Panama Viejo - Old Panama. The anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal to inter-oceanic traffic on August 15, 1914 is also the anniversary of the founding of Old Panama, on August 15, 1519. Panama was a fishing village on the coast of what was then called the South Sea. The city of Panama grew rapidly from the moment of its establishment, maintaining its position as chief post of the Pacific and terminus of the first transit route across the Isthmus. Through it passed all the great output of gold and silver from the rich mines of Peru and the mines in the province of Veraguas, as well as the products from the pearl fisheries in the Bay of Panama. The city survived several disastrous fires, but finally was destroyed by a band of pirates under Sir Henry Morgan in 1671.
Reminiscent of the French Quarter of New Orleans or perhaps Havana, & founded in 1519, Casco Viejo is the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas. At the mouth of the Panama Canal, just minutes outside Panama City, the city is a true cultural gem.
To walk through Casco Viejo is to stroll through history.
Buildings sitting side by side can be over three hundred years apart in age.
Amazingly, nothing seems to clash, despite a wide variety of styles and levels of income.
Laundry hangs over ramshackled railings, iron balconies have geraniums, potted plants and bougainvillea vines. The buildings that line the wide, brick streets of Casco Viejo, many of which have expansive balconies, reflect Panama's rich architectural styles and diverse cultures. Casco Viejo is the focal point of Panamanian architectural history, with its picturesque buildings, churches, ruins and museums.
Over the next few days I will post pictures of Casco Viejo.