5 Jan 2010

World's tallest building opens in Dubai

7:24 am on 5 January 2010

The world's tallest building has been opened in a dramatic fireworks ceremony in Dubai.

The Burj Khalifa is 828 metres (2,716 feet) high, much taller than the previous record holder, Taipei 101 which is 508 metres high. Its spire can been seen 95km away.

Known as the Burj Dubai during construction, the tower has been renamed after the leader of Dubai's oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi.

In December, Abu Dhabi gave Dubai a handout of $US10 billion to help it pay off its debts.

The BBC reports construction of the Burj Dubai began in 2004, at the height of an economic boom.

Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the tower has 160 floors and more than 500,000 square metres of space for offices and flats.

It also lays claim to the highest occupied floor, the tallest service lift, and the world's highest observation deck - on the 124th floor.

The world's highest mosque and swimming pool will be housed on the 158th and 76th floors.

The opening ceremony, held 1,325 days after excavation work started, was attended by about 6,000 guests.