El Caminito del Rey receives three most important UE rewards for Cultural Heritage Sites at the Europa Nostra Awards reception
The improvement of the above natural beauty site was granted the Grand Prix and the Public Choice Award at the today’s reception in Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid. Mr Bendodo praised the team work, which made the path’s refurbishment possible.
The refurbishment of El Caminito del Rey Path keeps getting awards. This very afternoon it has received three awards in Madrid. During the ceremony of Europa Nostra Awards, the UE Awards for Cultural Heritage Sites, it was revealed that, besides Europa Nostra Award, the County Council project was granted the Grand Prix Award by the experts and the Public Choice Award.
The County Council President, Elías Bendodo, received the prizes in Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid in front of a large crowd of a thousand people. The event was presented by Plácido Domingo, Europa Nostra President, and Tibor Navracsics, European Union Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
Mr Bendodo joined the event in company of various towns’ representatives, such as the mayor of Álora, José Sánchez, María del Mar González, who serves as Mayor of Ardales, Manuel Barón, Mayor of Antequera and the Mayor of Valle de Abdalajís, Víctor Manuel Castillo.
The Most Important European Heritage Award
Europa Nostra Award is the most prestigious prize in Europe in the case of inland heritage sites and it is supported by Europa Nostra, a federation which aims to protect European natural and cultural heritage, and which brings together 250 organizations, 150 associated bodies and 1,500 individual members from 40 countries. In Spain, the biggest organization in charge of looking after and promoting Spanish cultural heritage is Hispania Nostra, which has been active for 40 years.
El Caminito del Rey was one of the 28 awarded projects at this year competition, which welcomed other 187 projects in four categories: Conservation, Research, Dedicated Service by Individuals or Organizations, and Education, Training and Awareness-Raising. This one was the only Spanish project, together with the refurbishment of six churches in Lorca after the earthquake, which was awarded.
The prize which the path won was in Conservation Category, and it was handed in to Elías Bendodo by Fani Mallouchou-Tufano, President of the Jury and a Greek archaeologist.
One of the seven Grand Prix and the Public Choice Award
After all the awards had been handed in, the best seven projects which obtained Grand Prix prize were announced, and among them El Caminito del Rey. Afterwards, the most voted project on the Internet by European citizens was proclaimed. This Public Choice Award was also given to the path.
The European Commission has chosen El Caminito del Rey as an example of creativity, invention and sustainability in the European heritage field. In that sense, the jury described the inserting of the new boardwalks in the landscape as a ‘beautiful solution’, as well as the fact that the old structures were preserved and can be seen today.
The County Council President said: ‘it is a great honour to receive one of the seven great awards and to be elected by the jury among all presented European projects’.
As for the Public Choice Award, which was voted by the public on the Internet, he added: ‘We are particularly excited about receiving this award, as it is an accurate reflection of citizens participation in this event and it shows care and admiration that people worldwide feel for El Caminito del Rey. We have already realized there was a big interest in this path, considering that more than 300,000 visitors came to see it throughout the first year of its existence.’
Moreover, he showed gratitude towards the team which made this refurbishment possible, by saying: ‘I would like to specially congratulate the team of the County Council’s architects, headed by Luis Machuca, the experts in vertical work and the company Sando from Málaga on this accomplishment. Furthermore, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart to Europa Nostra, the European Commission, and the citizens who voted our project as the best one in the field of cultural heritage in 2016. This makes us feel proud of our work and motivated to continue working on this project in a same way in the future, giving an example of a loyal cooperation between different administrative units and different political parties. The refurbishment of our cultural heritage is not only our responsibility to past and future generations, but also a way to create job opportunities and make a profit. And this is what we have managed to do in the case of El Caminito del Rey.’
Finally, Mr Bendodo underlined that this project was successful due to a collaboration that the County Council had with determined Town Councils, and all political parties. He added that the Province of Málaga had achieved to make everybody agree on this project.
These three awards that El Caminito del Rey Path received today can be added to the list of other prizes that belong to El Caminito del Rey. To be precise, the path was awarded for emerging tourist destination by the Spanish Cabinet at the end of 2015, and, a month ago, it obtained a prize at the 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial in the category of Town Planning: Town and Landscape. Moreover, this project is going to be one of the fifteen projects that represent Spain at the Hispanic-American Architecture and Town Planning Biennial (Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo).