The Burj Dubai, World's Tallest Building, Opens for Business


It's been more than five years in the making, but the tallest building in the world opened its doors Monday. The half-mile high Burj Dubai in the desert kingdom of the same name opened amid fireworks, dancing waters -- and a financial crisis.

Watch the glittering opening ceremony:

Thousands of people turned out to watch the ceremony. There were also more than a thousand security personnel on hand to make sure things stayed safe. There were no reported incidents of problems.

The exact height of the building was kept secret until the ceremony, when it was revealed the Burj is 2,717 feet high, easily eclipsing Taipei 101, which used to be the tallest building in the world at 1,676 feet.

The building was also renamed "Burj Khalifa," after the United Arab Emirates president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

Yet the kingdom has its problems. With its oil supply running out, Dubai decided a decade ago to re-launch itself as a vacation destination, building a paradise in the desert, complete with man-made, palm-shaped islands and dozens of skyscrapers.

But the good times stalled this year when the full effect of the global financial crisis hit. Dubai was forced to borrow $25 billion from its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. The future of several other high-concept projects is in jeopardy.

The entire Downtown Burj Dubai development, which includes the tower and several smaller skyscrapers, will cost $20 billion to build.


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