31 Fun Facts About Burj Khalifa, the World’s Tallest Building

Looking up at Burj Khalifa at night with some LED artificial trees in purple and turquoise in the foreground

In this article, we delve into some fascinating facts that highlight the magnificence and significance of the Burj Khalifa. Let’s get started!

The Burj Khalifa, a masterpiece of architectural ingenuity and engineering, stands as an iconic symbol of Dubai’s ambition and grandeur. Dominating the city’s skyline, this skyscraper has captured the world’s attention and continues to impress with its sheer size and elegance. 

1. The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper found in Dubai, the most famous emirate in the United Arab Emirates. Construction of the building commenced in 2004 and it officially opened in 2010. It cost approximately $1.5 billion to build.

2. The construction of the Burj Khalifa involved a global team of experts, architects, engineers, and skilled workers from over 100 countries. More than 12,000 workers help build the skyscraper.

Close up of the side of the towering Burj Khalifa skyscraper
The descending layers of the Burj Khalifa look like a spider lily

3. The architectural design of the Burj Khalifa draws inspiration from the Hymenocallis (spider lily), a desert flower native to the region. The building’s spiraling setbacks resemble the petals of the flower.

4. The Burj Khalifa was originally supposed to be called Burj Dubai. However, it was named in honor of former U.A.E president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The word Burj simply means ‘tower’.

5. At an astonishing height of 828 meters (2,717 feet), the Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world. It surpassed all previous records and took the title of the tallest building from Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The Burj Khalifa is 1.5 times taller than CN Tower in Toronto, more than twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, 2.5 times taller than Burj Al Arab, and almost 10 times taller than the Statue of Liberty in NYC.

6. Almost 200 meters (656 feet) of the Burj Khalifa is unusable because it’s so thin. Despite the building having 163 floors, most visitors can only go up to the 148th level. The 163rd floor is only accessible via a small ladder.

7. The Burj Khalifa features an impressive total floor area of over 309,473 square meters (3,331,139 square feet). That’s 60% of the total floor space of the Mall of America! It has a mix of residential, commercial, and hotel spaces. 

The skinny tip of the Burj Khalifa building
The super thin top of the building is only accessible by ladder

8. It was once believed that the Burj Khalifa housed the highest mosque in the world. However, despite popular belief, this was never the case. 

9. The Burj Khalifa boasts numerous records and “firsts” in the world of skyscrapers. It’s the first building to have more than 150 floors, the highest outdoor observation deck, and the tallest service elevator.

10. The building houses some of the fastest elevators in the world too. The elevators inside the Burj Khalifa are capable of traveling at a speed of 10 meters per second (approximately 22 miles per hour). These elevators can take visitors to the observation deck on the 148th floor in just 60 seconds.

11. The Burj Khalifa features two primary observation decks: “At The Top” on the 124th floor and the luxurious “At The Top Sky” on the 148th floor, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the city and beyond.

12. Burj Khalifa’s exterior lighting system comprises 300 projectors and 1.2 million LEDs. The lights from the building are visible for miles. The tip of the Burj Khalifa can be seen for almost 59 miles (95 kilometers), almost but not quite as far away as the capital city, Abu Dhabi.

Looking down on an urban scene of skyscrapers and artificial ponds
The view looking down from one of the observation decks

13. The building incorporates several sustainable design elements. These include a condensate collection system that captures and recycles water, reducing the need for external irrigation by up to 15 million gallons annually.

14. The Burj Khalifa requires massive cooling systems to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the building. During the peak summer months, it consumes as much electricity as a small city.

15. To withstand the strong desert winds and intense heat, the exterior cladding of the Burj Khalifa is made of reflective glass. This design feature also helps insulate the building and keep it cool.

16. The Burj Khalifa sways in strong winds. At the very top, the building can sway back and forth almost 2 meters (6.5 feet). The skyscraper has to battle gusts of up to 149 mph (240 km/h).

17. On rare occasions, people have seen snowflakes falling from the tower. Dubai experiences winter showers, leading to this unique phenomenon at the Burj Khalifa. The observation decks have been known to witness the surreal sight of snowflakes falling from the sky, due to its high elevation.

Picture of Burj Khalifa and other skyscrapers in Dubai at night, with water in the foreground
The skyscraper literally reaches up to the clouds

18. Cleaning the Burj Khalifa’s exterior is no ordinary task. It takes a team of skilled professionals over three months to wash all the windows on the entire building, using specially designed cradles that move along its surface.

19. To protect migratory birds from colliding with the tower, the Burj Khalifa has employed a unique lighting system during migratory seasons. This helps to minimize the chances of bird strikes.

20. According to one study, the Burj Khalifa is the 8th most-loved landmark in the world, with more than 16.7 million visitors a year. That’s more than the entire population of Istanbul, the largest city in Europe!

21. Visitors to the Burj Khalifa’s observation decks experience a unique phenomenon called the “double sunset.” Due to the tower’s height, the sun sets on the ground level first, followed by a second sunset visible from the observation decks above.

22. In 2018, the Burj Khalifa introduced a virtual reality experience on the 125th floor. Visitors can enjoy a captivating simulation of the tower’s construction and take a virtual plunge from its pinnacle.

A maze of highways, with Burj Khalifa at the back left and the sun setting at the back right
Sunset from Burj Khalifa

23. Several dining options are available within the Burj Khalifa, ranging from casual cafes to high-end restaurants. Tourists can also indulge in some retail therapy at the Burj Khalifa’s gift shops. The Burj Khalifa is directly connected to the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destinations.

24. The Burj Khalifa is renowned for its breathtaking New Year’s Eve firework display. In 2014, the Dubai Firework Show broke the United States’ record of releasing 400,000 fireworks by releasing 479,651 in just 6 minutes.

25. The Burj Khalifa has hosted daring stunts, including BASE jumps by thrill-seekers from around the globe. In 2016, Fred Fugen and Vincent Reffet broke the base jumping world record when they jumped off the Burj Khalifa.

26. In an extraordinary display of falconry, an eagle once soared from the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa, breaking the world record for the “highest recorded bird flight from a man-made structure.”

27. In 2011, French “Spiderman” Alain Robert, successfully climbed the Burj Khalifa. It took him 6 hours 13 minutes 55 seconds to complete the climb.

Layers of fireworks shooting out from the sides of Burj Khalifa
Fireworks display from Burj Khalifa

28. Several heads of state and dignitaries from around the world have visited the Burj Khalifa during official visits to Dubai, including presidents, prime ministers, and royals. These include the Indian prime minister and President Yameen from the Maldives.

29. In 2021, Will Smith climbed to the top of the building from the 163rd floor. A plethora of other Hollywood stars, actors, musicians, and athletes, have graced the Burj Khalifa with their presence.

30. The Burj Khalifa has appeared in numerous movies, including “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” (2011) in which Tom Cruise’s character famously scaled its exterior. Other popular movies the Burj Khalifa has featured in include “Furious 7” (2015), “Independence Day: Resurgence” (2016), and “Star Trek Beyond” (2016).

31. The skyscraper can also be seen in a variety of television shows. These include National Geographic documentaries, Top Gear, The Amazing Race, and other travel-based documentaries.

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