Located on the Plaza Catedral in the Old City, the Metropolitan Cathedral is one of the most interesting tourist points in the area., as it showcases Panama’s colonial architecture and religious roots.
Work began on the church in 1688 but wasn’t finished until 1796, more than 100 years later. A dark stone façade is flanked by a white bell tower on each side and 67 columns support the high ceiling, while abundant artwork and beautiful stained glass windows complete the decoration.
Having at one time been in disrepair, the church has since benefited from a $4 million renovation. It has also witnessed many important events in Panama’s history, including the day in 1903 when the Republic of Panama declared itself a separate nation from Colombia on the plaza in front of the church.
The church in Old City is accessible from Panama City via a 15-minute taxi ride. There are also buses that drop passengers off at Plaza 5 de Mayo, from which Old City is a 10-minute walk away down the main avenue. The church is free to enter.