((((((panama la vieja))))))
Today we can see the remains of the main buildings of this era and know little of the colonial past. It is possible to investigate the remains of several government buildings, the convent, the actual cas, bridge or churches. For me the biggest attraction is the church tower with height 30 meters, which has a viewpoint open to the public. From the tower you can see the new city with its high buildings, sea and southern corridor. Lisa and primarily the ruins of Old Panama is an excellent place to visit to do a nice walk and know something about history. Besides this this area is well maintained, has a visitor center, museum, craft shops and restaurants The journey can take an average of 2 to 3 hours including museum admission.
While Panama la Vieja is quite extensive it does not offer a clear view of how the city appeared before it's destruction.; there is a scale model on display at the National Institute of Culture. Perhaps, the most striking buildings were the churches, some of which faced the ocean. They seemed to follow a uniform design: simple rectangular plans, stone outer walls, timber roofs and internal wooden supports.
Built of timber and adjacent to one another, most houses were either two or three floors and were comprised of inner courts, balconies, and open-air kitchens. Those that visible are made of cement, however, the remaining structures don't' adequately depict what a typical house might have looked like; the fact that these are made in cement might indicate that they were quite important.
A new Panama Viejo Musuem, situated just east of the ruins, has recently been completed 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 small but has several nice artifacts, paintings, and photos of the area that made up Old Panama. Guides are provided at no additional cost, with English and Spanish spoken. Audio tapes in Italian, French, Portuguese and other languages are also available. The second building contains administrative offices and a labratory where items collected are refurbished before being added to the musuem. Due to the fact that chemicals are used in this process it's closed to the public.