|The lovely evening light in Casares makes for a pleasant stroll.|
Casares Village walk
Head for Plaza de España the main square. The square has improved greatly in the last few years for the point of view of a tourist in that it now has pavement cafés which is most welcoming. The neoclasical four spout Carlos III fountain has brought fresh water to this village square since 1785 and sits in the centre. For an even better view try the roof-top terrace of the Bar / Restaurant "La Bodeguito en Medio".
In the square notice the statue of Blas Infante the Andalucia Nationalist leader who was born here on July 5th 1885 and executed by Franco's own rebels at the start of the civil war. A short walk from the square in Calle Carrera, 51 Blas Infante's birth place has been turned into a small museum and tourist office. (Open Winter: Mon-Fri 11.30 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 18.30. Sat 11.00 to 16.00 hrs. Summer: Mon-Sat 11.00-16.00. Sun always closed)
|The picture post card village of Casares|
Those wanting a rewarding experience will follow the narrow street adjacent to the 17th Century Iglesia de San Sebastian. This is a simple church with a single nave. there is a bell tower on the facade. Note the image of the Virgin de Rosario, the village's patron saint.
Continue walking up Calle Villa, under the enclosed passageway archway Arco de la Villa through the castle walls. Do stop for a look around Montse's souvenier shop which was once the ‘Museo de Etnohistoria' , double back, keep climbing up and you will have reached the top of the town of some 1,400 feet above sea level.
Within the old fortress here and a derelict church Iglesia de la Encarnación (see below) converted in 2010 into Centro Cultural Blas Infante, the Hermitage of Vera Cruz as well as a marvelous view overlooking the rooftops of the village.
During the savagery of the civil war when the church was reduced to ruins it was common for factions to dispose of their enemies by hurling them in time honoured fashion into the deep gorge below. Looking across the gorge to the right of Restaurant la Teraza a simple iron cross marks and remembers another civil war hurling site.
On the other side, from a sort of never used open auditorium, watch for peregrine falcons and kestrels and, on a clear day, you will be able to spy on the African coast with the Rock of Gibraltar looming craggily in the foreground.
Do visit the old beautiful cemetry, (open Mon to Fri 09.00-14.00, 15.00-17.00 and Sunday 09.00-14.00) even if you are now short of time.
There are two entrances into the fortifications, so you can take a circular journey and decent through what looks like a council housing estate into Calle Arrobal past a village store. Turn right at the junction and pass under some kind of formal arch gate. The base of the walls is certainly Moorish but everything shoulder height or higher dates from after 1500. Look up and note the reconstructed shute for pourng hot oil or dirty matter on unwelcome visitors.
This route was actually the basis of a treasure hunt to mark the 20th Anniversary of Andalucia.com.
Private small group tours
Private half day tour in Casares: Hedionda Baths and Blas Infante
Private half day small group tour in Casares, visit birthplace of Blas Infante. Stroll along narrow streets until reaching up to the Moorish castle. Visit the old crafts museum. Discover where the Roman Hedionda baths are located.
Monday to Saturdays.
From central Marbella hotels - 79 €
Centro Cultural Blas Infante (Iglesia de la Incarncion)
The ruined church, Iglesia de la Encarnación was built in 1505 sever years after the reconquest from the ruins of the mosque in Gothic / Mudejar style. The bell tower is though to be largely reconstructed from the original minaret. One of the interior arches that separate the three naves is also thought to be a Visigoth construct which preceded the mosque. It remained in frequent us use until 1845, and the building was badly damaged by anarchists during the Civil War of 1936-39. In 2006 reconstruction began and it was opened in 2010 as Centro Cultural Blas Infante, a small musuem and cultural centre. Entrance is 3€ and summer opening hours are 09.30-13.30 hrs and winter hours are 11.00-14.00 and 16.30-18.30 hrs. Closed Sundays.
Hermitage of Vera Cruz
This is the 30m2 domed alcove which may have been an altar room. Three of it four walls are still standing and there are pitted here and there bullet holes. It was built in 1811 from remnants of the ruined castle.