Casco Viejo

After the pirate Henry Morgan burned the original Panama City, known as Panama Vieja, it was relocated two years later, in 1673, to a safer harbor.  This time the Spanish government decided to build a massive protecting wall and a stronger fortress for its protection, as well as for the protection of the enormous wealth in gold and silver that passed through Panama.


Today the main fortress survives perfectly, and its called Plaza de Francia, in honor of those who tried to build the first Panama Canal.  Sadly, only small portions of the wall that surrounded the Casco Viejo still exist.


Casco Viejo houses several important cultural and historic buildings and monuments.  It has several attractions that no visitor should miss and can easily cover in a walking tour of a few hours.   Best of all, it has many great restaurants and bars and, without a doubt, Panama’s best ice-cream at Granclement.


Casco Viejo also has some of the mos beautiful views of Panama City.


A monument to the French entrepreneurs who began the Panama Canal stands at Plaza de Francia and the French Embassy is located in front of the Monument.  There is an adjacent art museum in the converted strong house, known as las Bovedas, once used for storing gold.  The Supreme Court also used to be located here.


Not far away is the famed “Flat Arch” which  convinced engineers, and the US Congress, that Panama was a geologically stable area for building the Canal.


The Beautiful gold plated Altar of the San Jose Cathedral is another required stop.


A must-see museum, the "Museo del Canal" dedicated to Panama's history as an Inter-Oceanic Route, is found in front of Central Park.  Exhibits trace Panama's importance as a shipping route from pre-Hispanic times, to the colonial era, to the building of the transcontinental railroad, to construction of the Panama Canal.


The Presidential Palace is located nearby, as well as the National Cathedral.


Many more colonial buildings await your visit.  Explore at ease our past, in an easy walk, and enjoy a tremendous night life.

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Except where specifically noted.

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