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Cathedrals of Panama -- The Metropolitan Cathedral

Updated on October 3, 2011

The cathedral is found in Casco Viejo and reflects the Spanish presence due to the building’s dimensions and age. It’s construction lasted more than 108 years, built between 1688 and 1796. It is an example of the religious colonial architecture of Panama. It has a stone carved façade which is flanked by two towers housing the bells which were removed from the Cathedral of Panama La Viejo after it was destroyed by Welsh pirate Henry Morgan in 1671.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama was in a critical state of disrepair until June 2004, when a 4 million dollar restoration took place, and it’s now a major attraction in Casco Viejo. The cathedral was first constructed in 1673, soon after Panama City’s refounding. Many of the stones were taken directly from the ruined old city.


The towers of the cathedral are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The vast, imposing arches inside lack the aesthetic skill of the exterior, but the walls are richly decorated with gorgeous paintings.

With its beautifully contrasting gray-and-black facade and white bell towers, this building is an excellent example of Latin American neoclassical architecture.

In front of the cathedral is a large plaza that the community reunited on November 3rd 1903 in order to declare its separation from Colombia. This was when the Republic of Panama was born.

Surrounding the plaza is the MunicipalPalace that was occupied by the French when they began construction of the Panama Canal.

The building is currently being remodelled to house a museum to depict the construction, function, importance and future of the Canal.

The President of Panama and his staff, attend official religious ceremonies at the cathedral.

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