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Intramuros
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Intramuros

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Place overview

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The walled city of Intramuros is the oldest district in Manila as it was built in 1571. It served as the center for the Spanish colony's rule and was then once called and believed to be Manila itself. The Spanish cultural influence is evident in every corner of this walled city. The architecture is screaming its Spanish influence as the roads and buildings are of the finest style and design.

Intramuros, located along Pasig River's southern bank, refers to the inner part of the walls of Manila, Philippines.

History

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When the Spanish came to Manila, they built a small walled city for themselves within Manila. Only the Spanish and mestizos, or people with Spanish blood running in their veins, could live inside the walls. These people belonged to the upper or ruling classes of society of that colonial era.

The whole Intramuros is so rich in history that it has been said that each and every stone and grain of salt has its own story to tell. This is almost true as every building, church, and office inside the walls each has its own version of its own history and that of Manila. The walls of Intramuros have been destroyed by man and nature many times. It has been destroyed during World War II between the Americans and the Japanese. Back then, only the building of the San Agustin church and the monastery was left standing. Fire and natural forces like earthquakes have also brought Intramuros' walls down, which has also continued to be restored and brought back to life.

Site features

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As every corner inside the Intramuros walled city is full of history and beauty, people would need a whole day to enjoy every building and church in the vicinity.

Fort Santiago

One of the more popular and most frequently visited places in Intramuros is Fort Santiago. From the Philippines' Spanish occupation, political prisoners, including the national hero Jose Rizal, have been detained in Fort Santiago. The place is now a park that can be toured while riding a Kalesa (a horse-drawn carriage). It has been turned into an area full of flowering trees and homing pigeons. You can also explore Intramuros on your feet.

Manila Cathedral

The next site is the famous Manila Cathedral. The Manila Cathedral is the Archdiocese of Manila's ecclesiastical seat today, as it used to be the seat for the Archbishop during the Spanish occupation.

Casa Manila

After a visit to famous churches like the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin's church, you may then walk to the Casa Manila. It is a restored mansion-museum where visitors can visualize, through antique decoration settings, how life could have looked like for the high societal class during the Spanish colonial era.

Other Intramuros points of interest

Also inside the Intramuros walls are colonial homes that have been restored for people to see. These 'casas' showcase the style and grandeur of the old Spanish architecture. The shrines in Intramuros like the Rizal Shrine and Mabini Shrine also introduce the heroes and important people in Philippine History.

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Quick facts

  • Name meaning

    City within the walls
  • Construction period

    16th century
  • Built for

    Colonial Spanish ruling class
  • Built by

    Miguel López de Legazpi
  • Architecture

    Spanish colonial architecture
  • Size

    0.67 km2 (0.26 square mile)

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