March 31, 2016

2423 PANAMA - Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and Historic District of Panamá (UNESCO WHS)

2423 Casco Viejo in Panama City - The Metropolitan Cathedral

Founded in 1519 by the conquistador Pedrarías Dávila, Panamá Viejo is the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. It was laid out on a rectilinear grid and marks the transference from Europe of the idea of a planned town. Abandoned in the mid-17th century, it was replaced by a "new town" (the Historic District - known as Casco Viejo, Spanish for Old Quarter), which has also preserved its original street plan, its architecture and an unusual mixture of Spanish, French and early American styles.

In both Panamá Viejo and the Casco Viejo, house and church types from the 16th to the 18th centuries represent a significant stage in the development of Spanish colonial society as a whole. In the Historic District, surviving multiple-family houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries are original examples of how society reacted to new requirements, technological developments and influences brought about by post-colonial society and the building of the Panama Canal.

Completed and settled in 1673, Casco Viejo was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city, Panamá Viejo in 1671, when the latter was attacked by pirates. This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls. The area within the walls had an orthogonal layout, with a central plaza and streets of different widths; outside the walls the suburb of Santa Ana had an irregular layout.

The magnificent Metropolitan Catedral, one of the largest in Central America, was completed in 1796 and practically abandoned until a major renovation in 2003. Today it stands over Plaza Catedral (Plaza de la Independencia) and is one of the main points of interest in Casco Viejo. The two towers on either side of the main entrance are encrusted with mother of pearl from the Pearl Islands and offer an interesting architectural contrast to the immense stone entrance wall and wooden doors.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Tourism, issued on April 28, 2008. The second is part of the series World Wildlife Fund - Wildlife Conservation, issued on June 27, 2007.

Casco Viejo, Panama - Wikipedia
Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and Historic District of Panamá - UNESCO official website

Sender: Blanca de Brown
Sent from Panama City (Panama), on 07.12.2015
Photo and design: Mark Carr

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