The glitzy emirate of Dubai is no stranger to the Guinness World Records committee. Over the past decade, it has snapped up honors for the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa), tallest hotel (JW Marriott Marquis) and largest manmade island (Palm Jumeirah), among other superlatives. Now, it can boast another title as home to the world’s biggest pyrotechnics display, thanks to an extravagant citywide showcase early Wednesday morning that shattered the previous record by more than 400,000 fireworks.
Alistair Richards, global president of Guinness World Records, said the magnitude of the New Year's project was “truly impressive and will ensure all eyes are on Dubai” -- and on Dubai they were. More than a half-million people tuned in to watch the show online, while millions more saw it on the television news.
The grand spectacle spanned the entire city from the towering Burj Khalifa to the island of Palm Jumeirah and miles upon miles of waterfront beyond. The final salvo of fireworks formed an artificial “sunrise” along the seafront, heralding a new dawn for this city of big dreams and unrelenting ambition.
“The celebrations marked the end of a momentous year for Dubai -- a year which has laid the groundwork for a prosperous future,” Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said in a statement Wednesday. Dubai recently won the honor of hosting the World Expo 2020, an event Almarri said would provide a unique platform on which “to communicate the remarkable story of a young city and nation and allow us to positively shape global perceptions of the Arabian Gulf as a destination for both business and leisure.
“The recent celebrations of the Expo win, the 42nd National Day and last night’s record-breaking firework displays have shown the ability of Dubai’s government and private sectors to come together and mark important occasions with creativity and style,” he added. “Once again, this New Year began with images of our emirate being shown around the world.”
The sheer scale of Dubai’s fireworks display is staggering and perhaps best appreciated when broken down by the numbers:
500,000: The number of fireworks that exploded over Dubai in the first few minutes of 2014.
77,282: The previous record for number of fireworks in a single display, set by Kuwait in 2012.
60: How many seconds it took Dubai to shatter Kuwait’s fireworks record.
6: The number of minutes fireworks lit up the sky over Dubai.
2,717: The height in feet of the Burj Khalifa, which played an integral role in the fireworks display.
3,280: The height in feet of the highest fireworks launched in Dubai in 2014.
400: The number of locations on the Dubai shoreline that staged firework displays.
62: The length in miles of waterfront lit up for the record-breaking spectacular.
100: The number of computers used to synchronize the pyrotechnics and choreograph them with the musical soundtrack.
200: The number of expert technicians from U.S.-based Fireworks by Grucci who worked on the Dubai display.
5,000: How many man-hours it took the technicians to ensure the fireworks’ timing was accurate down to the millisecond.
10: How many months it took to plan the New Year’s extravaganza.
6,000,000: How much it cost in U.S. dollars to set a new world record for pyrotechnics.
Mark Johanson is the travel editor at the International Business Times. He has traveled to and written about more than 30 nations and territories on every continent except...