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Intramuros Manila The Philippines

  • Intramuros and the monuments and buildings within is fortifications are the major (if not the only) tourist attractions in modern Manila. Intramuros is an ancient walled city commenced before the 16th C which became the Spanish regime's capital within The Philippines and for its regime in Asia. Intramuros was referred to as '' Ciudad de Manila '' and occupied a pentagonal area of 64 hectares adjacent to the Pasig River. It has fortified walls made of stone from Mexico which are 4.5 kilometers (2.81 miles) with heights varying from 4.5 to 6 meters high and with a thickness of 2  to 2.5 meters. Construction repairs and renovations to its current form took 250 years from 1590 until 1830.
  • The fortifications include 7 gates (including those of Fort Santiago) and each had drawbridges.
  • The walls had nine bastions and 5 small fortifications like ravelins or redoubts.
  • Within the walls were two hospitals, seven streets, several schools and seven Churches. These are Cathedral of Manila, San Agustin the UNESCO World Heritage Site Building, Lourdes Church, San Ignacio, San Fransisco Church, Santo Domingo Church and Recletes Church. Casa Manila Museum is another main historical attraction.

San Augustine Church in Intramuros City


Pre-Hispanic period

  • Around 1485 Manila was captured by Sultan Bolkiah and was made a part of the Sultanate of Brunei.

Spanish Colonial Period

Spanish Conquest of Manila

  • On February 13, 1565 Miguel L√≥pez de Legazpi alongwith Spanish explorers reached Cebu island and established the first Spanish colony in the Philippines. In 1570 the Spaniards reached Luzon island and captured it from natives.
  • On June 24, 1571 Legazpi declared Manila as the capital city of the Spanish colony. Intramuros became the religious, military and political center of the Spanish Empire in Asia.

Construction of the Wall

  • Governor-General Santiago de Vera started the planning for the city. Construction of the walls started in 1590 and continued until 1872. The walls were not constructed as per any uniform plan because they were constructed during different periods.

Inside Colonial Intramuros

  • The oldest church inside the walls is San Agustin Church constructed in 1607. The other churches San Ignacio Church, Lourdes Church, Santo Domingo Church, Third Venerable Order Church, San Francisco Church and San Nicolas de Tolentino Church have made the walled city the City of Churches.

Physical features of the wall

  • Due to the curvature of the Pasig River and contours of Manila Bay the defensive wall of Intramuros is not regular in shape. The walls occupy 64 hectares of land, surrounded by 8 feet thick stones and walls of 22 feet height.

American Colonization

  • As per the Treaty of Paris, Spain surrendered many territories to the United States. On August 13, 1898 the American flag was hoisted at Fort Santiago.
  • In 1903 the Americans dismantled the walls from the Santo Domingo Gate up to the Almacenes Gate.
  • On June 11, 1906 the Americans established the first school, the Manila High School.