Revisiting “the Jewel of Panama”
PANAMA. I’ve always loved anything old. It doesn’t make a difference what it is —people, places or things. They’re all interesting to...
PANAMA. I’ve always loved anything old. It doesn’t make a difference what it is —people, places or things. They’re all interesting to me.
I guess it’s because I’m a writer and I think everything has a unique story if one takes the time to carefully watch and listen.
Take for example an old weathered window that has wavy multi-paned glass and layers of peeling paint.
At first sight it might just look like what it appears to be.
However, to me it’s an antique that should be saved and placed on perpetual display; a work of art to peer through while allowing your mind to open and your imagination to run free.
Think about the dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands of people who gazed through an old window.
Think about all the things they must have witnessed over the course of time; everything from ordinary passersby to perhaps historic events.
It was easy to fall in love with Casco Viejo located in the district of San Felipe; officially called Casco Antiguo, but also known as the Old Quarter, Old Town and Catedral.
From the moment I realized the historic district existed, I was drawn to it like a moth to flame.
What an amazing cache of enjoyment! And surprisingly – happily – much of this time capsule remains untouched to this day! That’s what makes it so appealing? like an old weathered window.
Of course, some people just see Old Town as a bunch of deteriorating buildings.
Others see a profitable business opportunity in restoring or renovating those splendid aged structures, while still others see a once in a lifetime chance to own and reside in a magnificent historic dwelling.
However, I see something more? the captivating accounts that span the course of time from the moment it was founded in 1673 to present day.
I see stories that lie just under the surface, waiting for the moment to be discovered and retold – like absorbing chapters in a fascinating novel.
Another perspective? Just think about the magnificent array of doors that are on display throughout the Old Quarter.
Look at them. Touch them. Examine them closely.
It’s a marvelous trip through time; exploring eras when architectural embellishments, or lack thereof, denoted one’s level of society and degree of affluence.
Think about the hundreds of people who were born, lived, took shelter and eventually died on the other side of those wooden barriers.
Who were they?
What did they do for a living?
Where did they come from? When did they arrive?
Why did they leave?
Some of these personal histories were undoubtedly chronicled and filed away.
However, the majority are forever lost in time; unwritten annals that one can only wonder about.
But that’s where the fun comes in.
Casco Viejo is often referred to as the “Jewel of Panama” for very good reason. It’s an amazing episode in Panama’s history that must be preserved, protected and experienced.
Each one of its approximate 800 remarkable structures in Spanish, French and American-styled Colonial styles ooze with wonderful historic charm and allure.
All one has to do is to take a moment to soak up and breathe in the telltale signs that is everywhere within its small, concentrated area.
It’s an interesting and stimulating journey through time that I recommend everyone takes as often as possible. Perhaps you can begin today. I guarantee it will be a fascinating experience.