This still from the BBC’s video coverage of the Burj Khalifa opening ceremony shows the giant tower amid fireworks Monday night.
It was going to be known as the Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower), but given Dubai’s recent economic woes and given that its UAE neighbor, Abu Dhabi, came to the rescue with $10 billion last month, it’s both a fitting tribute and a sign of the times that the world’s tallest building is now called the Burj Khalifa in honor of Abu Dhabi’s leader. The colossal building officially opened Monday with a fireworks show and a big reveal in the form of official confirmation of the Burj Khalifa’s height: 2,716 feet. —KA
The opening ceremony, held 1,325 days after excavation work started, was attended by some 6,000 guests.
Though not complete on the inside, it was officially opened by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
In a surprise move he renamed the tower Burj Khalifa - after the president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan.
Sheikh Mohammed described the tower as “the tallest building ever created by the hand of man”.
“This great project deserves to carry the name of a great man. Today I inaugurate Burj Khalifa,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed also unveiled a plaque inside the tower bearing the new name.