A Look at the 6 Tallest Buildings in the Middle East

A Look at the 6 Tallest Buildings in the Middle East

The Jeddah Tower, which is under construction in Saudi Arabia, will become the world’s tallest skyscraper once it is finished. While no completion date has been set for the development, it is expected to serve as the heart of Jeddah Economic City. While the ambitious project was initiated in 2013, the 1,000-meter planned tower was less than one-quarter complete as of March 2020. Until it is complete, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) remains the tallest tower in the world at 829.8 meters. The following is a closer look at the Burj Khalifa and the five other tallest buildings in the Middle East:

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

In addition to being both the world’s tallest building and tallest free-standing structure, the Burj Khalifa holds the distinction of having the world’s highest outdoor observation deck and the tallest service elevator. To put its height in perspective, it is three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and twice as tall as the Empire State Building.

The $1.5 billion needle-shaped skyscraper, which is located in downtown Dubai, was unveiled in 2010 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It was designed in part by US architect Adrian Smith, who also contributed to the design of the Jeddah Tower, which was constructed over a six-year period. During peak construction, more than 12,000 workers were on site each day.

Originally known as the Burj Dubai, it was renamed Burj Khalifa as a nod to UAE president and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who helped to fund the project. The development features 900 apartment units, a health and wellness center, multiple fine-dining options, and a luxurious hotel designed by acclaimed Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower

Based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower extends 601 meters into the sky and is the third-tallest building in the world. Its clock face, which is the largest in the world, is visible from 25 kilometers away. Construction on the tower began in 2004 and wrapped up in 2012. While it is not as tall as the Burj Khalifa, it cost significantly more to build at $15 billion.

Part of the Abraj Al-Bait Endowment Complex, the 120-story tower has a distinct religious purpose. Situated at the center of the holiest Islamic city, it provides accommodations for Muslims who make the annual journey to Mecca during the Hajj period. It is also adjacent to the Grand Mosque, which attracts as many as 2 million worshipers during the event. Allah’s name is inscribed on the clock faces on each of the four sides near the top of the tower. Arabic script reading “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of God” adorns the west and east sides, while the words “God is the Greatest” are inscribed above the north and south clocks.

Milad Tower

Part of the Tehran International Trade and Convention Center, Milad Tower extends 435 meters high and is the tallest structure in Iran. The multi-purpose building was completed in 2007 and stands out for its 12-floor pod, the roof of which is situated at 315 meters. The area offers beautiful panoramic views of the city and encompasses a revolving restaurant, a public art gallery, and an open observation deck, among other attractions.

Marina 101

Marina 101 was completed in 2017, at which point it became the third-tallest building in the Middle East and second-tallest in Dubai behind the Burj Khalifa. The 101-floor, 425-meter structure is complemented by several other relatively tall buildings in the Dubai Marina district and is located near the Persian Gulf and the Palm Jumeirah Island development. It boasts the first Hard Rock Hotel in the Middle East, as well as serviced apartment units and, other than its height, is distinguishable from the surrounding buildings by its 45-meter crown.

Princess Tower

Princess Tower
Image by Serge Bystro | Flickr

Completed in 2012, Princess Tower in Dubai was the tallest residential building in the world until 2015, when it was surpassed by 432 Park Avenue in New York City, New York. The 414-meter structure boasts in excess of 750 apartment units and is centrally located near multiple malls, cultural attractions, and entertainment venues. In order to emphasize the building’s height and the surrounding skyline, one of the its patrons, Ahmad Alnaji, shot a time-lapse video from his 90th floor balcony while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: “There was this one moment when I felt like the clouds were literally hitting the window; it was like being on top of the world,” he told The National.

Al Hamra Tower

The tallest building in Kuwait and the sixth-tallest in the Middle East, Al Hamra Tower is 413 meters tall and boasts a unique, spiraling design that seems to unravel to its peak. The 80-story building houses a shopping mall and commercial office space. It cost $500 million to construct and was completed in 2011. The following year, it was a finalist in the Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa 2012 Awards of Excellence. The Al Hamra Tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, which also designed the Burj Khalifa and One World Trade Center, among other prominent skyscrapers.