The district of Quiapo epitomises the hues and vibrancy of Downtown Manila. Bustling and atmospheric, it's home to some of Manila's most famous monuments along with the architecture that stands in a captivating state of decay. Art-nouveau houses still glimpse at their old-world grandeur while Catholic icons juxtapose with armies of flower sellers and fortune tellers. Nothing is ever boring in Quiapo, the streets awash with shouting traders and local smells, pulling visitors into an ambience that can border on the surreal for any first-time visitor. Quiapo is located along the Pasig River and is linked to Intramuros by the Quezon and MacArthur bridges. Binondo is to the west and San Miguel immediately to the east.
Different parts of the district meet at the central Plaza Miranda, where traders sell amulets that are believed to give protection against dark forces. Quiapo Church is located here and is one of the oldest in the country. Built in 1970, the Golden Dome Mosque has a different religious atmosphere and is the largest in Manila. While the district is dominated by early 20th century buildings, perhaps the most impressive are Boix House and Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, examples of the art-nouveau that spread throughout Quiapo.
The district's mansions are also enchanting, although they can be difficult to spot amongst the urban throng, and guided tours of Quiapo are a good way to take in the best of what can be a confusing district. It's usually quickest to get around on foot as the traffic jams can be intense, but walking will allow visitors to wander past flower sellers and the unique wares found on street stalls. To reach Quiapo from elsewhere in the city, take the Manila LRT to Carriedo Station then walk along the colourful Carriedo Street. Taxis from elsewhere in Downtown Manila are inexpensive.
Famously found in Quiapo Church is the Black Nazarene, a statue of Christ brought from Spain. It's believed to bring miracles, and there's usually a queue of pilgrims wanting to stand before the ancient statue.