Moods of the Desert

These pictures were shot from a balloon (such as the one seen in the photos below), during a balloon flight over the deserts near Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

The balloon is taking off
The balloon is taking off
Sun rising over the desert
Sun rising over the desert

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Huge sand dunes - view from the top
Huge sand dunes – view from the top

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An oasis in the desert
An oasis in the desert

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‘At the Top’ of Burj Khalifa, Dubai – The worlds’ Tallest Building (United Arab Emirates)

Burj Khalifa or “Khalifa Tower” is a mega tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest structure in the world standing at 829.8m. The construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed in 2009. The building was opened in 2010. It is designed to be the centerpiece of large-scale, mixed use development. The decision to build a building of such proportion was for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building was named in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalif bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest tower in the world.

Burj Khalifa was designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Hyder consulting was chosen to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project.

“At the Top”
The major attraction of the tower is the outdoor observation deck named “At the Top” opened on 5th January 2010 at the 124th floor. From the observation deck you can have an awe inspiring aerial view of Dubai. At 452 meter it was the highest observation deck in the world and the highest outdoor observation deck in the world when it opened. Although it was surpassed in December 2011 by Cloud Top 488 on the Canton Tower at 488m, Burj Khalifa opend the 148th floor SKY level at 555 m, once again giving it the highest observation deck in the world on 15 October 2014. The below pictures were taken by me from “At the Top” during my visit in May-2010. Visitors are able to purchase the tickets online in advance for a specific date and time and at a discounted rate over tickets purchased on the spot.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
Around the Burj
A view from the lobby
A view from the lobby
A view from the lobby
A view from the lobby
From the earth to the sky
From the earth to the sky
I am Burj Khalifa
I am Burj Khalifa
The outdoor observation deck at the 124th floor
The outdoor observation deck at the 124th floor
A view of the Burj from the outdoor observation deck
A view of the Burj from the outdoor observation deck
The curio shop "At the Top"
The curio shop “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”

18 Burj Khalifa (14)

The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”
The view from "At the Top"
The view from “At the Top”

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The mosque was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure which unites the cultural diversity of Islamic world, the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds besides the same mosque. The mosque was constructed from 1996 to 2007. The mosque complex covers an area of around 30 acers exclusive of exterior landscaping and vehicle parking. It is the country’s key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers.

The Grand Mosque’s design and construction “unites the world” by using artisans and materials from many countries including India, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Republic of Macedonia and United Arab Emirates. More than 3,000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the mosque. Natural materials were chosen for much of its design and construction due to their long lasting qualities, including marble stone, gold, semi-precious stone, crystals and ceramics. It was built by the Italian company Impregilo. The design of the mosque was inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco being direct influences. Grand Mosque’s design was a fusion of Arab, Persian, Mughal and Moorish architecture.

The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 60,570 square feet and was made by around 1,200 – 1,300 carpet knotters and took approximately 2 years to complete. The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool originating from New Zealand and Iran.

The seven chandeliers were made by Faustig in Munich, Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier is the second largest known chandelier inside a mosque, the third largest in the world and has a 10 m diameter and 15 m height.

The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl. The 99 names (qualities or attributes) of Allah are featured on the Qibla wall in traditional Kufic calligraphy is designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher, Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi.