< ">Dubai: burj khalifa, standing tall at nearly 2,684 feet (818 meters) and twice the height of the Empire State Building, was unveiled on Monday in a grand ceremony.
Burj Dubai has 168 stories, making it the tallest structure on earth. After six years, $1.5 billion and a last-minute name change, the Burj Dubai - now the Burj Khalifa has officially opened for business.
During a glitzy celebration Monday night, the full scope of the Burj was finally revealed.
It's an astonishing feat of engineering.
The architects say it's inspired by the shape of a desert flower, built in the shape of the letter Y. Its elevators can travel 1,600 feet in two minutes.
Almost twice the height of New York's famous Empire State Building, the temperature in Celsius at the top is up to 10 degrees cooler than at the bottom.
It boasts luxury apartments and offices, four swimming pools, a private library and a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani.
It will also have the most elevated place of worship in the world with plans for a mosque on the 158th floor.
"It's really a reflection of the people who live in this city. It's a reflection of the environment in this city, that's optimistic, that's happy, that's cheerful. It's also a reflection of the leadership, and the attitude that the leadership have here which is yes it can be done," says Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar.
But as Dubai tries to focus the spotlight on the Burj, its debt crisis is making headlines around the world.
In November 2009 Dubai shocked investors when it asked for a freeze on payments towards its $26 million debt and then took a $10 million bailout from its neighbour, Abu Dhabi.
Dubai will likely survive its financial woes and the developer of Burj Dubai is confident his investment will pay off.
"There's a life to live, there's activities to be done. And you know this slowdown has been here now for us for over fifteen months and we expect that we should be on the way back to gradual growth and gradual activity," says Alabbar.
Perhaps the Burj will provide the jump start this emirate so desperately needs. The developer says the building is already 90 per cent sold.