Burj Khalifa, the world's largest building, opened today in Dubai, measuring 2,717 feet tall. The building sports the highest observatory deck, pool, restaurant and fountain in the world and houses a hotel by Giorgio Armani, luxury apartments, private library and another three pools.
The price tag on this bad mamma jamma? About $1.5 billion. And they wonder why Dubai is undergoing a giant financial meltdown?
Here's a look at the other ridiculousness Dubai has spent their money on:
1. The Palm Islands -- The Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, drew a sketch of a palm tree, realizing its fronds would provide more beach frontage than a traditional circular island. And since three is always better than one, they decided to create a trilogy of islands: Palm Jumeirah, Palm Deira, and Palm Jebel Ali. Only one island has made it to completion after eight years of construction, Palm Jumeirah, with the price tag of over $12.3 billion to construct and a hefty continuous sum to maintain.
2. The World Islands -- You thought creating three islands was crazy? Nah! This cooky emirate wants a REAL show of wealth, so they decided to replicate the world with 300 man-made islands off the coast of Dubai. Just like with the Palms, they dredged sand from the sea to build these islands at the tune of about $14 billion (an estimate from 2005). It's so big you can actually see it from space (or so Dubai's tourism Web site claims).
3. Dubai Metro -- We all understand the need for a good, or even barely decent, public transportation system. But once again, it seems as though this project went just a smidgeon too far. Of the four lines planned (Red, Green, Purple and Blue) only one has opened -- the Red line. The costs have shot up about 80 percent from $4.2 billion to $7.6 billion, and believe you me, the costs will continue to rise for this project before the full metro is running.
4. Dubai Marina -- Entirely man-made once again, this marina will cover 25 acres, including six apartment towers (Dubai Marina Towers) and 64 luxury villas connected by a network of rooftop gardens that are divided around each tower. Once it's completed the tourism site claims it will be the largest marina in the world. Cost? Estimates range from $300 million for just phase one to over $4 billion for full completion of the project.
Other insanely large and overly extravagant landmarks in Dubai that are privately-funded:
Mall of Arabia -- a mall set to cover 10 million sq. feet (privately funded)Dubailand -- An entertainment complex set to be twice the size of Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.Burj Al Arab -- A suite-only luxury hotel standing 1,050 feet tall.
I'll give you this, it sounds like a wonderland, too bad it's in the middle of a desert with searing heat and now the entire emirate is going into a financial crisis about 1000 times worse than ours! At least it'd still be fun to visit, that is if you get enough sleeping pills to make you forget the 15-hour airplane ride over there.
For more on Dubai tourism and landmarks, visit their tourism site.