Archaeological Site of PanamáViejo and Historic District of Panamá
Archaeological Site Of PanamáViejo And Historic District Of Panamá
Cultural Panama Latin America And The Caribbean Panama’Province, Panama’District

León Viejo is closely linked to the European discovery of the Pacific Ocean, Spanish expansion, the history of piracy and the bullion lifeline to Europe. The layout of the town illustrates an important interchange of human values and the buildings represent a significant stage in the development of colonial Spanish society.

The archaeological site of PanamáViejo is the site of the oldest European town on the American mainland, founded in 1519. When the town was moved to a new location in 1673, the site was abandoned and never rebuilt. It retained its original streets and pattern of open spaces;it is now a public park where the impressive ruins of the cathedral, churches, water installations, town hall and private houses are preserved and well presented to the public.

Some of the older remains, dating to up to 1,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans, have been excavated and the finds are presented in the local museum.

The old town was founded in 1519 by Pedrarias d'Ávila. It soon became a commercial and administrative centre as well as an important port and the seat of a Royal Tribunal. Only the climate, being considered unhealthy, prevented the development of the town to the size and importance of Guatemala or Bogotá. The old town was destroyed by fire in 1672 and the new town, 8 km to the south-west replaced it a year later.

The site remained state property and only in 1949 was a new neighbourhood established at its northern fringes, not affecting the state of conservation of any visible or known remains.

Panama was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas, in 1519, and the Historic District preserves intact a street pattern, together with a substantial number of early domestic buildings, which are exceptional testimony to the nature of this early settlement. The Salón Bolivar is of outstanding historical importance, as the venue for Simón Bolivar's visionary attempt in 1826 to create a Pan-American congress, more than a century before such institutions became a reality.