About Intramuros

Intramuros is a walled enclave constituting the historic core of the present-day City of Manila. Originally simply referred to as Manila until the late 19th Century, this fortified district traces its early origins in the late 16th Century from the wooden fortress of Rajah Soliman, which was eventually subjugated by Spanish conquistadors under the auspices of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1571.

Noted for its fortification system, the city is also known for its enduring legacy as the end-point of the global Galleon trade as the nucleus of Spain’s colonial empire in Asia from the 16th to the 19th Centuries, as well as its reputation as the center of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines and its role as the primary springboard for missionary activities to Southeast and East Asia.

The relevance of Intramuros may be seen as global, and its notability in world heritage rests on three unique fronts: firstly, it is one of the earliest established European colonial capitals in the Far East; secondly, at a time when China and Japan have officially adopted policies of isolation, it functioned, via the Galleon trade, as a backdoor in connecting these celestial empires with the Americas, and by extension with Europe; and thirdly and most important in terms of urban planning, it is an outstanding representative example of a fortified town in a grid street pattern completely surrounded by a wall system improved following 18th Century military science.


For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via research@intramuros.gov.ph
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