Intramuros is the old town of Manila and within it is Fort Santiago, which occupies a special place within this area. Fort Santiago is therefore presented separately on this page. Click here for instant information on Fort Santiago.


Intramuros in the heart of Manila can confidently be called the Vigan in the metropolis.
Those who know Vigan and come to Intramuros for the first time somehow immediately feel familiar with the surroundings, even though this place is 400 km further south. However, Intramuros differs from Vigan in the way that the old Spanish buildings are much better preserved and also larger.

Once you start exploring the whole district, you quickly become aware of its extent. Although still almost completely walled – as was usual for former forts – you rarely get to see the strong defensive walls.

The very beautiful old houses are remarkable. If you approach a crossroads and reach the point where you can look around the corner, you will come across another interesting building from the founding period of this fort almost everywhere.

The thickness of the wall is also impressive, and you only get an impression of it when you use one of the numerous ramps leading up to its top.

In some places, the space on the wall is so large that in times past, appeals were surely issued to the gathered soldiers there. Also a very large area on the wall, occupies the place where the cannons are placed for defence.

Conclusion: A wonderful place to experience the contrast between the modern and the past. For Intramuros is lined with skyscrapers to the north and east. Anyone who has the time and opportunity to visit Intramuros should do so.

Interactive panorama pictures!
Click into the picture, and it opens as a panorama picture in your browser. Then you can zoom in and move it left and right.

Interactive panorama of the northern skyline of Intramuros
Interactive panoramic image of the roll call square

Fort Santiago in Intramuros

If you are in Intramuros, a visit to Fort Santiago is a must!

Fort Santiago is one of Manila’s oldest fortifications and was built by the Spanish in 1571 from a palisade structure of logs and earth erected by Rajah Soliman on the native settlement of Maynila. The colonisers realised that the headland where the Pasig River flows into Manila Bay was a strategically important location. The fort was destroyed in 1574 during the Chinese attack led by Limahong. The stone fort was built between 1589 and 1592 and repaired and expanded after the 1645 earthquake. Spanish, British, American and Japanese occupation forces used the fort as headquarters and as a prison for men, women, children and soldiers. After its destruction during the Battle of Manila in 1945, the fort was used by the U.S. Transportation Corps as a depot until it was turned over to the Philippine government in 1946. In 1950, Fort Santiago was declared a Freedom Shrine and restoration work began the following year. Today it stands as a memorial to the victims of World War II and the sacrifices of the Filipino people in the pursuit of freedom.

Fort Santiago is also home to the Rizal Museum.
Jose Rizal was imprisoned here for 56 days, from 3 November to 29 December 1896. The entire right wing of this building, where his prison cell was located, was rebuilt in 1953 as a museum and shrine in honour of Jose Rizal. It was renovated in 1998 to mark the centenary of Philippine independence and modernised in 2014.

Source: The text is mainly taken from the website of the Philippine government –