Burj Dubai/Khalifa opening
By christophersaul on Jan 04, 2010
The Burj Dubai - or Burj Khalifa as it has been renamed - was formally opened on Monday.
The event was truly spectacular. Mrs Saul, two friends and I grabbed a spot as close to the Burj as we could get, just across the lake in the Souk Al Bahar. We got there at five and the public event started at eight, but it was well worth the wait.
The video I took using my little Sony camera is below - it seems to capture things quite well. The sections that go dark are when water from the fountains returned to earth, soaking us all! Part two has the best of the fireworks.
The mix of fireworks, fountain and music was perfect. The Burj's light display was fantastic too.
The whole area is turning out beautifully. I am biased, as I live here (see the picture below for where we are), but Emaar have done an incredible job. It could have been tacky and mismatched, but the development looks good, is well planned and is starting to be real joy to live in. The Burj itself could have been a monstrosity, but it looks very stylish as well. I much prefer this part of Dubai to the Palm, for example. Hopefully the independent, surrounding towers that are going up in Business Bay will be more cohesive in style than, say, the variety of architecture that makes up Jumeirah Lake Towers.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the event was the mix of people that were there. There were lots of local Emiratis in the crowd, along with expats from all over the place and from various levels of society. This was a real first for me - we were all together, enjoying a common spectacle. I hope Dubai has more moments like this in the future.
The naysaying in the British press has already begun - extravagance, Ozymandian dreams, towers of Babel, the usual yawn. I would like to see an article that truly recognises the engineering achievement here. We'll be hearing rumours about cracks, sinking, windows falling off and all sorts of horror stories over the coming months and years I expect. People still claim that the Burj Al Arab is subsiding, years after its completion, despite the complete lack of evidence that it is.
Yes, the Burj Khalifa was built with the expertise and hard work of people from hundreds of nations. No, I don't think I would like to live in one of the apartments on the 3,000th floor and yes, I am still a bit worried about the traffic generated by all the people coming in and out of it is going to be handled.
Despite that, the project has been headed up by Emiratis and built in the heart of Dubai - it's a Dubai and a UAE achievement and it's already in the black, according to Emaar.
I do use this blog to enjoy a whinge or two about the way things can work in this part of the world and, like anywhere, there are things that could be done better. At this point, however, I have to give in to pure admiration of what's been achieved. I'm also grateful that I've been privileged enough to see the project go up from start to finish.
Here's where we live, as viewed from the Burj observation deck, courtesy of Bujassem.
Opening, part 1.