Standing at a staggering 828 meters, Burj Khalifa is the tallest and one of the most luxurious buildings in the world. It is three times the Eiffel Tower and about two times as tall as the Empire State Building. If all the pieces that hold it in place were placed around the world (literally), they would stretch long enough to cover a quarter of its total distance. Here are some mind-blowing Burj Khalifa facts to make your day.
1. It Was Originally Burj Dubai
Even though the Burj Khalifa took an impressive five years to complete, it wasn’t completely free of mishaps. At one point during its construction, the architectural and engineering team ran out of financial resources, briefly stalling the process. The developers sought assistance from Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed, the then ruler of the United Arab Emirates, who granted them monetary aid, with one of the conditions being naming the building after him.
2. It Holds Multiple Records
Since its opening in 2010, Burj Khalifa has broken and set new multiple records. Besides being the tallest existing structure, it is the tallest free-standing building, has the most floors, has the world’s highest elevator installation, and hosts the world’s highest New Year display of fireworks.
3. A Man Took 6 Hours to Climb the Exterior of Burj Khalifa
Popularly known as the real-world “Spiderman,” Alain Robert scaled the outside Burj Khalifa in 2011. Even though he was an experienced free solo-style climber, Robert had to comply with the UAE safety laws; he used safety ropes and harnesses. He completed the challenge in six hours.
4. The Sand Used in Burj Khalifa’s Construction Was Imported
Even though Dubai is a desert filled with sand, Burj Khalifa’s developers had to import the construction materials from Canada and Australia. First, wind-formed sand grains are too smooth for construction. And even if they were perfect, the sand in Dubai is red; constructors consider them unsightly.
5. Burj Khalifa Has More than 24,000 Windows
The Burj Khalifa has more than 24,000 windows, totaling about 120,000 square meters of glass. As such, cleaning them is massive work. Reports show that it takes three to four months for 36 employees to completely clean the building’s exterior. Cleaning the upper floor windows requires that the crew use specialized ropes to descend from above.
6. You Can Watch the Sunset Twice at the Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is so tall that you can watch the sunset twice while there: you can watch it at ground level, take the lift to the highest floor, and see it again. Interestingly, Muslims on the top floors usually wait several minutes to break their Ramadan fast. Those on the 80th floor wait an extra two minutes, while those on the 150th floor can wait up to three minutes.
7. There Were Reports of Burj Khalifa’s Construction Workers Being Mistreated
Because most UAE locals prefer local government jobs over private-sector jobs, the majority of Burj Khalifa’s construction workers came from South and East Asia. According to the media, the workers lived in abysmal conditions, worked long hours daily, and were not sufficiently compensated. In 2006, about 2,500 building professionals took to the streets over bus delays at the end of their shifts.
8. There Have Been Deadly Incidents at the Burj Khalifa
After its official opening in 2010, the Burj Khalifa has witnessed several deaths, most of which were suicide-related. For example, on May 10, 2011, a middle-aged Asian worker threw himself from the 147th floor onto the decks of the 108th floor, immediately losing his life. In 2015, Laura Vanessa Nunes, a Portuguese tourist, fell from the building’s 148th floor to her death. For this, the Dubai police tried to dispute the reports of her death, claiming that she fell from the nearby Jumeirah Lake Towers.
9. Burj Khalifa Has Held Several BASE Jumping Activities
BASE jumping at Burj Khalifa is strictly restricted, with only a handful of experienced BASE jumpers allowed throughout its existence. The first was an unauthorized one, though. In 2008, Herve Le Gallou and David McDonnel pretended to be engineers working on the building’s construction, climbed to the 160th floor, and then jumped off the balcony.
Authorized ones include Nasr Al Niyadi and Omar Al Hegelan, who jumped from 672 (2,205 feet) to the ground at 220 km/h (140 mph) in 2010. In 2014, Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen used the Burj Khalifa to break a Guinness record for the highest BASE jump, placing it 828 meters (2,717 feet)
10. It Is Possible to See the Shores of Iran from the Top of Burj Khalifa
The shores of Iran are located about 153 Kilometers (95 miles) away from the Burj Khalifa. Though not always possible, an individual standing at the building’s topmost floors can see the shores, especially if the tides are low and the vision is clear.
11. Only 1 Person Died During Burj Khalifa’s Construction
While it’s true that nobody should lose their lives carelessly, it is impressive that only one accidental death was reported during the construction of Burj Khalifa. Compared to the numbers reported in Qatar on the people who lost their lives during the World Cup stadium construction project, the skyscraper did well.
12. Burj Khalifa’s Status of Being the Tallest Building Is Under Threat
Having held the record from when it was officially opened in 2010, Burj Khalifa’s status as the tallest skyscraper is under real threat. The Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, now under construction, is expected to be the first-ever 1-kilometer-high building, 180 meters taller than the Burj Khalifa.