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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Chicago may have pioneered the skyscraper, but the over-the-top emirate of Dubai is taking the form to dizzying new heights -- literally. The brand-new Burj Khalifa (formerly known as the Burj Dubai) is the tallest building in the world; at over 800 meters high (about half a mile), it, well, towers over its closest runner-up, the 508-meter Taipei 101.
But the Burj Dubai is just the tip of the architectural iceberg. Over the past couple of decades Dubai has seen an unprecedented construction boom, and each new hotel, mall and high-rise is glitzier and more expensive than the last. Buildings of note include the iconic Burj al-Arab, the world's only seven-star hotel, and the angular Emirates Towers, two side-by-side structures of gleaming glass and steel. Travelers looking for the more traditional side of Dubai can visit its many mosques, which showcase traditional Islamic architecture with lovely domes, colorful tilework and soaring minarets.