Manilva

Manilva is a municipality which lies on the coast at the south westernmost edge of the province of Malaga on its border with the province of Cadiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia in Spain. It belongs to the comarca of Costa Del Sol Occidental.

Manilva’s strategic position, close to the entrance to the Mediterranean, has resulted in a long history of settlement in the area going back to the Stone Age. In recent years traces of these early settlers has been found in caves in the Sierra Utrera, a ridge of limestone which runs behind the town. There is also a historically important Bronze Age hill fort which is currently the subject of a programme of excavations by experts from across Europe.

 

It was in the 16th century that the town of Manilva itself was founded, although a part of the neighbouring municipality of Casares, it gained its independence in 1795 and has grown ever since. For many years, the chief industries were fishing, agriculture, and viticulture. Manilva’s vineyards are famous for their muscatel grapes, used for the production of raisins and fine wines.

Since the 1970s, when the Marina and golf course were built, tourism has been added to this list, and in recent years Manilva has enjoyed the status of one of the Costa del Sol’s fastest developing municipalities, with almost a trebling of the resident population in the last 10 years.

Like all Spanish towns and cities in Andalusia, Manilva has an annual Feria (festival) or fair, which in Manilva’s case is held in the second week of August. In fact, Manilva has a very busy calendar of ferias and fiestas either religious, traditional or modern. Starting off with the Three Kings cavalcade on 5 January, then the raucous fun of Carnival around the beginning of Lent; the solemn devotion of the Semana Santa processions during Easter; the Manilva International Festival, around the end of May, during which the municipality’s international community takes the opportunity to show off its varying culture, cuisine and traditions; Saint John’s Eve during the Summer solstice with its pagan tradition of Bonfires of Saint John,   fireworks and partying till dawn; the fishermen’s celebration of their patron, the Virgen del Carmen in mid-July, and then rounding off the summer with the Vendimia, in the first weekend of September, a festival celebrating Manilva’s grape harvest.

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