Exploring The Old City Of Panama Viejo

Exploring The Old City Of Panama Viejo

old city of Panama Viejo
©Exploramum and Explorason – In the tower overlooking new Panama city

Panama Viejo – exploring the old city

We Explore the Old City Of Panama Viejo

We have left behind our perfect day at Boca Brava and today we have been to explore the old city of Panama Viejo. Viejo means old, and this is the oldest settlement on the Pacific Coast as it dates back to 1519. It was destroyed in 1671 by Henry Morgan and his fellow pirates.

If you are a student of history, then we believe this is the best place to be at some point during your family travels to Panama. As we passed through this old city on this phase of our single parent travels, we knew it was a place we wanted to explore for our worldschooling.

We start at the Cathedral

old city of Panama Viejo
©Exploramum and Explorason – The original cathedral

Now my son is really interested in pirates. He already knows all about Henry Morgan,
so this was great for him to be exploring the Old City Of Panama Viejo. Behind us, you can see the cathedral that has partly restored this.

That is where we started – at the cathedral.

Old Staircase

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – this is the new staircase but it is used now and you can go up it.

The original ornate staircase was removed from the old city of Panama Viejo and taken to the place where they built the newer Panama city and there, it has been used in a church.

Wooden Platform

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – well worth spending 2 hours here

The wooden platform they have built allows visitors to climb inside the main ruins and areas of the old city of Panama Viejo. There is a great view of the skyline and the ocean. My son really enjoyed finding all the viewpoints in the tower.

Casas Oeste

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – Casa Oeste

Next, we visited the Casas Oeste. Here the wealthy used to live. My son tried his Samson act to push down the pillars but in vain.

Where Are We?

 

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – we get lost in the ruins

Continuing to walk around we became rather confused. The map they give you is numbered. But the description is not. So we count paragraphs, hoping that we have the right place.

What Are Those Squares?

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – we had fun worldschooling here

Here you can see the small open squares in the wall. This is how they managed to build very high structures.

The wooden platforms would slot into the wall as they went up. When finished these were used as ventilation. Some walls are nearly 1 meter thick.

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – these walls were covered in insects

Much of the stonework has been repaired. Small orange insects were all over the walls, so we didn’t climb through.

Local Panamanian Kindness

Oh no! My son needs a bathroom and there is none in sight. So we walk to the rear area which is fenced with neat homes. I ask this Panamanian man, complete with his traditional Panama hat where the Banos are, and we are shocked at their kindness.  He allows my son to come into his home. They were such lovely people and I love the decorations. What do you think?

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – meeting kind locals

Hanging Out With The Locals

Outside the hammock is wound up against the window. But leather and wooden chairs are there for them to sit on and its so traditional. Pottery and ornaments are on the walls and I just LOVE it!  We try to communicate with our basic Spanish, and we love and appreciate their kindness.  It has become way more than a toilet stop.

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – love the originality of this home

Jesuit Convent

We then head across the road to the Jesuit church and convent. Unfortunately, as we go in we discover that pigeons rule the place. We leave as we are ‘bombed’ with sulfury-poop from the heights.

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – Jesuit convent

Is It Mary The Mother Of Jesus?

Behind the glass arch in the center-back wall is a statue of a woman. I don’t think it is Jesus’ mother – Mary, but (looks more or less like a queen?), but I am sure it is meant to be Mary.   It seems to be a more recent addition to the ruins.

The old city of Panama Viejo is well worth a visit.

old city of Panama Viejo
Exploramum and Explorason – the statue of Mary at the end

Questions and Comments

  • Have you been to panama before?
  • Did you know Viejo means old?
  • Have you been to the old Panama Vijo town before?
  • What excited you about the place/
  • Do share your comment with us below.

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