23rd November, 2019

125,000 years of “History of the Emirates” celebrated in Burj Khalifa light show

125,000 years of “History of the Emirates” celebrated in Burj Khalifa light show

Image Nation’s landmark documentary airing on TV every night this week


  • Five episodes will be broadcast from 24 to 28 November at 9pm on national TV channels, with public screenings across the country
  • On Friday night, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa light show displayed a first look at the series
  • National mobile phone networks read ‘HSTORY UAE’ to mark the occasion
  • Interactive mobile digital museum has visited schools and universities across all seven emirates over the past two months

To view the trailer, click here.

For further images of the Burj Khalifa light show, click here.

23 November 2019: Image Nation Abu Dhabi launched the premiere of its groundbreaking documentary series History of the Emirates with a light show at the Burj Khalifa, an educational outreach campaign reaching thousands of students and community screenings across the UAE, while mobile networks read HSTORY UAE to mark the moment.

History of the Emirates spans 125,000 years of history, from the earliest human presence in the region to the national union in 1971. Leading up to the National Day celebration of the legacy of our ancestors, new episodes will air every night at 9pm from 24 to 28 November on all national TV channels across the UAE.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “More than a television series, History of the Emirates is a landmark event that will bring communities around the UAE together. The documentary spans from ancient archaeological discoveries to cutting-edge technological advances, shining a light on our remarkable heritage. Through these partnerships and activations, we are able to share these rich new stories with the whole country and inspire everyone to watch on TV next week.”

On Friday night, Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa light show captivated bystanders with a preview of the documentary’s immersive content, including archaeological discoveries, pearl-diving and animated ancient landscapes.

Mobile networks du and Etisalat, who will host the series on their on-demand streaming services, are displaying ‘HSTORY UAE’ on phones across the nation to highlight the program’s significance.

In Abu Dhabi, a number of majlis halls are streaming the first episode, and destinations around the country will host community screenings open to the public in the coming days, including Ajman Culture Center, RAK Cultural Center, Fujairah Cultural Central, Sharjah’s Cultural Palace, Cinema Akil, Etihad Museum, Umm Al Emarat Park and Qasr Al Hosn.

On 26 November, Louvre Abu Dhabi will screen an excerpt from the documentary as part of a talk about the Abu Dhabi Pearl, unveiled by DCT last month. Discovered on Marawah Island, the 8,000-year-old pearl is featured in episode 3 – Trade – of History of the Emirates and is currently on display at the museum.

Over the past two months, a mobile digital museum featuring innovative video, holographic artifacts and interactive VR content from the documentary has already travelled to public and private schools and universities across the Emirates, engaging students with the rich heritage of the UAE. In line with the new national history curriculum, the bus continues to visit schools around the country and will feature at the National Day Celebration at Zayed Sports City on 2 December.

About History of the Emirates

Presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the Academy Award-winning media and entertainment company, and produced by Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Atlantic Productions, History of the Emirates utilizes the latest cutting-edge technology — from CGI to LiDar scanning and 360 degree camera work — interwoven with never-before-seen archival footage, for a program unlike anything created in this region.

The series will also be combined with immersive content, a mobile digital museum and VR experiences which will transport viewers under the water with traditional pearl divers, across the desert, and inside Qasr al Hosn.

The five-part documentary will be airing on Dubai TV, Dubai One, Sama Dubai, Abu Dhabi TV, Baynounah TV, Dhafra TV, Ajman TV, Al Wosta TV, Al Sharqiya TV, Al Roya, National Geographic Abu Dhabi, MBC1 and further regional broadcasters in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. It will stream on Etisalat’s E-life and Du.

The production partners have also collaborated on the three-part UAE history series aimed at international audiences, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, which will air globally on National Geographic this December and be available on Emirates and Etihad inflight entertainment.

Community Screenings

  • Ajman Culture Center – 24-25 November (In association with Ministry of Culture & Knowledge)
  • Cultural Palace Sharjah – 26 November
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi – 26 November (registration required)
  • RAK Cultural Center – 27 November (In association with Ministry of Culture & Knowledge)
  • Fujairah Cultural Center – 28 November (In association with Ministry of Culture & Knowledge)

Umm Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi – every Friday from 29 November

  • Cinema Akil – 2-4 December
  • Qasr Al Hosn – every Friday from 28 December

Episode Information

The first episode, Society, opens the UAE’s story 125,000 years ago, following the earliest human migrations out of Africa and the birth of civilizations, as well as the beginning of the majlis system of consultation-driven governance and the UAE’s enduring belief in equality.

In episode two, Innovation, the documentary highlights how relentless innovation in fishing, farming and governance has helped the people of the UAE endure one of the world’s harshest climates for millennia.

Throughout the Trade episode, viewers see how the Emirates has been a focal point for people from across the globe for centuries, from ancient trading routes across Mleiha and Ed Dur to the modern shipping and aerial networks of the UAE.

Episode four, Belief, explores ancient Neolithic burial practices, evidence of snake-cults and sun temple ruins, while archaeological evidence reveals that the people here have always treasured the community above the individual. The episode demonstrates the UAE’s role as a beacon of peaceful co-existence, looking at the rise of Islam alongside other religious practices, such as the Christian monastery of Sir Bani Yas.

Titled Unity, the last episode will highlight the historic trend towards unity in the UAE. The documentary concludes with the origins and stories of the proud tribes of the nation over the past 200 years, and how they have adapted, evolved and eventually unified to form the United Arab Emirates in 1971.



About Image Nation Abu Dhabi

Image Nation Abu Dhabi is an award-winning film and entertainment company which has built its reputation on breaking boundaries and unleashing imagination. It creates films, TV series, documentaries and entertainment for consumers throughout the world and is the first UAE company to have multiple productions stream globally on Netflix. Its success spans the globe – screening content at over 400 international film festivals and receiving the industry’s highest honors, including two Academy Awards, a BAFTA and an Emmy.

Image Nation has a strong track record of producing high-quality productions through a combination of local talent and international expertise. The company encourages original thought and curiosity while providing a platform for inspiration and practical training through its robust development program, Arab Film Studio.

Its mission is to help build the film and entertainment industry across the GCC and MENA – a pioneering ambition in line with Abu Dhabi’s vision to shape a competitive, sustainable and globally open economy. Image Nation enables all those who engage with it to become guardians of culture and ambassadors of change.

About Atlantic Productions

Atlantic is one of the world’s leading documentary production companies and has won multiple BAFTA and Emmy awards. In 27 years, it has built a reputation for world-class storytelling, enhanced by the latest technology.

Atlantic’s diverse output includes 11 projects with David Attenborough including BAFTA award-winning Flying Monsters (Sky), Museum Alive (Sky) and The Great Barrier Reef (BBC); Inside the Commons (BBC), Time Scanners (NatGeo), Mission Galapagos (BBC), Jerusalem, City of Heaven (Discovery) and the acclaimed theatrical film The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest.  Recent projects include the critically acclaimed The Coronation (BBC/Smithsonian/ABC), made with HRH Queen Elizabeth, the five part series Deep Planet (Discovery) and Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure (ITV).  Atlantic won the first-ever BAFTA award for virtual reality with David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive VR.  Atlantic Productions produced the History of the Emirates series, as well as the immersive interactive app and VR experiences.


For further information, please contact:

Ailsa Martin

+971 56 503 4850

+971 (0) 2 234 4600

[email protected]