“We build the high-rise for people with strong will and determination. The highest point in the world should be linked to the big names and I announce today, the opening of Burj Khalifa”
-words of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice-President and the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
There is something about Dubai that gives me goose bumps. Anything that this wonderful city does, it does in style and grandeur. So on this fateful cold Monday night, when thousands of souls gathered in front of the highest man made structure of the world, they all knew that the event would be spectacular.
Standing at a staggering 828 meters, the Burj Dubai, renamed as the Burj Khalifa, stabs into the azure winter skies of Dubai. Officially opened on the 4th of Jan to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Accession of HH Al Maktoum, the whole world tuned in to watch its inauguration ceremony.
It took 6 years for Emaar Properties to construct this mega structure which has now become the icon on the city’s skyline. Event experts from France, Britain and the United States collaborated on the project, demonstrating the global spirit of teamwork which defines Burj Dubai itself.
The building is in downtown Dubai right adjacent to the famous Waterfront Promenade, Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar. The Waterfront Promenade is very famous for its choreographed water displays and is located at the tower’s base.
The inauguration ceremony was scheduled at 8PM, but the crowds started thronging the premises of Burj Khalifa much before noon. Dubai Mall recorded an unprecedented footfall with its spacious parking lots getting filled as early as 3pm. At night, when we started from our residence, the cab driver gave us a shrug wondering whether we would be able to reach the place on time. All the roads of Dubai led to downtown and we had never seen such heavy traffic on the city roads. After an hour of fitful driving, we were forced to get out and walk our way to the destination.
The inauguration started with a combination of dazzling fireworks, light beams, choreographed water displays, and sound & music effects. The music sang the story of Dubai and Burj Khalifa’s creation while the fireworks shot out from the tiers of the world’s tallest tower lighting the entire tower from base to pinnacle. There were concerted gasps from the spectator’s every time the firecrackers lit the night sky with searing blue and purple lights. The fireworks lasted for ten minutes and it made me feel that the effort spent in the crowd cramming for space was worth it.
When the event concluded, there were a couple of thoughts that kept lingering in my mind. One was the pollution that the entire event had caused.
The smoke across was so thick that even the high- powered ‘stroboscope’ lights beamed onto the towers got dimmed. Another concern was the realization that the famed city was not capable of handling huge crowds. The Metro station personnel, traffic personnel and administrators were clueless on how to manage the crowd. Together with similar problems that were witnessed during New Year’s Eve, I feel the city has much to learn on crowd management. Maybe the Burj Khalifa inauguration would be an eye opener for the authorities to train and equip themselves better.
To conclude, the experts might still criticize Dubai over it’s would be deadbeats, but the debt crisis has not dampened the mood of this city on being flamboyant in its ways.
The writer is the Dubai correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz
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