Started at the height of the economic boom and built by some 12,000 laborers, the world's tallest building is to open today in Dubai as the glitzy emirate seeks to rekindle optimism after its financial crisis.

Burj Dubai, whose opening has been delayed twice since construction began in 2004, will mark another milestone for the deeply indebted emirate with a penchant for seeking new records.

Dubai, one of seven members of the United Arab Emirates, gained a reputation for excess with the creation of man-made islands shaped like palms and an indoor ski slope in the desert.

With investor confidence in Dubai badly bruised by the emirate's announcement in November that it would seek a debt standstill for one of its largest conglomerates, the Burj Dubai is seen as a positive start to the year after a bleak 2009.

The project has been scrutinized by human rights groups, who have objected to its treatment of laborers, as well as by environmentalists who said the tower would act as a power vacuum, increasing the city's already massive carbon footprint.

But despite the criticism, many say the edifice, believed to have cost $1.5 billion to build, is an architectural marvel.

The tower's height has been kept a closely guarded secret until now. Developer Emaar Properties PJSC will reveal the height -- known to exceed 800 meters (2,625 feet) -- on Tuesday and Dubai's ruler will inaugurate the opening.

Experts believe Dubai's recent financial troubles have not hurt sales of approximately 1,100 residential units in the Burj -- meaning tower in Arabic -- saying they were nearly all sold.

Dubai's real estate sector crashed at the end of 2008 when the global financial crisis hit the emirate after a six-year economic boom. Thousands of jobs were slashed and projects worth billions of dollars were canceled or delayed.

With analysts suggesting tax-free Dubai might sell some of its assets to boost revenues and slash $80 billion in debt, many wondered if the tower was on the list for grabs.

Dubai, with few natural resources of its own, expects a budget deficit of 2 percent of GDP this year.

In December, the emirate received a $10 billion lifeline from neighboring Abu Dhabi to repay a $4.1 billion bond for Nakheel, a property arm of indebted Dubai World, and other obligations.

(Read by Lee Hannon. Lee Hannon is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site.)

世界最高建筑“迪拜塔”于今日落成揭幕,这座高楼于经济鼎盛时期动工,约1.2万名工人参与建造,饱受债务危机之苦的迪拜酋长国希望能借此机会扬眉吐气。

迪拜塔于2004年动工,其揭幕日期两次延后。这座建筑有望打破世界最高建筑纪录,为深陷债务危机的迪拜开创一个新的里程碑。

迪拜是阿联酋七个酋长国之一,拥有人工修建的“棕榈岛”以及位于沙漠中的室内滑雪场,让其名噪一时。

2009年11月,迪拜宣布对其最大的一家集团公司暂停偿债,使投资者信心遭到重创。在这种情况下,迪拜塔的落成被视为黯淡的2009年过后迎接新年的良好开端。

该工程的建造曾受到人权组织的非议,称参与建筑的工人受到不公正待遇;环境保护主义者也曾批评迪拜塔耗能过度,将加剧该城市原本已经很庞大的碳足迹。

但尽管争议不断,仍有很多人认为,这座据称耗资15亿美元的摩天大楼是一项建筑奇迹。

直至今日,迪拜塔的“身高”仍是个秘密。开发商艾马尔地产公司将于本周二揭开这一谜底,据称塔高超过800米(2625英尺)。迪拜酋长将主持落成仪式。

专家认为,迪拜最近的债务危机并未影响到迪拜塔的销售,楼内近1100套住宅几乎售罄。在阿拉伯语中,Burj意为“高塔”。

2008年末,在全球经济危机的重创之下,经历了六年经济繁盛期的迪拜的房地产业崩溃。成千上万的工作机会被削减,价值数十亿美元的项目被迫取消或延期。

分析人士称,被称为“免税天堂”的迪拜或许将出售部分资产来增加收入,削减800亿美元的债务,因此很多人怀疑这座高塔是否被列入出售清单。

迪拜酋长国今年的预算赤字预计将占国内生产总值的2%。该国自然资源匮乏。

去年12月,迪拜从其邻国阿布扎比获得100亿美元的资金援助,用于支付Nakhee公司所应偿还的41亿美元的到期债券及其它债务。Nakheel公司是受债务危机困扰的“迪拜世界”旗下的房地产公司。


世界最高建筑“迪拜塔”今日落成揭幕: http://insuns.com/article/19373-1.html