Casco Antiguo – the vibrant Old Quarter of Panama City

This post is also available in: Spanish

Panama City’s Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter) is actually the “second” Panama City, founded in 1673 after the sacking and burning of Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) by English privateer, Sir Henry Morgan two years earlier.

Built on a small, rock-base peninsula five miles west of the ruins of Panama La Vieja, the “new” city encompassed the neighborhood of San Felipe – the walled quarters of the well-to-do.

A large part of Casco Antiguo’s original Spanish colonial architecture was lost in a number of fires during the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, what we see today is the “resurrection” of the city with French, Caribbean and North American styles of the mid-to-late 1800s. Another part of Casco Antiguo dates from the early days of the Republic (1904-1930), reflecting classic and art deco influences.

Today Casco Antiguo is undergoing extensive renovations. Over the past decade, having been declared a World Heritage site, Casco Antiguo has experienced a dramatic rebirth and today Is emerging as a rival to Old Town, San Juan, Cartagena or the French Quarter of New Orleans. By now, it is the preferred venue for many cultural and artistic events of the city. More and more trendy restaurants, bars and boutique hotels choose the historical Old Quarter as their location.

The Quarter is the place that throughout the year not only jazz but music of many genres Is offered in the bars and restaurants. Concerts of classical music, opera and ballet are held regularly at the beautiful National Theater.

The Office of Casco Antiguo, located on 3rd Street, organizes cultural activities, festivals and tours and gives out tourist information. For more information visit their site


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