After the original Panama City was burned during the attack by the pirate Henry Morgan, the City was relocated two years later, in 1673, to a safer harbor. This time the Spanish government decided to build a massive surrounding 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 it.
This fortress survives perfectly, and houses several important, cultural and historic buildings and monuments. It has several attractions that visitors shouldn’t miss and can easily cover in a walking tour of a few hours. Everyone knows it as Casco Viejo, and is peppered with can't-miss-restaurants, and exciting bars and clubs.
A monument to the French entrepreneurs who began the Panama Canal stands at the end of the Casco Viejo 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 supposedly 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.
An excellent 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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