The Burj Dubai, the tower that redefined the scope of the term "skyscraper," opened today, five years after construction began on what is now the world's tallest building.
The building made its debut with the dazzling fanfare of having 10,000 fireworks ignited, many from the terraces of the 160-story superstructure. Massive crowds surrounded the building for its spectacular debut with cameras glittering through from the crowd, and women ululating.
In officially opening the building, officials unveiled two facts: the actual height of the tower is 2,716.5 feet tall, and the building's name has been changed to the Burj Khalifa, the name of the ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi came to Dubai's financial rescue last month with a $25 billion lifeline.
In a city built to amaze, the Burj Khalifa is in a class of its own.
The tallest structure ever built, the Burj Khalifa tower is an engineering and architectural wonder. From the ground, you can't even see the top.
The Burj (Arabic for tower) dwarfs the previous titleholder for world's tallest building -- the Taipei 101 in Taiwan, at 1,670 feet tall, with 101 stories.
The Burj Khalifa, designed by Chicago architects, surges past that with 160 stories.
The building has 5 million square feet of office space, a 175-room Armani hotel, 900 apartments, four swimming pools and the world's highest observation deck.
The official height had been increased more than once during construction, which began in September 2004, and the developers were silent until the end about how tall it would be.
"A lot [of] people around the world want to build another [taller] building. So I thought, let's just keep this quiet as long as we can, " Mohammed bin Ali Al Abbar, CEO of Emaar Properties, the building's developer, told "GMA" in March.
Breathtaking View From the Top
The tower is engineered with a six-sided central core to minimize the forces of wind -- a critical factor on such a tall building. Still, engineers say the Burj will sway more than four feet at the top.
More than 10,000 workers have logged more than 29 million hours constructing the building.
But in March it took "Good Morning America" just 15 minutes to get to the top -- an astounding half-mile into the sky.
Ali Al Abbar said the Burj Khalifa isn't just about being the tallest, but a symbol of the "new Middle East," and the large-scale ambitions and opportunities of the multinational city of Dubai, which has been buffeted by the economic crisis.