History of Casares
Due to the number of different cultures that passed through Andalusia over history and ended up inhabiting, Casares, in Roman times had its own coin minting. The Romans were also the ones who first valued the therapeutic properties of the sulphurous and alkaline waters that flow through the village. Tradition has it that it was Julio Cesar who ordered the baths, today known as Baños de la Hedionda, to be built as well as the entire village, according to tradition) around the natural spring after he himself had been cured of a skin disease while bathing.
The Arabs also left their mark on Casares in the town’s castle, around which the different farmsteads grew to later become the urban centre of the modern town. In the year 1361 Pedro El Cruel and the dethroned Mohamed 5th of Granada signed the Pacto de Casares, which led to the Moorish King regaining the throne. This automatically meant that Casares was integrated into the Nazari Kingdom. Caseres surrendered to the Reyes Católicos once Ronda had fallen in their hands in 1485, and it was then handed over to Rodrigo Ponce, the Duke of Cadiz, who lorded over it.
The primitive parish church La Encarnación, which dates from the 16th century, is built on the site of the castle remains that date from the 13th century. It was here in this area that the Duque de Arcos agreed the surrender of the Moorish rebels. This was because the rebel moors in the mountains; amongst which were Juan de Austria repressed those from Casares, harshly. This way the signed agreement between the Duke of Arcos and the Moors put an end to the repression.
In 1795 Manilva was given its independence and received the title of “Villa”, while Casares rose up against the French invasion and was one of the few villages that Napoleon’s troops could not capture.
Casares is situated in a particularly beautiful natural setting and offers a diversity second to none as far as landscapes are concerned with the Mediterranean Sea washing its shores at the Torre de la Sal, and the Sierra Crestellina and the Sierra Bermeja, two mountain ranges that are full of an incredible variety of flora and fauna to be admired and enjoyed, and last but not least are the grottoes of Macizo at Utrera..
As far as the village itself, the streets are narrow and quite steep in true Moorish style. And some of the streets are themselves quite famous like the Callejón del Rey, where it is said that a Moorish king met his death at the hands of his subjects who were fed up of the way that he treated them. Or there is also Calle Villa, which was the only entrance into Casares when it was a walled town, or Calle Mazmorrilla, where the old dungeons were situated. To reach the remains of the castle to enjoy the spectacular vies its position offers, visitors have to take Calle Arrabal, which is in itself quite a test due to its steep slope. On the down slope from the castle a stop off at the beautiful Plaza de España is well worth it. The central piece is the fountain built by Carlos III. A must visit is, of course, to the home of Blas Infante. It is a two-storey house with wooded doors and windows and geraniums hanging from the balconies. The inside is as near as you can get to a typical Andalusian interior. There is also an exhibition of some art forms from the Casares of today in the form of some special embroidery and all kinds of objects made out of esparto, both of which are very typical of Casares.
The importance of the cultural and historic heritage in Caseres (The Roman remains, the Baños de la Hedionda; los altares a la Juventud and the Diosa Fortuna; the aqueduct) was recognised in 1978 when the village was declared as a Conjunto Historico-Artístico.
Casares has always been a very agriculturally orientated village, especially with their vineyards, avocado and citrus fruit crops. In addition to this, they also have important herds of cattle and goats. However, given its proximity to the coast, tourism and the ever increasing demand for houses for residential tourism has meant that Casares become an important reference point on the Malaga coastline.