casares history - Julius Caesar
The story has it that when Julius Caesar visited the area surrounding this small town, he ordered the construction of the village due to the curative properties of the sulphurous and alkaline waters on a skin infection which had plagued him since childhood. He also constructed a magnificent villa here which is today considered a major historic monument.
Casares is in a dramatic position on the edge of a cliff and is considered to one of the more beautiful "pueblos blancos" of Malaga - these distinctive "white villages" which are steadily gaining popularity with tourist anxious to escape the Costa crowds.
It was in Casares also that the Duke of Arcos forced the surrender of the rebel Moors and in Roman times was sufficiently wealthy community to warrant the construction of the Town Hall.
The Emperor of Adriano also passed through Casares en route to Cadiz and in 1885, Blas Infante was born here, a famous lawyer in his time, as well as politician and writer. Although he died during the Spanish Civil War he is still recognised as an important figure in the history of Andalucia and his place of birth is a popular tourist site. The countryside surround Casares is varied and lush. There are the magnificent mountain ranges of the Serrania de Ronda; the close proximity of long sandy beaches and the Rock of Gibraltar all within easy reach and contributing to the region's culture, history and tradition.
The villa of Caesar was built around the Arab for, the Castillo Hisa which dates back to the 13th century and sits magnificently on top of the mountain. Today, only its walls and two entrances in the shape of an arch can be appreciated. Surround the building the actual village was built. Some three centuries later, the ruins of the Moorish castle were converted into the Parish Church of La Encarnacion, which still has a strong ecclesiastical presence in the town, together with the Ermita de la Vera Cruz and similar buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The nerve centre of Casares is the Plaza de España, a community centre and the place where all the principal streets seem to lead. It can be truly stated that every monument seems to have a story to tell, such as the Capuccinos and Santa Catalina which were built between the 16th and 18th centuries and still remain as fascinating tributes to the history of the town.
Fiestas in Casares
In Casares, the fiestas are wonderfully typical and festive. Each year several are celebrated, including that named after the patron saint, the Virgin del Rosario, which is commemorated during the first week of September and the whole town celebrates with wine and music, as well as dancing the wonderfully distinctive "casareno" folk dances, which are unique to this region of Andalucia.
Every corner holds its own, distinct charm in Casares. This, aside from the sheer wealth of history reflected by the numerous remaining monuments and churches. Prehistoric remains are also here, such as the Iber-Roman fortress of Lacipo or the famous Baths de la Hedioda. The natural beauty of the area is also protected and includes the Sierra Bermeja, Crestallina de Utrera.
In the Sierra Bermeja one can enjoy an authenic botanical garden, in the Sierra Crestallina, a varied range of birdlife, such as the exotic tawny vulture, the migratory falcon or the eagle. In the Sierra de Utrera, comprising a mass of slimy rocks, architectural deposits and historic remains are concentrated, together with numerous grottoes which will truly delight anyone, especially those with a spirit of adventure! And for those who are keener on more sporting pursuits, there are a number of equestrian and hiking opportunities. Yes, it is no exaggeration to state that Casares truly has something for everyone and should not be missed by the traveller's trip to the mountain.
This article was first published in the Andalucia Costa del Sol Magazine.