Visit Intramuros in Manila
Intramuros, the original Manila
In 1571 to the end of Spanish rule in 1898, Intramuros was Manila. It's also known as the Ciudad Murada (Walled City) because of its most famous feature: a nearly three-mile-long circuit of massive stone walls and fortifications that almost completely surrounds the entire district.
The wall of Intramuros
History and mystery are built into the two and three-quarter miles (around 4,4 km) of walls that surround the old capital of the Philippines. The first wall, built in 1570 was made of logs. Today the construction bears evidences of many builders and widely differing plans of defence.
Getting around Intramuros
Pain and sacrifices
When wandering around in this area and reading about all those important historical events which took place here you get a feeling of humbleness. There have been so much pain and sacrifices inside and around these walls of Intramuros. For example, Jose Rizal the national freedom hero of the Philippines was imprisoned here. He was later executed in Bagumbayan (now known as Rizal Park) just outside the walls of Intramuros on December 30, 1896. Or in 1945, during the fierce Battle of Manila between American, Filipino and Japanese forces, where so many soldiers paid the ultimate price and Intramuros was almost completely destroyed.
Fort Santiago and the Rizal Shrine
Fort Santiago, the former military headquarters of the Spanish colonial government. Although the fort sustained very heavy damage during the 1945 Battle of Manila, several key portions of the compound were subsequently restored. It's now considered a major landmark and one of Manila's most popular tourist attractions, partly because José Rizal - the national hero of the Philippines - was imprisoned here prior to his execution on 30 Dec 1896. The Rizal Shrine, a small museum dedicated to his life and work, is housed in a restored section of one of the fort's former barracks.
During World War II, Fort Santiago was captured by the Japanese Imperial Army. They used the dungeons as prison cells for captured Filipino and American soldiers. Around 600 bodies were found inside these dungeons and they probably died of starvation and suffocation on the very last days of the Battle of Manila.
How to get to Intramuros
Nearest train station: LRT1-Central Terminal
Or my personal recommendation, get off at United Nations Avenue and then take a 10 minutes nice walk. You will pass the Rizal Park and among others the National Museum of Fine Arts, which both are well worth visits.
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