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Mon 4 Jan 2010 02:01 PM

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Live from Burj Khalifa ceremony

The world's tallest tower changes name in honour of UAE president while final height revealed to be 828m.

Live from Burj Khalifa ceremony


That's all folks. For those there tonight, they will not forget that show in a hurry. Hope you've enjoyed our live coverage. Until the next time...

8.45pm JB:

Sheikh Mohammed is now leaving the ceremony, along with the rest of his entourage. I'm sure he enjoyed the show and must be a very proud man tonight.

8.38pm SM:

The display is ongoing although it has entered a more subdued stage - I reckon the organisers needed to lie down to recover after that spectacular display. The DUbai Fountain is now taking centre stage. For an engineering feat, this is pretty clever - only in Dubai!!

8.32pm SM:

Fireworks erupt from every side of the tower - I think I've seen it all now. Bonfire night will never be the same again. This is like something out of a sci-fi movie - and a
very big budget one

at that. A colleague of mine who lives in The Greens has just called to say he is watching the display from his balcony. I wouldn't be surprised if you could see this all the way from Abu Dhabi. The crowd goes mad not for the first time this evening and the fireworks momentarily go quiet. Is that the end?

8.30pm JB:

Fireworks are exploding and the crowd is on its feet cheering - the Burj tower is flickering into life. Very impressive. The Dubai Fountain also sparks into life and the spotlight is now on the floating flower models we spotted earlier as the music starts again. There is huge applause again and deservedly so - this is some show so far. The tower is now fully lit with spotlights and light beams running up and down the building. Truly spectacular. Hats off to the organisers.

8.25pm JB: Spontaneous applause as the Burj Khalifa's final height is revealed -
828 metres tall

(we were 10 metres out with our estimate). The number is emblazoned on a giant screen.


Ok, we're now waiting for what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the night - the massive fireworks display. A short film about Dubai is now being shown on huge TV screens - it's an 11-minute documentary on the building of the tower, backed by music and a Dubai Fountain display.

8.08pm JB:

Six parachutists are now in the air as HH takes his seat. The crowd is on its feet. Fantastic atmosphere.

8.04pm JB:

The royal entourage is taking their seats. My neck is killing me from looking up at this screen all the time! Bit of a close call there as one of the parachutists get a little too close to the crowd.

8pm: Dubai One TV announces that the name of the Burj Dubai has been renamed Burj Khalifa in honour of the UAE president.

7.58pm SM: A stream of video camera and mobiles emerge to capture the amazing display of Dubai Fountain - reminding us that we've forgotten to bring our cameras. Hopefully our photographers have not done the same.

7.55pm JB:

Sheikh Mohammed

as officially declared the Burj Dubai open and there is huge applause. He unveils a plaque to celebrate the event. The bagpipes are in full blow.

7.53pm JB: And were off... Dubai Fountain explodes into life as HH approaches his seat. He now starts to say a few words in Arabic. We'll try to get a translation as soon as possible.

7.50pm AB: Ok, we're close to the big moment. HH closes in on the public area and again there is loud applause. HH will now walk towards the VIP area and the inauguration will shortly begin.

7.45pm JB: We are now watching a video of HH texting - perhaps Obama or Brown - or maybe Arabian Business to say he didn't receive his newsletter this afternoon!

7.39pm AB:

HH is now being given a tour by Emaar chief
Mohamed Alabbar

. The VIP area is now full and we're waiting for Sheikh Mohammed to join us to get the show underway. If there are any Indian takeaway drivers nearby with a spare Biryani on board, please come on over to Row 17 when the AB team will gladly pay over the odds to ease our rumbling stomachs.

7.20pm JB:

Sheikh Mohammed is greeted by Emirati schoolchildren lined up outside the tower. He has a sea of people accompanying him including Sultan bin Sulayem, boss of

. Guests are on the edge of their seats waiting for HH to arrive.

7.15pm AB:

Dubai ruler
Sheikh Mohammed

has arrived. Applause breaks out among the thousands gathered here as they glimpse him on the live TV feed.

7.06pm JB: Six balloons have just been released. Sincerely hope that isn't the sum of the celebrations!! Meanwhile the Dubai Police Bagpipe Band is warming up.

7pm JB:

We're watching the live TV feed panning across the crowd. There is literally thousands of people here and the excitement is building. We think we've just had our first sighting of Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan which might be a sign that things are about to move up a notch.


Just over an hour to go until the show gets underway so who's ready for another Burj Dubai fact while our reporters seek out the celebrities attending tonight's event. Ok, here's one for all you fitness freaks, the total
number of stairs to Level 160 of Burj Dubai is 2,909

; to climb even higher, ladders are used. You could burn a lot of calories trotting up to the office every morning.


Earlier we reported how tickets for the
Burj Dubai tour would cost AED100

for adults. We're currently running a poll on our home page so if you have a view, why not cast your vote.

6.45pm JB:

Further to our blog at 5.50pm, it seems the eyes of the world are on Dubai tonight. Our newsdesk has just told me it has had emails from people in both the UK and US asking for details about when things start. On the ground, we are still watching streams of people filtering over the bridge to their seats. Apart from a few flickers of light, there's no sign of life at the
Burj Dubai

yet and the spire is in complete darkness.


Stay logged on to Arabian Business tonight as we'll be giving you a blow by blow account of the celebrations and our photographers will be filing pictures from the fireworks, water and light shows. Promises to be pretty spectacular with no less than
10,000 fireworks

on display so if you can't be here tonight, experience the next best thing and let us entertain you.


Just while we are waiting for something to happen, here's another
Burj Dubai fact

. The water babies among you might like to know that the Burj Dubai features the world’s highest swimming pool on Level 76. That’s at a trunks-wetting height of more than 260 metres. On the plus side, you’re closer to the sun so presumably it doesn’t take so long to dry off.

6.26pm SM:

We're now in the VVIP section, how exciting. The upgrade on VIP means we get free drinks. How high can AB go? The only thing missing is some food. We have one Kitkat between the three of us!

6.20pm SM:

We've been asked to take our seats. We are beside the red carpet - in front of the very very important people (VVIP). It seems we are VIP not VVIP. I'm happy with that I think, first time I've been classed a very important anything!

6.15pm JB:

An Emirati usher has just given us her thoughts on attending the opening. "It's a very important event for my country.
This has really put us on the map

and I am part of it. I am very proud to be an Emirati today", she tells me.

6.10 SM:

The balloon is now taking off as dusk sets in. There is a single green light visible part of the way up. There is a giant

sign with photos of
Sheikh Mohammed

on the left and Sheikh Khalifa on the right. In the middle is a video feed from Dubai One.

6.07pm JB:

Dubai Police's band has just arrived with about 15 members carrying bagpipes. Apparently they will be serenading the crowd as part of tonight's show. Any Scottish guests here tonight will be especially pleased.

6.05pm Shane McGinley:

There's a large blue balloon to the left of the stage - have
guests beaten the traffic

by taking to the skies?

6.05pm JB:

A huge inflatable floating structure has just been unveiled on the lake at the foot of the Burj. It looks like a replica of the hymenocallis flower that the Burj Dubai design is based on.

6pm JB:

There are still hordes of people queuing to get over the bridge, backing up all the way back through Dubai.
The balconies of The Address

hotel, opposite, are crammed with people jostling for a better view of the Burj Dubai. Just a thought... I wonder if any of the 12,000 labourers who built the world's tallest tower are here tonight. Will find someone to ask and report back later.

5.55pm JB:

We're now ensconsed next to the red carpet in the VIP area. Will keep you posted on any star names who show up. Rumour has it that we'll see Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie among other A-list celebs.


I'm just hearing that the opening of the Burj Dubai has become an internet sensation today, dominating the top 15 most popular search terms in Google across the world. “Burj Dubai” was 15th on the Google list as of 4.15pm Dubai time, three hours ahead of the official launch. Add in “tallest building in the world”, the sixth highest search term of the day, and “dubai tower” at number 12 on the list, and the iconic skyscraper opening is comfortably the biggest draw on the internet today.

5.46pm AW:

Having ploughed through Dubai Mall, we've now entered Burj Dubai island and the crowd is already thousands strong - phenomenal, the atmosphere is like nothing else I've experienced in Dubai and there's still
two hours until showtime

. It's absolutely heaving here so if you're not already here, I'd stay at home!

5.45pm: All being well, the fun is due to start at about 8pm and our reporters on the ground will be bringing you the latest news and photos from the event as it happens. We're told the inauguration performance will begin with a short film which depicts the story of Dubai and the evolution of Burj Dubai as the
world’s tallest building

. Who needs Avatar eh?

And while we're on Hollywood blockbusters, in a scene not unlike The DaVinci Code, tonight is the night we unlock the mystery that has haunted media across the globe - the final height of the world's tallest tower. Our money is on 818 metres but we'll see...

5.30pm Anil Bhoyrul and Joanne Bladd:

Welcome back to our live coverage of the day of the
Burj Dubai

opening. Earlier this morning, Anil Bhoyrul
blogged from the observation desk

, 124 storeys above Dubai and now we await what should be a spectacular show involving
10,000 fireworks, light beams and water fountains


However, things have not got off to the best of starts with chaos and mass confusion reigning at the Address Hotel where 300 of the world's media have gathered to get their seats for tonight's show. Shuttle buses are in traffic and half of the security badges have not arrived. PR people are currently leading reporters through the Dubai Mall in a bid to get to their destination but it seems they don't know which way to go. Jo says: "We are currently retracing our steps after a comedy 'I'm following you' but 'I'm following you' moment. Oh well, at least we're getting some exercise. Who says Dubai is pedestrian unfriendly?

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