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The Nomination Proposal for inclusion of El Caminito del Rey and its Surroundings on the World Heritage List gets more than 20,000 supporters

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The Nomination Proposal for inclusion of El Caminito del Rey and its Surroundings on the World Heritage List gets more than 20,000 supporters

It has been a year since the campaign lead by the County Council of Málaga to get the support by individuals, institutions and public and private bodies started.Francisco Salado indicates the importance of the great support for the above initiative given by the citizens from seventy-six different countries from all over the world.The county government is working on raising awareness of the importance of the seven sites which form the proposal.

The Nomination Proposal for inclusion of El Caminito del Rey and its Surroundings on the World Heritage List have got more than 20,000 supporters, including institutions, public and private bodies and companies, and members of the public. Today has been one year since this project was set up by the County Council of Málaga in order to obtain support of this proposal (http://www.caminitodelrey.info/unesco/en/), which includes seven sites, chosen because of their geographic and natural uniqueness, human presence since prehistoric times or their industrial heritage.

These seven monuments are:

1.  Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Beauty Spotof great environmental and geomorphological interest with incredible landscape.

2. The Cave in Ardales, a prime cultural heritage from the Palaeolithic Period and a site which is famous for the human remains, archaeological evidence and prehistoric artwork.

3. Las Aguilillas Prehistoric Necropolis, a cemetery placed at the confluence of the rivers Guadalteba and Turón.

4. The Mozarabic cave country chapel in Bobastro, the Mozarabic town from the 9th and 10th century.

5. El Chorro Train Station and tunnels and bridges over the Gaitanes Gorge,  industrial and architectural heritage form the 20th century which was decisive for the development of Málaga.

6. The boardwalks on El Caminito del Rey Path and the hydroelectric dam, were crucial for the modernization and the energy supply of the Town of Málaga.

7.  El Chorro / The Count of Guadalhorce's Reservoir and Gaitanejo Dam, incredible 20th-century constructions which can be considered hydraulic heritage of the province and outstanding examples of harmony between buildings and nature in this natural beauty spot.

It is a long way to the nomination recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Having the proposal elaborated by the County Council in a document which defends the exceptional universal value of the project, the Andalusian regional government has to hand in the proposal to the Spanish Cultural Heritage Association, so that the Caminito del Rey proposal can be included on the list of nominees for the World Heritage Sites.

County Council President Francisco Salado backed the proposal, which also counted on participation of specialists for the seven sites, by saying that it gathers enough merits for gaining the UNESCO's recognition. He also said that the Caminito del Rey Path and surroundings represent the best summary of a great county heritage, and that the county Council, as a pubic body, had the obligation to conserve, protect, and talk about that heritage. He also added: "However, this is a work that should include all public and private bodies, and the citizens."

He explained that the County Council, besides starting up the proposal, has a challenge to make known the places included in the proposal, such as the Cave in Ardales, Las Aguilillas Necropolis, Bobastro and El Chorro Station.

Great Support by the Citizens, Institutions and Other Companies

Mr Salado emphasises that the proposal has a growing support, and currently counts on 20,024 supporters from 76 countries from all over the world, and reminds the public that they can back the proposal through the website www.caminitodelrey.info/unesco.

According to the survey carried out by the the Department for New Technologies and Modern Tourism  that belongs to the Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning, which is under the County Council of Málaga, the 98% of the supporters are members of the public, and 2% are entities.

As for the members of the public, the 89% were people who live in Spain and 11% individuals who live abroad. As for the national support, more than half of them (57%) are from the Province of Málaga. There are also individuals from all Spanish provinces, above all from Madrid, Seville, Cádiz, Granada, Córdoba, Valencia, Murcia, Barcelona, Vizcaya, Jaén, Alicante, Huelva, Girona, Guipúzcoa and Las Palmas.

Moreover, the analysis (which can be downloaded at this website) shows that the proposal was supported by the citizens from almost all European countries.  Those that stand out are, for instance, Portugal, Belgium, France, Italy,Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Romania, Finland, Russia and Switzerland. The study also shows that there are people from a lot of South American countries who are in favour of the proposal (especially from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico), as well as from the USA, Canada and Australia, and Asian countries like Hong Hong, the Philippines, Singapore, India and Japan.

In the same way, 350 institutions and companies, many of which are from the tourist industry, as well as economic entities and professional and social associations have openly supported this nomination. The fifth part of them are public bodies and institutions, while the rest of them are companies, and private associations or entities.

Award for the Refurbishment of the Path

The County Council President says that the refurbishment of the path has been awarded on many occasions at national and international level. Some of the awards are three Europa Nostra Awards, the most important awards in the field of cultural heritage given by the European Union; awards at 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial, as well as at the 10th HIspanic-American Architecture Biennal, and the award in architecture at the ArchMarathon in Milan.

Last year in December, the path was also awarded one of the prizes at the 3rd National 'Town and Territory Albert Serratosa' Award called, given by the Civil Engineers Association and the Caminos Foundation. Moreover, the Spanish cabinet awarded the path with the prize for emerging tourist destination and the Regional Government with the Premio Andalucía del Turismo (the Andalusian Award for Contribution to Tourism Sector) in 2016.

Francisco Salado underlines that the surroundings of the path, which has been visited and admired by one and a half million people since it was refurbished five years ago, have become a famous landmark and a symbol of the Province of Malaga, and, above all, one of the most important destinations in the field of cultural and ecotourism in Spain.  He also added that, thanks to this, the towns in the area have experienced a rather big social, economic, sustainable growth, which is also respectful to the natural and cultural heritage. This also increased their value.