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Sights & Attractions

Five surprising facts about Burj Khalifa

Mon, August 24, 2020

From epic heights to exquisite art, these legends of the world's tallest building are fact, not fiction.

From epic heights to exquisite art, these legends of the world's tallest building are fact, not fiction.


The base of Burj Khalifa was inspired by a flower

A symbol of human ingenuity, the Burj Khalifa has its roots deep in nature. The building's triple-lobed footprint – the three circular structures expanding from the central core – was inspired by the hymenocallis, a regional desert flower commonly known as the spider lily. This design helps maximise the Burj Khalifa's view of the Arabian Gulf, so as many visitors as possible can enjoy fabulous panoramas of the city and sea. And, from a bird's-eye view, it looks much like the onion domes prevalent in Islamic architecture – a modern ode to local heritage.  


It's six degrees cooler at the top of Burj Khalifa

That's right – the Burj Khalifa is so tall, there is a stark difference between the temperature at the very top and at ground level. What's more, the tower's awe-inspiring height has helped it break many records that may surprise you. At Level 124, the Burj Khalifa also has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world, At The Top, which you can visit for inimitable views of Dubai. The world's longest-travel lift can take you there...or, if you're up for the challenge, the stairwell has 2,909 stairs leading to the 160th floor. But before you get your fitness tracker ready, only authorised personnel are allowed beyond Floor 125.


It features nearly 26,000 hand-cut glass panels

The facade of the Burj Khalifa is made up of close to 26,000 glass panels, each individually hand-cut and designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. Together they form a reflective curtain wall across the tower that spans the same size as 17 football fields. Here's a fun related fact: it takes anywhere between three to four months to clean the building's entire glittering facade from the outside. 


It has been the base of great adventures

Well before Tom Cruise scaled the Burj Khalifa for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, French Spiderman Alain Robert was the first – and so far only – man to actually climb the world's tallest tower in March 2011. It took Robert six hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds to make his way up the skyscraper, adding to his list of conquered urban mountains such as the Empire State Building and Taipei 101. Daredevils Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet also set the world record for the highest BASE jump performed from a building, leaping off the top of Burj Khalifa in April 2014.


Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest art gallery

As breathtaking as it is on the outside, Burj Khalifa is equally beautiful on the inside. It is home to commissioned works by over 85 international artists known for diverse styles and techniques. Visit the corporate lobby entrance to see a site-specific sculpture by Egyptian-born artist Karim Rashid titled Evolutes, which comprises shifting ovals that come alive with reflective organic coating and natural stones. Over in the residential tower, World Voices by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa is a water-based installation made up of 196 cymbals – one for each country in the world.

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