Panama: Panama City – Panama Vieja

Vieja means Old Panama and the archaeological site preserves the remaining ruins of the original city of Panama. The town was founded here in 1519 (originally known as Castilla del Oro), and was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast. The town quickly grew into a major town and port and was the key trading atop en route to and from the Peruvian gold riches. Naturally, British pirates got attracted to all the wealth and the city was attacked several times during the 17th century and eventually completely burned and destroyed by the Welsh privateer Henry Morgan. The city never recovered here and was rebuilt dozen kilometers up the coast. Today, the archaeological site protects the ruins and the skeleton of a beautiful cathedral. The museum is full of the exhibits, including a diorama of the old city. This is a UNESCO world Heritage site.