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Panama la Vieja, otherwise known as "Old Panama" in English was founded in August of 1519, and is the oldest Spanish settlement on the Pacific. It was destroyed in 1671 during Sir Henry Morgan's invasion, the city was never rebuilt. Today it is in restoration mode and the grounds have additional buildings that one can purchase products made in Panama. The area that encompasses the many different types of building is approximately 4-5 acres, and one can walk throughout within several hours. Some of remaining structures are quite impressive, with several of them still at heights over 30-40 feet.
OK, first off, I would not consider myself to be a historian, but two trips to the area showed some interest. With some 500 years of history behind it, the size of the grounds indicated that this was a civilization that represented a small town. The buildings or those that were still standing were built to last. Best of all, after reviewing the ancient buildings you are able to visit a small building that houses products created in the Panama of today. A dinner placque that we purchased (Approx 13 X 20 inches), with carved letters and painted, was $35. By itself, it did not pay for the flight down, but it has been a great conversation piece for many, many years.