History of Intramuros Citadel
Intramuros Citadel was founded in the late 16th century by Manila’s Spanish colonial rulers as a means of protection against foreign invasion. From the city’s foundation in 1571 to the end of Spanish colonisation in 1898, Intramuros was the city of Manila; however, after the area was largely destroyed in 1945 during the Battle of Manila, much of the citadel’s most important religious orders and educational institutions were rebuilt elsewhere, prompting growth and expansion in the city beyond the citadel walls.
Arguably the most popular attraction in Intramuros, Fort Santiago is a historic fortress at the mouth of the Pasig River, surrounded by a leafy oasis of manicured gardens, plazas, fountains and ponds. Inside, the Rizal Shrine Museum details the fascinating story of Manila’s most famous national hero and contains interesting memorabilia that helps bring the story to life.
Today, Intramuros is the only part of the city where visitors can find tangible examples of Manila’s Spanish-era influence and – despite the odds – there are still a handful of incredible historic sites that have been preserved from this period in the city’s history. Wander through the wide leafy streets and visitors will find striking colonial houses, serene plazas and cafes serving up traditional Spanish dishes.
San Agustin Church
Of the seven incredible churches that were originally built in the citadel, San Agustin Church is one of only two that remain. A must-see while in Intramuros, this incredible church is the oldest building in Manila and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medieval detailing and ornate ceilings bring the Spanish golden era to mind, taking influence from temples built by the Augustinians in Mexico.
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