Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE's founding father, left behind a legacy of noble values such as equality, tolerance, and generosity.
Having led the UAE for 33 years, the inspirational leader envisioned and eventually transformed the Gulf nation into the modern and futuristic country you see today. But, obviously, it wasn't always this way. Thanks to a newly released digital archive, we are finally getting a rare glimpse of history.
The Arabian Gulf Digital Archive, a digital project co-launched by the UAE and the UK, is flooded with hundreds of thousands of photos of the Gulf country, its leaders, and meetings with international politicians.
In particular, the vintage photos of Sheikh Zayed on the platform will make you wish time travel were real. From hosting Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1979 to visiting The Great Wall of China in 1990 - here's how Sheikh Zayed was living it up during those times:
1. Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Mohammed (1998)
This photo was taken on Dec. 11, 1978, during an event titled "The Arabs' Knight" - organized by the Equestrian Federation at the closing of the horse racing competition at Zayed Sports City.
2. Sheikh Zayed welcomes Queen Elizabeth II in Abu Dhabi (1979)
In February 1979, Sheikh Zayed welcomed Britain's Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival at Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi.
3. Another photo, another angle (1979)
This photo was also taken as Sheikh Zayed was greeting Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival to the UAE capital.
4. True royals (1979)
5. If only Instagram existed at the time, right? (1969)
Sheikh Zayed had an immense interest in falconry - something he discovered in the heart of the desert where he lived among Bedouins.
This photo was taken in 1969 and captures the authentic falconry spirit.
6. A falconry festival like no other (1976)
Both Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum attended the International Festival of Falconry in 1976. The photo was taken on Dec. 16, to be exact.
7. Sheikh Zayed at The Great Wall of China (1990)
In May 1990, Sheikh Zayed flew out to China, and, like any tourist, visited The Great Wall of China.
8. Just casually hanging out with officials (1990)
9. In New York for the first time (1957)
Sheikh Zayed landed in New York City for the first time in 1957. This photo was taken on April 20 of that year.
10. With the guys in NYC (1957)
11. The falconry spirit was ON (1976)
This photo was shot during a competition for Arab and Foreign falconers at the Abu Dhabi Shooting and Equestrian Club in December 1976.
12. Deep conversations in Al Ain (1954)
Sheikh Zayed conversing with a British Royal Air Force photographer in Al Ain.
About the archive
Previously, the images were only accessible to people who searched file boxes in reading rooms in the UK National Archives in London, according to Gulf News. Now, the vintage photographs are available to anyone with an internet connection.
The photos span over two centuries, so you can imagine how much material one can find when spending hours searching and scrolling.