Historics Monuments of Panama: Panamá La Vieja, the first city of Panama established by Pedro Arias de Avila on August 15th, 1519 and destroyed in 1671 by the pirate Henry Morgan.
During the Spanish conquest, great wealth in gold passed through this city, from the conquest of the Aztec Empire to the north and south of the Inca Empire in America. For the historic Camino de Cruces and Rio Chagres was the first interoceanic route.
The city was moved in 1673 to what is now the “Casco Antiguo”. Major tourist attraction today. The Ruins of “Panama La vieja”, are part of the Human Patrimony declared by UNESCO. Heritage Historic Site.
¿How to get there? In a car or taxi from your place of origin, has a cost of 1.50-2.00 dollars. It is possible to visit the Museum of “Panama Viejo”, which is opened to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and has a cost of 2.00 dollars per person. For more information visit: www.panamaviejo.org
This video shows the largest Plaza de Panama’s second city, its name Plaza de La Independencia. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama is located in this square. In this Cathedral are the original bells were moved from the old Tower Panama La Vieja when it was burned and sacked in 1671 by the pirate Henry Morgan. Inside the Cathedral you can see a work of a seventeenth-century Spanish painter. In “Casco Antiguo” you will find new restaurants and bars with outdoors areas, were you can have a good time enjoying the unforgettable historic atmosphere. Every Saturday there are tours of this area, at 10:00 a.m., departing from France Plaza to different places of interest for the visitor. For more information: Casco Antiguo Office; Phone: 507-209-6300
Gold Altar of “San Jose´s Church located in Avenida A and 8th Street of the “Casco Viejo”. It is one of the most visited places; it has a unique story from the year 1671, at the time when the old Panama was moved to the place were it is located now-a-days, so it could be defended from the attacks of the pirate Henry Morgan. Inside “San Jose’s” Church, the famous baroque style Gold Altar is found, which decorated the temple of the Augustinians in Panama “La Vieja”, now-a-days it is considered one of the most valued treasures of Panama
Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama: Represents the majestic architecture of he religious era of Panama, located in the Independence Plaza, built between the years 1688 and 1796. In this Cathedral you can find the original bells that were moved from the old tower of “Panama La Vieja” when it was burned and looted in the year 1671 by pirate Henry Morgan. Inside you can appreciate a painting of a Seventieth Century Spanish painter, donated by Justo Arosemena and his wife.
Vasco Núñez de Balboa Statue: Located at the Avenida Balboa in the City of Panama. Balboa was the first Spaniard to discover the Pacific Ocean (based in history: September 25, 1513 at 10:00 a.m.), what is known today as the Pacific Ocean. The monument was donated by the Spanish Government in 1921 and officially inaugurated in the year 1924 by President Belisario Porras. The image of this adventurous Spanish citizen who became famous leading the first Spaniard expedition that first arrived to the Isthmus with Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1501. Afterwards, he was decapitated by the explorer Pedrarias de Avila in the City of Acla, the lost city which is said to be located in the center of the jungle in the Province of Darien.
Presidencial Palace: Located at the “Casco Viejo” of the city, facing the Bay of Panama and has a colonial style. It is the official house of the President of the Republic of Panama. At the main entrance of the building you can see a fountain with 2 herons which were a present of the poet, Ricardo Miro; it’s because of them that this edification is known as “Palacio de las Garzas”..
San Lorenzo Fort (Colón) was declared by UNESCO as Natural and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity. It is located at the entrance of the Chagres River. River through which the Pirate Henry Morgan got to the City of Panama “La Vieja” to attack it and loot it. The view over the river is impressive and you can maybe to see the bay. To get to it is necessary to pass over the Gatun Locks and enter Fort Sherman (a late military base of the United States). Being an ideal site to observe birds since it is surrounded by a jungle with a diversity of species. The Protected Area of San Lorenzo has 9,653 acres of woods, mangroves, reefs of flora and fauna through the road between Gatun and Sherman, plus 20 kilometers of coast. The attractions for tourists that visit the Natural Park include the Castle of San Lorenzo, the “Camino de Achiote” and the trails for bird watching, the French canal, the Chagres River seen by kayak or boat and the batteries for the coastal defense of the Canal, built during First World War, also the locks and dam of Gatun.
Getting there? From the city of Panama in car, approximately one hour and a half through the Transistimica Road. Also, by airplane from the city of Panama (Marcos Gelabert Airport) to the City of Colon (France Field Airport) in 20 minutes and then by car for 40 more minutes.
Portobelo Ruins (Colón) one of the most historic cities of Panama, established March 20th, 1597. Was discovered and baptized by Cristobal Colon in his fourth trip in the year 1502. The ruins of Portobelo were declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in the year 1980. This city was constantly attacked by pirates, the strongest attacks were by Francis Drake (looted Nombre de Dios in the year 1596) and Henry Morgan, During the XVI and XVII centuries the City of Portobelo was the richest city in treasures of America, also served as a transportation trail for gold that came from South America using the “Camino de Cruces” (Panama) into the Chagres River were it was transported by boat to the City of Portobelo, to disembark all the gold and finally send it to Spain. Portobelo is a protected area of 34,864 hectare (86,000 acres) where you can find tropical jungle and a rich marine environment. Portobelo has almost 3,000 inhabitants, mainly black, descendents of the slaves brought by the conquerors that principally live from fishing, cultivation of cocos and tourism. In the center of the town you can find the “Aduana”, a colonial building restored and were the gold was stored until it was shipped to Spain.