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Historic Town of Vigan

Historic Town of Vigan

Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.

Ville historique de Vigan

Vigan est l'exemple le plus intact de ville coloniale espagnole fondée au XVIe siècle en Asie. Son architecture reflète la réunion d'éléments culturels en provenance d'autres régions des Philippines, de Chine et d'Europe, créant une culture unique et un paysage urbain sans équivalent en Extrême-Orient.

مدينة فيغان التاريخية

تُعتبَر فيغان أكثر المدن دلالةً على الاستعمار الاسباني، وهي قد أُسِّست في القرن السادس عشر في آسيا. وتعكس هندستها تمازجَ عناصرَ ثقافيّة تختلف مصادرها: من الفيليبين الى الصين وحتى من اوروبا، مبتكرة بذلك ثقافة فريدة ومنظراً طبيعيًّا مُدنيًّا لا مثيل له في آسيا القصوى.

source: UNESCO/ERI

维甘历史古城

维甘始建于16世纪,是亚洲保存最完好的西班牙殖民城市。该建筑不仅反映出菲律宾其他地方的建筑风格,而且还融入了中国和欧洲的建筑特色。维甘风光秀美,有丰富的文化底蕴,在东亚和东南亚都是首屈一指的。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторический город Виган

Основанный в XVI в. Виган – это наиболее хорошо сохранившийся пример спланированного испанского колониального города в Азии. Его архитектура вбирает в себя традиции, свойственные как другим районам на Филиппинах, так и Китаю и Европе. Все это повлияло на местную культуру и облик города, которым нет аналогов нигде на Дальнем Востоке и в Юго-Восточной Азии.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad histórica de Vigan

Fundada en el siglo XVI, la ciudad de Vigan es el ejemplo más fiel e intacto del urbanismo colonial español en Asia. Su arquitectura es un exponente de la confluencia de elementos culturales procedentes de otras regiones de Filipinas, así como de China y Europa. Esa confluencia ha dado por resultado la configuración de un paisaje urbano excepcional y de una cultura sin parangón en todo el Extremo Oriente.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古都ビガン

source: NFUAJ

Historische stad Vigan

Vigan werd in de 16e eeuw gesticht en is het best bewaard gebleven voorbeeld van een Spaanse koloniale stad in Azië. Vigan vertegenwoordigt een unieke combinatie van Aziatische bouw- en constructiestijl en Europese koloniale architectuur en planning. Culturele elementen uit andere delen van de Filippijnen zijn samengegaan met Chinese en Europese invloeden, wat resulteert in een stadsbeeld dat nergens anders in Oost en Zuidoost Azië te vinden is. Vanwege de gemengde invloeden wijkt Vigan ook af van de Spaanse koloniale steden in Latijns Amerika. De voormalige Europese handelsstad is tegenwoordig verdeeld in negen districten en dertig dorpen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Town of Vigan © OUR PLACE
Justification for Inscription

Criterion (ii): Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning. Criterion (iv): Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia.

Long Description

Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and South-East Asia. The architecture is truly reflective of its roots in both materials and design, in its fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

The town is located in the delta of the Abra River, off the coastal plain of the China Sea, close to the north-east tip of the island of Luzon. The present-day municipality divided into nine urban districts and thirty rural villages. Almost half the total area is still in use for agriculture. The Historic Core Zone is defined on two sides by the Govantes and Mestizo rivers.

Before the arrival of the Spanish, there was a small indigenous settlement on what was at that time an island, consisting of wooden or bamboo houses on stilts. In 1572 the conquistador Juan de Salcedo founded a new town, which he named Villa Ferdinandina, and made it his capital when appointed Lieutenant Governor (Encomendero ) of the entire Ilocos region. Intended as a trading centre rather than a fortress, it was the northernmost city established in the Philippines by the Spanish. At the end of the 17th century a new form of architecture evolved, which combined traditional construction with the techniques of building in stone and wood introduced by the Spanish. Brick was introduced by the Augustinians for their churches and other buildings. In 1778, as a result of its expansion, it was renamed Ciudad Ferdinandina. The Mestizo River was central to the development of the town in the 16th-19th centuries: large sea-going vessels could berth in the delta and small craft communicated with the interior. It is no longer navigable owing to silting, and so the town is no longer an island. As the major commercial centre for the region, Vigan traded directly with China. As a stage in the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade in the Spanish colonial period, it supplied goods for shipping to Mexico, and thence onwards to Europe. This trade resulted in constant exchanges of peoples and cultures between the Ilocanos, Filipinos, Chinese, Spanish, and (in the 20th century) North Americans.

The traditional Spanish chequerboard street plan opens up into a main plaza, in two parts. The Plaza Salcedo is the longer arm of an L-shaped open space, with the Plaza Burgos as the shorter. The former is dominated by the Municipal Hall and the Provincial Capitol and the latter by the cathedral. The urban plan of the town closely conforms to the Renaissance grid plan specified in the Ley de las Indias for all 149 new towns in the Spanish Empire. There is, however, a noticeable difference between Vigan and contemporary Spanish colonial towns in Latin America in the Historic Core (known as the Mestizo district), where the Latin tradition is tempered by strong Chinese, Ilocano and Filipino influences.

The building materials used in Vigan are terracotta, wood, shells, stone and lime, all obtained from the surrounding area. The architecture of the typical Vigan house is derived from the traditional Filipino dwelling, the bahay kubo, a small one-room hut built from light woven materials (wood, bamboo, thatch), raised on stilts for ventilation and as protection against monsoon flooding. Such structures are no longer to be found in Vigan, but their influence is discernible in the much larger bahay na bato (stone house), a much more solid structure, with a stone-built lower storey surmounted by a timber-framed upper storey, and with a steeply pitched tiled roof (reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture). The exterior walls of the upper storey are enclosed by window panels of kapis shells framed in wood which can be slid back for better ventilation. The Chinese merchants and traders conducted their business from offices and warehouses on the ground floors of their houses, with the living quarters above. This is characteristic of Chinese society. Vigan also possesses a number of significant public buildings, which also show multi-cultural influences. These include the Cathedral of St Paul, the Archbishop's Palace, St Paul's College, the Catholic Cemetery Chapel, and the neoclassical early 20th-century provincial Capitol.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Before the arrival of the Spanish, there was a small indigenous settlement on what was at that time an island, consisting wooden or bamboo houses on stilts. In 1572 the conquistador Juan de Salcedo founded a new town, which he named Villa Ferdinandina, on this site, and made it his capital when he was appointed Lieutenant Governor (Encomendero) of the entire Ilocos region. Intended as a trading centre rather than a fortress, it was the northernmost city established in the Philippines by the Spanish.

At the end of the 17th century a new form of architecture evolved, which combined the traditional construction with the techniques of building in stone and wood introduced by the Spanish. Brick was introduced by the Augustinian friars for their churches and other buildings.

The seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred there in 1758, making it the centre of religious activity in the region. In 1778, as a result of its expansion, it was renamed Ciudad Ferdinandina.

The Mestizo river was central to the development of the town in the 16th-19th centuries: large sea-going vessels could berth in the delta and small craft communicated with the interior. However, it is now no longer navigable owing to silting, as a result of which the town is no longer an island.

As the major commercial centre for the region, Vigan traded directly with China. As a stage in the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade that lasted throughout the Spanish colonial period, it supplied goods that were shipped across the Pacific to Mexico, and thence onwards across the Atlantic to Europe. These trading links resulted in constant exchanges of peoples and cultures between the Ilocanos, Filipinos, Chinese, Spanish, and (in the 20th century) North Americans.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation