Casares is a typical Andalucian white village. The houses are of Moorish design, painted white to reflect the heat of the summer sun and with small windows to keep the heat out in summer and the warmth in in winter. It is built on the sides and top of a precipitous buttress with a well preserved Arab castle on the summit commanding a fine view of the surrounding area, particularly south and south west. The roads into the village follow narrow ridges that would have been easy to defend. In fact Casares was one of the few places never to be occupied by the French in the late 18th Century.
As the crow flies Casares is situated 12 kilometres NNW of Sabinillas and the coast. By road however the distance is around 18 kilometres.
Take the N340 to Sabinillas, turn inland at the roundabout in Sabinillas, following the signs for Manilva. At Manilva go around the village staying on the main road. As you leave the village you will pass over the toll road and at a roundabout go straight on following the signs for Casares. After 9 kilometres turn right and follow this road into Casares itself.
Casares is built on a sandstone buttress that protrudes from the surrounding limestone. The highest point in the village is the castle and cemetery at 435 metres. To the west is the limestone mountain of Crestellina and to the east the mountain of Los Reales at 1,440 metres. North is the mountain of La Ultrera. The valley running south contains the Rio Manilva.
Casares was an established village by the time the Romans arrived in the area by which time Casares even had its own mint. Julius Caesar is said to have ordered the building of the Banos de la Hedionda, Roman Baths, to cure him of a skin complaint received through bathing in sulphur springs. These may well be the springs near Manilva since local legend has it that he also bathed there.
Casares is the birthplace of the father of Andalucia, Blas Infante and its Arab castle is the site of the surrender of the Moors to the Duke of Arcos. Events notable enough to have Casares declared a place of historical and artistic interest.
The crags around Casares are home to a colony of Griffon vultures. These majestic birds, with a wingspan of 2 metres, glide on the thermals between Crestellina and La Utrera almost daily. The landscape surrounding Casares is predominantly maquis, the tough, low, woody shrubs and herbs typical of the Mediterranean. This merges into the pine forests on the Los Reales ridge.
The local fair is in the first two weeks of August The local saint's day, La Virgen del Rosario is celebrated during the first week of September and a pilgrimage to pay homage to the saint takes place in May. The Christo fair is in the middle of September.
© Nicholas Craig Nutter 2004 - 2012. Nick Nutter asserts his rights as the author of this article and all associated images. This article and images may not be copied or reproduced in any way without written permission of the author.