Intramuros is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Known as the Walled City, the original fortified city of Manila was the seat of the Spanish government during the Spanish colonial period. The walled part of Manila was called intramuros, which is Latin for “within the walls”; districts beyond the walls were referred as the extramuros of Manila, meaning “outside the walls”.
Originally the native settlement of Moslems ruled by Rajah Sulayman, it became an encircled city of massive high stone walls, bulwarks and moats with the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1521. Within the walls of 4.5 kms. rose residences, churches, schools and government buildings with drawbridges as gates which closed before midnight opened at the political, cultural, educational, religious and commercial realm of Spain in the East.
Not long after however, Intramuros suffered from the hands of the American colonizers as well as from subsequent fires and earthquakes. Bombings at the close of World War II bombarded and almost totally ruined the walled city sparing only some walls and buildings. Today, restorations and preservations of Intramuros to revive its illustrious past are made through the efforts.