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Rizal Park

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rizal Park (Filipino: Liwasang Rizal), also known as Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta, is a historical urban park located in the heart of the city of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Manila, now Intramuros. Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the park has been a favorite spot for unwinding, socializing, an urban oasis for family picnics on Sundays and holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Manila.
Located along Manila Bay, Luneta has been the site of some of the most significant moments in Philippine history. The execution of pacifist Dr. José Rizal on December 30, 1896, sparked the fire of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonizers, elevating the martyr as the national hero of the country. The park was officially renamed Rizal Park in his honor and his monument serves as the symbolic focal point of the park. The Declaration of Philippine Independence from American rule was held here on July 4, 1946 as well as the political rallies of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino in 1986 that led to the EDSA Revolution that deposed Marcos ending his dictatorial government.
The Kilometre Zero marker of the Philippines is located at the park on Roxas Boulevard, in front of the Rizal Monument. It serves as the point from which road distances from Manila are measured.

History

Rizal Park's history began in 1820 when the Paseo de Luneta was completed just south of the walls of Manila on a marshy patch of land next to the beach during the Spanish rule. Prior to the park, the marshy land was the location of a small town called Nuevo Barrio (New Town or Bagumbayan in Tagalog language) that dates back to 1601. The town and its churches, being close to the walled city, were strategically used as cover by the British during their attack. They were cleared by the British during their short rule from 1762 to 1764. The area later became known as Bagumbayan Field where the Cuartel la Luneta (Luneta Barracks), a Spanish Military Hospital (which was destroyed by one of the earthquakes of Manila), and a moat-surrounded outwork of the walled city of Manila, known as the Luneta (lunette) because of its crescent shape.
West of Bagumbayan Field was the Paseo de la Luneta (Plaza of the Lunette) named after the fortification, not because of the shape of the plaza which was a long 100-by-300-metre (330 ft × 980 ft) rectangle ended by two semicircles. It was also named Paseo de Alfonso XII (Plaza of Alfonso XII), after Alfonso XII, King of Spain during his reign from 1874 to 1885. Paseo de la Luneta was the center of social activity for the people of Manila in the early evening hours. This plaza was arranged with paths and lawns and surrounded by a wide driveway called "La Calzada" (The Road) where carriages circulate.
 
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