The Burj Khalifa in Dubai

February 4, 2013

Travel, United Arab Emirates

Jim and I went to the top of the Shard Building in London a few days ago, currently the tallest building in Western Europe (see my recent post on this).  A wonderful experience  – but it brought back memories of the last time I visited one of the world’s tall buildings, in March of 2011 when Jim and I went to the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The Shard Building measures 1,016 feet.  The Burj Khalifa, on the other hand, is 2,716 feet, more than 2 and a half times the size of the tallest building in Western Europe!!

Burj Kahlifa View

(picture source: Burj Khalifa web site linked to above)

Prior to visiting the interior of the Burj Khalifa, we paused to take a picture of the building exterior.   To get the entire building in the picture, we had to walk at least a half mile away from the building, and then Jim had to kneel down on the ground to capture the shot!  I have never in my life seen anything like this before and still can’t fathom how a building of this nature could be built.

Burj Khalifa

Like  the pain you get in your neck after sitting in the front row of a movie theatre, I felt my neck strain as I looked up to see the top of the building.

The tour started with a video of Dubai’s history and the making of the Burj Khalifa, which was a very professional and interesting display. Next, we were guided to the high speed elevators, which rocketed us up to the 124th floor of the building in around 30 seconds.

The viewing platform was a 360 degree view. The first difference I noticed in the interior as compared to other skyscrapers I’ve visited was the amount of usable space inside, which was small due to the wide heavy concrete support beams throughout the middle of the building.

As I stood on the observatory floor, it reminded me of the views I see when I am in an airplane looking out the tiny windows, fighting to see over the airplane wings to the view below.

Dubai Part 1 076

Every few seconds, I looked down at my feet and out the floor to ceiling windows to get a reality check.  I was not in a plane. I really was this high up within a building, a free standing man-made structure.  A helicopter was flying somewhere off in the distance below, and I was at a higher altitude than that helicopter! That’s not normal.

Dubai Part 1 085
Some cool facts about the Burj Khalifa (referenced from their website):

  • At the peak of construction, there were more than 12,000 workers and contractors on site everyday
  • The total weight of aluminium used on the Burj Khalifa is equivalent to that of five A380 aircraft
  • The total length of stainless steel bull nose fins is 293 times the height of Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • The amount of rebar used for the tower is 31,400 metric tons – laid end to end this would extend over a quarter of the way around the world

If you have an interest in skyscrapers or architecture of any kind, you have to put Dubai on your must see list.

This was and still is one of the most fascinating buildings I have ever seen in my life up until this point!

Visited March 2011

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About Tanya

I’m a freelance travel and beer writer and a passionate and energetic 30 something - determined to enjoy life and see as much as possible along the way. Recently I lived abroad in London and traveled to 20+ countries within two years! As of January 2014, I'm back in the USA, and currently living in Charlotte, NC. But before all of that, my roots were set in small town America, where I spent the first 23 years of my life living, going to school, and working in the state of Pennsylvania.

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  1. View from the Shard Experience - Feb 2013 visit - February 5, 2013

    […] skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world at 2,716 feet (see my post on this that I’ve just added.) Architects who design buildings of this size are incredibly […]

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