The King’s Little Pathway in Spain receives a Grand Prix and the Public Choice Award
The rehabilitation of the King’s Little Pathway in El Chorro gorge in Malaga, Spain, was the big winner of the 2016 edition of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards: the expert jury granted it a Grand Prix and €10,000 while the general public selected it as their favourite heritage project in Europe. The project’s representative received the Grand Prix from EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and the Public Choice Award from Europa Nostra’s President Plácido Domingo under loud applause from the audience gathered at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid on the evening of 24 May 2016. Some 7,500 people voted for their top favourite achievements from among this year’s 28 winners. The online vote, which is in its fifth edition, was conducted via the Europa Nostra website.
The King’s Little Pathway was constructed in the early 20th century to enable the population of El Chorro village to access the hydroelectric plant where most of the inhabitants worked. With the suspended walkway in place, the villagers could avoid travelling the long way around the mountain. Children also used the route to walk to the nearby school. In recent times, the King’s Little Pathway had become a popular hiking destination. However the crumbling nature of the aged structure resulted in it being dubbed “one of the world’s scariest hikes”. “The renovation of the King’s Little Pathway has opened up this unique example of natural and industrial heritage to all visitors”, affirmed the jury, who also praised the conservation team for building a path which incorporated or was just above the original walkway.
The rehabilitation of the King’s Little Pathway gained broad support from the voters, many of whom posted their messages on the Europa Nostra website.
In his introductory speech, Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra, read a special message written by Stephanie Philippaerts, a voter from Belgium who was invited by Europa Nostra and the European Commission to participate in the presentation ceremony: “Our heritage is, after all, much more than an old, dead place visited by tourists. With the right incentives and an open mind, it truly becomes a part of our contemporary lives,” she wrote.
The project with the second highest number of votes was the renovation of De Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium. “This project brought new life to the former Stella Artois brewery – transforming it into a centre of creative enterprise and preserving the beautiful brewing machinery for present and future generations to enjoy,” stated Denis de Kergorlay.
The conservation of the Byzantine Church of St. Peter in Kastania, Mani, Greece, took third place. “This project was completed with tremendous commitment from the local community and was respectful of the many traces of its long history,” noted the Executive President of Europa Nostra.
(Ceremony full version)