Panama - Panam Viejo and Casco Viejo
February 2007

One weekend we went through the old city of Panama near where we live, Panama Vieja, and then we went to Casco Viejo (the second city of Panama), otherwise known as San Felipe. Panama Vieja was the first Spanish city founded on the Pacific coast of the Americas by Pedro Arias de Avila on August 15th, 1519. This city was the starting point of the expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru (1532). It also was a stopover point of one of the most important trade routes in the history of the American continent leading to the famous fairs of Nombre de Dios (God’s Name) and Portobelo where most of the gold and Silver that Spain took from the Americas passed through.
The fire, destruction and pillage that was caused by Henry Morgan in 1671 provoked the move and construction of the second city in 1673,
When the French made their attempt to build the Panama Canal in 1881, Casco Viejo was where they lived. Casco Viejo is filled with French balconies and French architecture which overlaps the Spanish architecture. The Caribbean vibe crept in over the years, making this one of the most interesting architectural and cultural sites in the world. In 1998, Casco Viejo was recognized by UNESCO and the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture as a site of world interest.

The first picture is that of the old church in Panama Vieja, a landmark that is recognized all over the world. Then it was on to Casco Viejo and one of the delights of living here is the shaved ice drinks…they are very refreshing! Walking around this area is just so cool. The architecture and plants are both beautiful. It is now a very expensive area to live, these places cost a fortune and then you have to practically rebuild them all, but the façade must remain true to the original…I was stunned to see this tree growing out of the chimney! Then as we continued walking around we saw the Palacio de las Garzas or Palace of the Herons. You can see the herons inside the gates. The President lives here so you are not allowed in. The last picture is one of the many churches in the area.













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