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LOCALIDAD Nº 14681 (Ciudad de Panamá) Versión para Imprimir
Información Turística del Municipio de Ciudad de Panamá (Panamá.-Panamá (PAN).- Panamá)

General Information:
Panama City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 813,097, with a total metro population of 1,063,000, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, at 8°58'N 79°32'W? / ?8.967°N 79.533°W? / 8.967; -79.533. Panama City is the political and administrative center of the country.
Panama City has a dense skyline of mostly highrise apartment buildings and condos, but office complexes and hotels as well. Panama City is also an important hub for international banking and commerce. It has an advanced communications service, Internet use is widespread; and Panama's Tocumen International Airport offers daily flights to international destinations.
History:
The city was founded on August 15, 1519. Within years of its founding, the city became a launching point for the exploration and conquest of Peru and a transit point for gold and silver headed towards Spain. In 1671, the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan, with the help of a band of 1400 men, attacked and looted the city, which was subsequently destroyed by fire. The ruins of the old city still remain and are a popular tourist attraction known as Panamá la Vieja (Old Panama). It was rebuilt in 1673 in a new location approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of the orignal city. This location is now known as the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) of the city.
Two years after the start of the California Gold Rush in 1848, the Panama Railroad Company was formed, but the railroad did not begin operation until 1855. Between 1848 and 1869, the year the first transcontinental railroad was completed in the United States, about 375,000 persons crossed the isthmus from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 225,000 in the opposite direction. That traffic greatly increased the prosperity of the city during that period.
The construction of the Panama Canal was of great benefit to the infrastructure and economy. Of particular note are the improvements in health and sanitation brought about by the American presence in the Canal Zone. These include the eradication of yellow fever and malaria and the introduction of a first-rate water supply system. However, most of the workers involved in the construction of the canal were brought in from the West Indies, which created unprecedented racial and social tensions in the city.
During World War II, construction of military bases and the presence of larger numbers of U.S. military and civilian personnel brought about unprecedented levels of prosperity to the city. Tensions arose between the people of Panama and the U.S. citizens living in the Panama Canal Zone. This erupted in the January 9, 1964 riots.
In the late 1970s through the 1980s Panama became an international banking center, bringing a lot of undesirable attention as an international money-laundering center. In 1989 after nearly a year of tension between the United States and Panama, President George H. W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to depose the previously U.S.-backed dictator of Panama, General Manuel Noriega. As a result of the action a portion of the El Chorrillo, a neighborhood which consisted mostly of old wood-framed buildings dating back to the 1900s, was destroyed by fire. Eventually, the U.S. helped finance the construction of large cinderblock apartment buildings to replace the destroyed structures. Panama City remains a major banking center, although with very visible controls against money laundering. Shipping is handled through port facilities in the area of Balboa operated by the Hutchison Whampoa Company of Hong Kong and through several ports on the Caribbean side of the isthmus. Balboa, which is located within the greater Panama metropolitan area, was formerly part of the Panama Canal Zone, and in fact the administration of the former Panama Canal Zone was headquartered there. The city of Balboa and the nation's currency, the Panamanian Balboa, are named after the Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa.
Places of interest:
Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) is the name used for the architectural vestiges of the Monumental Historic Complex of the first Spanish city founded on the Pacific coast of the Americas by Pedro Arias de Avila on 15 August 1519. This city was the starting point of the expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru (1532). It also was a stopover point of one of the most important trade routes in the history of he American continent leading to the famous fairs of Nombre de Dios and Portobelo where most of the gold and Silver that Spain took from the Americas passed through.
The Committee decided to inscribe this property on the basis of cultural criteria, considering that Panamá was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas, in 1519, and the Historic District preserves intact a street pattern, together with a substantial number of early domestic buildings, which are exceptional testimony to the nature of this early settlement. The Salón Bolivar is of outstanding historical importance, as the venue for Simón Bolivar's visionary attempt in 1826 to create a Pan-American congress, more than a century before such institutions became a reality.
Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo, Panama: was designated a World Heritage Site. After the first settlement was destroyed by diseases and the pirate attacks, the last and most remembered one by Henry Morgan, the city moved into a rocky peninsula that was both healthier and easier to defend. In 1673 they founded what today is called officially Casco Antiguo, but is also known as San Felipe, Catedral and more commonly, Casco Viejo.
Currently under a revitalization process, Casco Antiguo is a mix of different architectural styles, which reflects the cultural diversity of the country. Caribbean, Republican, Art Deco, French and Colonial mix in a site of less than 800 buildings. Most of Panama´s City´s main monuments are located in Casco Antiguo: The Salón Bolivar, the main Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), the National Theatre (founded in 1908), Las Bovedas Monument, La Iglesia de La Merced, La Iglesia San Felipe Neri, Iglesia San José with its distinctive Golden Altar, which was saved from Panama La Vieja and transported into the new city.
The only example of true urban revitalization in the Panama, Casco Antiguo is already the second touristic destination in Panama City, second only to the Panama Canal. Both government and private sectors are actively participating not only in the restoration of the architectural patrimony but also of the human patrimony, investing in cultural industries and local entrepreneurship.
Nature:
Panama is located between the Pacific Ocean and many tropical rain forests. The Parque Natural Metropolitano (Metropolitan Nature Park), stretching from Panama along the Panama Canal, has several unique bird species and other animals such as tapir, puma, alligators, etc. At the Pacific entrance of the canal is the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas (Marine Exhibitions Center), a research center for those interested in tropical marine life and ecology. Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Tropical forests around Panama are vital for the functioning of the Panama Canal. These forests provide the canal with the watershed required for its operation (a rare example of a vast engineering project in the middle of the forest which actually helped preserve that very nature). Due to the importance of the Canal to the Panamanian economy, tropical forests around the canal have been kept in an almost pristine state. Along the western side of the Canal is the Parque Nacional Soberania (Sovereignty National Park) which includes Summit botanical gardens and a zoo. In this national park, the best known trail is the Pipeline Road, very popular among birdwatchers.
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