Today, on March 6, 1951 (Philippines):
First built by Miguel López de Legazpi after the decision was made to make Manila, not Cebu, the main trading city and capital of the Philippines, June 24, 1571. This fort, named after Saint James the Great, was part of Intramuros (“within the walls”) and was the site of many deaths–from the prisons as well as from the many conflicts scene throughout its 300+ year legacy (constructed in 1590).
I would argue no other building within the Philippines has seen such a remarkable and devastating history as this structure. From Chinese pirates, earthquakes, and war. After coming back into the hands of the Filipinos, it was appropriately renamed the Shrine of Freedom in 1950. Inside, there is a small museum as well as a Shrine, both dedicated to José Rizal—a hero of the Philippines who also suffered imprisonment prior to his execution at Bagumbayan, known today as Rizal Park.
I recently visited this site in February and was amazed at the damage sustained, but also the solemnness that still surrounded the area. I highly recommend visiting this shrine if you haven’t—or even if it has been awhile since your last visit. I only ask that you leave the place as you found it, as I was disheartened to hear people have taken home keepsakes from the grounds.
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