A huge crowd turned up to watch the New Year fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma and Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai Sydney Harbour Bridge. The London Eye. Times Square in New York. The Burj Khalifa.

At the stroke of midnight, Dubai joined an exclusive club of world cities whose landmarks are iconic in bringing in the New Year.

 As the clock ticked towards the first seconds of 2011, thousands of New Year revellers celebrated as the world's tallest building turned into a virtual column of colour and dazzle with a spectacular fireworks display.

The year 2010 was eventful for the UAE:

In pictures: Key UAE moments in 2010

From Sharjah to Satwa, Nad Al Sheba to Naif, Al Wasl to Al Warqa, the inky blackness over Dubai was turned to a palette of glowing greens, silver and red during the  fireworks.

Along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, thousands gathered too for fireworks, while along Dubai's seafront, the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis hotels battled it out in a dazzling display of pyrotechnic rivalry.

One year old

The Burj Khalifa turns one year old on Tuesday. Already, though, with last night's celebrations, the 828-metre spire brashly and brightly announced its advent as the place to be in the Middle East for bringing in the New Year and banishing the old.

In Sydney, Australians camped out near the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to ring in 2011. In Melbourne, fireworks were cancelled due to thunderstorms while across the continent, pyrotechnics were banned because of fire risks associated with tinderbox conditions.

In London, on the banks of the Thames, a crowd in excess of 200,000 was expected to gather to watch a fireworks display at the London Eye, also marking its 10th anniversary in the shadows of Big Ben as it chimed in 2011.

Under tight security, a million revellers were expected to watch the Waterford Crystal ball fall from a pole at Times Square in New York, which is still digging out from 50 centimetres of snow amid sub-zero temperatures.

In Dubai, though, the weather was a pleasant 15°C, warmed even further by wellwishers who dined and watched the entertainment around the Burj Khalifa. It's going to take a long time for Dubai's spire and spirits to be topped.