World's largest falconry exhibition opens in Riyadh

Event aims to preserve Saudi heritage and raise awareness of different breeds

Saudi Arabia's International Falcon and Hunting Exhibition has opened to visitors.

The event, which began on Saturday at the Saudi Falcon Club north of Riyadh, will run until October 10. It aims to preserve Saudi culture and heritage while raising awareness of different breeds, hunting, and sports that can be passed on to future generations.

The club was established in 2017 by a royal decree to support Arab falconers and help to preserve the heritage and traditions of falconry.

Hunting with falcons, the fastest birds on the planet, has been an integral part of Bedouin history on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 10,000 years, although hunting has been banned in Saudi Arabia since 1975.

The club's 'Wild Allies' documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the passion and dedication of those who raise birds to compete in one of the world’s biggest falconry festivals. The film, which premiered on National Geographic, will be available to stream until October.

Hussam Al Huzaimi, chief executive of the Saudi Falcon Club, said the documentary aims to raise awareness of the ancient art of falconry, which is integral to Saudi heritage.

“I believe this fascinating documentary highlights that the races are more than just supporting entertainment; they are a crucial part of a bigger plan to create a greener and more sustainable Saudi Arabia. And being part of all that has been incredible,” he told The National.

Twenty-nine artists and craftsmen from 10 countries are exhibiting at the exhibition, the largest in the world. It offers activities for visitors including shooting ranges and a digital museum.

Falconry is recorded by historians as one of the oldest human activities.

Updated: October 5th 2021, 4:02 PM