Monday, March 31, 2014

Old Town Panama City Through the Windshield

     Panama City is a bustling metropolis and the Capitol of Panama.  Just across the bay is Old Town, also known as Casco Viejo.  Panama City was founded on August 15,1519 and it lasted 152 years.   On January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan.   In 1672, Antonio Fern├índez de C├│rdoba initiated the construction of a new city, which was then founded on January 21, 1673.   This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls.   Today this place preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern city of Panama.  It is known as Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Town).   This is the historical district of Panama City, with an incredible array of sights to see.  It has classic narrow streets and classic Spanish Architecture.   The Oldest of the remaining building are ruins of some very old churches. 

     “The ruins of the church and convent of Santo Domingo is one of the most important monumental colonial Old Town of Panama. The flat arch is part of this church and is known to be a genuine construction of masonry. The Dominican friars began to build their church immediately after the founding of Casco Viejo. But the fire of 1756 burned all the woodwork and the church was not rebuilt - but the flat arch still stood. 

     Just driving through the narrow streets gives you a perspective for the lifestyle of the times.  Today many of the buildings are being restored and Old Town is really breathtaking.  The cobblestone streets just glisten in the dampness of the light rain that just fell.   There is barely room for one car to pass at a time and the sidewalks sometimes must be used when two cars meet in the street.
     Looking across the bay, you can see the massive tall modern buildings of Panama City.  The dichotomy of the two parts of the city is like night and day.   From the old stucco and masonry to the steel and glass structures of today make for an interesting comparison.
     There are many shops and colorful park like areas in Old Town, and it is easy to spend hours just roaming around here.    The structures just amaze me as I wander through the streets and parks, continuing to find new thing that turn my head around every corner.    Should your travels take you to Panama and Panama City, spend an afternoon in Old Town.  The experience was like so many of the other historic cities I have had the pleasure of visiting in the Caribbean.  Casco Viejo boasts the impressive structures built by hand before the days of high tech materials and equipment.
     The trellis covered walkways with so many colorful flowers and vines make this a very warm and fun walk through the park.   Between the historic and the natural beauty of the area, this is one of the really fun strolls you might find anywhere.   ;o)