s the tallest building in the world, is because I believe the tower represents Dubai's juxtaposition of tradition and modernity perfectly."
The UAE’s business community was enthusiastic about the significance of the Burj for the city and its economy.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Speaker of the Federal National Council, called the Burj Khalifa a "distinctive achievement by Dubai to be added to the pages of history".
"This is another milestone in the development and progress, which transformed the emirate into the world's fastest growing city and helped make the UAE a leading regional and international nation," he said.
Abdullah Ebrahim Lootah, CEO of Lootah, said the tower symbolised the aspirations of the next generation.
"The country will reap the benefits of this for years to come," he said. Mehdi Amjad, CEO of Omniyat, said the "phenomenal project" would have a positive effect on Dubai's tourism industry.
Blair Hagkull, managing director MENA region, Jones Lang LaSalle, however said that the Burj was an achievement for the entire region.
"It is a landmark in every respect. The ability to plan, construct and deliver something of this scale and complexity is remarkable… today Dubai has delivered," he said.
With additional inputs from Staff Reporters Nadia Saleem, Mariam Al Serkal, Kevin Scott and Mohammed N. Al Khan
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