Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Meet Locals and Find Travel Companions
Planning a trip? Send an Inquiry
Do you know about this place?Ambassadors Make me one
Intramuros is a 0.67 square kilometers (0.26 sq mi) fortified area located within Manila. It is the city's oldest district and historic core, with its establishment beginning the city's history and habitation. It name, intramuros, is Latin for "within the walls". During the Spanish colonial period, places located beyond the walls were commonly referred to as extramuros, which means "outside the walls" in Latin. It earned the nickname The Walled City because of the thick defensive walls surrounding the fortification built by the Spaniards in the late 16th century to protect it from foreign invasions. During the Spanish period, Intramuros would be synonymous with Manila itself.
Intramuros was originally located along the shores of the current Manila Bay and near the southern Pasig River entrance before 20th-century reclamations obscured the old city from the bay. Guarding the old city is the Fuerte de Santiago, a citadel located at the mouth of the river. The Global Heritage Fund identified Intramuros as one of the 12 worldwide sites "on the verge" of irreparable loss and destruction on its 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, citing its insufficient management and development pressures.
Rehabilitation of the Walled City
In 1951, Intramuros was declared a historical monument and Fort Santiago, a national shrine with Republic Act 597, with the policy of restoring, reconstructing, and urban planning of Intramuros. Several laws and decrees also followed but results were deemed unsatisfactory due to limited funds.
In 1979, the Intramuros Administration was created by virtue of Presidential Decree no. 1616, signed by President Ferdinand Marcos on April 10 of that year. Since then, the Intramuros Administration (IA) has been slowly restoring the walls, the sub-features of the fortification, and the city within. The remaining five original gates have been restored or rebuilt: Isabel II Gate, Parian Gate, Real Gate, Santa Lucia Gate and the Postigo Gate. The four entrances made by the Americans by breaching the walls at four locations are now spanned by walkways thereby creating a connection, seamless in design and character to the original walls.
Intramuros is the only district of Manila where old Spanish-era influences are still plentiful. As in the Spanish Colonial period, Intramuros is still home to some of the oldest educational institutions in the Philippines, such as the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, the Mapúa Institute of Technology, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran and high schools such as the Manila High School, and Colegio de Santa Rosa. There has been minimal commercialization occurring within the district, despite restoration efforts. A few fast food establishments such as Jollibee, McDonald's and Starbucks have set up shop at the turn of the century, catering mostly to the student population within Intramuros.
Physical Features of the Walls
The outline of the defensive walls of Intramuros is irregular in shape, following the contours of Manila Bay and the curvature of the Pasig River. The walls covered an area of 64 hectares (160 acres) of land, surrounded by 8 feet (2.4 m) thick stones and high walls that rise to 22 feet (6.7 m). An inner moat (foso) surrounds the perimeter of the wall and an outer moat (contrafoso) surrounds the walls that face the city.
Several bulwarks (baluarte), ravelins (ravellin) and redoubts (reductos) are also strategically located along its massive walls following the design of medieval fortifications. The seven bastions (clockwise, from Fort Santiago) are the Bastions of Tenerias, Aduana, San Gabriel, San Lorenzo, San Andres, San Diego, and Plano. Inside Fort Santiago are bastions on each corner of the triangular fort. Santa Barbara Bastion (Baluarte de Santa Bárbara) faces the bay and Pasig River; Baluarte de San Miguel, faces the bay; Medio Baluarte de San Francisco, Pasig River.
Gates of Intramuros
Before the American Era, entrance to the city was through eight gates or Puertas namely (clockwise, from Fort Santiago) Puerta Almacenes, Puerta de la Aduana, Puerta de Santo Domingo, Puerta Isabel II, Puerta del Parian, Puerta Real, Puerta Sta. Lucia, and Puerta del Postigo. Formerly, drawbridges were raised and the city was closed and under sentinels from 11:00 pm till 4:00 am. It continued so until 1852, when, in consequence of the earthquake of that year, it was decreed that the gates should thenceforth remain open night and day.
- Lourdes Church (El Almanecer)
- Manila Cathedral
- San Agustin Church
- San Francisco Church (Mapúa Institute of Technology)
- San Ignacio Church* (Ruins, to be rebuilt by the Ateneo University)
- San Nicolas de Tolentino Church (Manila Bulletin)
- Santo Domingo Church (Bank of the Philippine Islands)
- Third Venerable Order Church (Mapúa Chapel)
- Audiencia (former Supreme Court building and the Old Commission on Elections*) (Ruins)
- Ayuntamiento* (In reconstruction)
- Cuartel España (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila)
- Hospital de San Juan de Dios (Lyceum of the Philippines University)
- Intendencia* (Ruins)
- Palacio Arzobispal* [The Archbishop's Palace]
- Palacio de Sta. Potenciana (Philippine Red Cross)
- Palacio del Gobernador* (Commission on Elections)
- Casa Manila Museum is a magnificent and very interesting site to the tourists visiting Manila.…
- San Agustin Church is a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine,…
- The Bahay Tsinoy (literally Chinese-Filipino House) is a museum located in the Intramuros (Old…