The city, founded by Pedro Arias de Ávila better known as Pedrarias Dávila on August 15, 1519, was placed in an area originally occupied by an indigenous community, which is why, on this site have been found archaeological evidence of pre-Columbian cultures. For 1541 the city had about 4,000 inhabitants, among Spanish, indigenous and African slaves. In 1607, the city had severalstreets, a square and two squares. From this place left expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire of Peru in 1532 and was one of the scale of major trade routes of the Americas, leading to the famous fairs of Nombre de Dios and Portobelo, where he spent most of gold and silver that the Spanish exploited in America. Despite the development achieved, site conditions were not the best from thebeginning. The shortage of drinking water was a major difficulty, forcing its inhabitants to build several wells and cisterns. The city was hit by at least three devastating fires and an earthquake in 1621. Destroyed in 1671 during Sir Henry Morgan's invasion, the city was never rebuilt. In fact, the city center was relocated approximately 8 km (4.8 miles) from the war torn ruins, and by the 1950'sPanama's new, modern city reached the ruins of Panama la Vieja. Declared a Historic Site in 1976, the ruins or Old Panama enjoy government protection, and have been administered by the foundation Patronato Panama La Vieja since 1995.They were the Spanish themselves and Morgan, which destroyed the city by flying tanks explosivos.En search of a new location, to allow the construction of a betterdefensive system, the city was moved to a nearby peninsula, located about 2 km farther southwest, in what is now considered the old Panama City. The original site was abandoned for several years until its ruins were gradually recovered. The area was declared a historical monument in 1976. Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site in 2003. In 1995, he created the Patronato Panama Viejo, a non-profitfoundation, which for several years has been working on the restoration and refurbishment of the place. The site has become one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city.
In front of the old Plaza Mayor are the ruins of the cathedral, whose tower, 30 meters high, is unusually located next to the apse. Originally made of wood, the cathedral was rebuilt with stronger materials, between 1619and 1626. The ruins of the tower were operated architecturally to allow visitors could use it as a lookout.
This set can be found in other ruins belonging to several of the buildings in the old city, with a varying degree of conservation. One of the best conservation, is the formerly occupied by the Convent of the Conception convent single city. Some others are the council of the Society ofJesus and the convents of San Francisco, La Merced and San Juan de Dios.
Here are also the remains of two bridges: the King and the slaughterhouse, and of an old fort, Fort Nativity. In addition, the Board of Panama Viejo has created this site a museum and Heritage Research Centre (CIP), the latter dedicated to research in history, archeology, ecology, conservation and management of real propertyinterest sites.
Just minutes from downtown Panama City, Panama la Vieja is well worth a visit for anyone with just a few hours to spend. There are public buses that pass the ruins, or taxis charge about $1.50 - $2.00 from the city. It costs $2.00 to enter and see the ruins, except for Sunday's when no fee is charged.
A new Panama Viejo Musuem, situated just east of the ruins, has recently beencompleted and is now open to the public. The Museum is comprised of two distinct buildings, one which is open to the public and the other not. The Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. seven days a week and costs $2.00 to enter; you will receive a ticket that can be used to see the ruins. As well, if you pay your $2.00 at the ruins the cost includes entrance to the museum. The museum is rather...