Vigan City: Finalist in new 7 Wonders Cities

IN 1999, Vigan was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently was hailed as one of the finalists of the New 7 Wonders Cities.
Vigan, one of the country’s 16th century Spanish colonial villages, is a living museum of the country’s long and vibrant past. Renowned for its establishments that depict one-of-a-kind combination of European and Oriental architectural designs, Vigan’s Heritage Village is among the country’s most precious treasures. People from across the country and throughout the world visit this remarkable town to witness a great example of a well-preserved European town established in Asia during the early colonial period.
The small native town was founded by the Spaniards during the late 15th century and was made capital of the Ilocos region. Given its ideal site at the western coast of Northern Luzon, facing the South China Sea, Vigan was eventually developed as the region’s major center for trading business.
Years passed and architecture evolved—from bamboo and wood, new houses were developed into establishments made out of stone and wood introduced by the Spaniards. Churches and other establishments were constructed out of bricks. Vigan also established direct business with China, while the Europeans sought silk and porcelain. Subsequently, Vigan played a huge role in the galleon trade during the Spanish colonial period. The commercial business gave the Ilocanos an opportunity to interact with people from various parts of the world, resulting in cultural exchanges.
The Western style and Oriental design have created a unique fusion of multi-cultural architectural influences. This interesting ambiance reflects a remarkable history of the country, particularly the town’s trading business that took place centuries ago.
Majority of the town’s building materials were locally obtained. One will find establishments made of bricks, stones, lime, hardwood floors, and terracotta. Two-storey houses with verandas, pitch tiled roofs and capiz shells framed in wooden window panels is a reflection of the Chinese culture. However, other public establishments like the centuries-old churches, bungalow houses, mansions and plazas strongly portray the Mexican-Spanish architectural styles. Apart from these centuries-old sites are other historical landmarks national shrines, heritage museums and ancestral houses.
The Heritage Village of Vigan is definitely a journey to the past as horse-drawn carriages take you to the Spanish colonial settlements that harmoniously share space with Filipino culture – a place that’s truly worth winning the title.

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