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El Caminito del Rey welcomes the visit of King Alfonso XIII through the theatre play on the trail

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El Caminito del Rey welcomes the visit of King Alfonso XIII through the theatre play on the trail

It was a weekend full of leisure, culture and sport activities, which were meant to commemorate the anniversary of the works on the El Chorro Hydroelectric Power Station, which were officially opened by the King 96 years ago.

There were all together five plays on Friday and Saturday for small groups of 25 people.

Besides enjoying the route and plays, the visitors could choose clothes from that period and participate themselves.

Next 21st May, will mark ninety-six years since King Alfonso XIII walked along the hanging boardwalks of El Caminito del Rey. The path was actually named after this visit, during which the King opened the works on the hydroelectric power station at El Chorro, which were created to provide Málaga with power and water. In order to commemorate that day, the company in charge of administration of El Caminito del Rey, as well as the Town Council of Ardales, organized special happening on the path during which the visitors will be able to revive memories of the King's hike through this nature site.

Real Stage

The company in the charge of the performances, which will take place at the spots visited by the King in the past, is the Town of Ardales Theatre (Grupo Municipal de Teatro). The route is starting at the King's Chair, the place where Alfonso XIII signed the documents which close the works and will continue up to the access to the canyons. There, the royal entourage will approach the Gaitanejo Reservoir, as they did in the past together with Rafael Benjumea, the engineer who was in charge of the project, who would explain how this hydroelectric power stations were technologically important.

The next part of the visit which was turned into a play was the walk that the King had along the boardwalks, impressed by the works and the natural surrounding. There will be 15 actors dressed as the people from that time. They will play the role of the entourage lead by the King and formed by politicians and experts who will follow him up to the bridge at the Toro Cave, where Alfonso XIII will abandon the path and say goodbye to other participants, who will go on a guidede tour along the rest of the path.

The visits with a theatre plat will have no more than 125 people, who will walk in groups of 25 people. Two of these visits are planed to be done: one on Friday,19th May, and another on Saturday 20th May. Those people who are interested in having this 'royal' experience and visit El Caminito del Rey path can book the visit at the Tourist Information Office in Ardales throgh the email: turismo@ardales.es. The price of the visit is €18 (the same as the price of the guided tours at the booking portal of El Caminito del Rey).

The First Engineering Project of its Kind in the World

In 1901, the works on the hydroelectric power complex were started in El Chorro. After more than 20 years new facilities, which provided the part of Málaga which is around Hoya and the Guadalhorce River with electric power, drinkable water and water for watering the fields, were finished. These works were considered to be one of the most innovative engineering projects from the beginning of the 20th century. For that purpose, the drops and elevations made by rivers in the canyons of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes were used in a risky operation for making a precipice which would help the first large hydroelectric power station in the south of Europe start running.

King Alfonso XIII opened the works following the plan made by the main engineer Rafael Benjumea. He came by train to the Gobantes Train Sation in Peñarrubia, after he had travelled by car to the area close to Villa de Ardales. There he crossed El Chorro Reservoir by boat and had a lunch close to the Engineer's House. The King then laid the first stone on the dam, carving his signature on the Sillón del Rey (The King's Chair) in the limestone, and then he continued his visit to the Gitanejo Power Plant and the boardwalks which used to connect the canal with the hydroelectric precipice. After he had gone along the first two canyons, the King went across the bridge at Toro Cave and went by train to El Chorro Station in Álora, where he continued his trip to Pizarra. Next day he opened several important projects in the Town of Málaga.