Spain announced its sovereignty over the Philippines in 1571 after taking control of Manila. Shortly after, the city was declared the capital of the newly-founded Spanish colony by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, and construction of Intramuros began. This large complex quickly became the political, cultural, and religious center of Spanish influence in Asia. Despite massive damage during World War II, Intramuros still stands in stark contrast to the surrounding metropolitan city of Manila as a reminder of the country's past.
Referred to as The Walled City, construction of fortified walls surrounding the complex began in 1590. The walls themselves cover over 64 hectares of land, standing eight feet wide and 22 feet in height. These walls encompass nearly one-square kilometer along the Manila Bay and Pasig River waterfronts that were once filled with government buildings, churches, monasteries, schools, and homes of the rich. The city was protected by seven bastions strategically placed around the complex, and accessed via eight drawbridge gates passing over an inner and outer moat.