Every year, for a brief moment, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre comes alive with a celebration of hunting and heritage. Hunters and horseriders traverse the centre’s storied corridors, in search of weapons and wares, stopping on occasion to size up a falcon or two.
Now hosting its 19th event in two decades, the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex) has long been a staple of the UAE’s cultural calendar. To date, a total of more than 1.7 million people have attended.
This year alone, 105,000 visitors are expected to soak in a wide array of activities, including the Saluki annual beauty competition, camel auction, heritage and musical shows and mounted archery.
For many, the event embodies some of the foundations of Emirati culture, activities and heritage that have not only survived for thousands of years, but provided a means of survival
Almost a decade ago, then-director of Adihex, Abdulla Al Qubaisi, told The National: “Hunting here is not like in the West.
“Hunting in Arabic means sustainable hunting — with falcons and Saluki dogs — and fishing. It has a different meaning, it’s less aggressive.
“It has played a big role in our society, especially living by the sea and oases. But again, it’s sustainable — we try to live together.” Sustainability has remained central to the event since its inception, reflecting an ancient relationship between the Emirati people and the land they inhabit.
For the UAE, hunting is an extension of nature and of identity. At Adihex, it is celebrated alongside other aspects of Emirati culture, including poetry, painting and coffee brewing.
Over the years, the event, organised by the Emirates Falconers’ Club, has drawn a lengthy list of participants, from record-breaking swordsmiths to camel whisperers.
This year's event is once again placing Emirati sustainability and handicrafts in the spotlight, creating a platform for local creators and organisations to share their creations, and connect. They are joined by painters, calligraphers, photographers, artists and sculptors from the UAE and beyond, whose work explores desert and marine environments and heritage.
For the second time, Adihex will run for seven continuous days, before closing on October 2. Those who wish to attend can visit adihex.com for more details