The 100-acre peninsula’s legacy of Spanish, French and American colonial, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture is unique. Certain styles, particularly the narrow 16th through 18th century houses with internal courtyards, are specific to the region. So, while people often refer to Casco Antiguo as a “colonial city”, the current city-scape is more dominated by French and early American architecture, which UNESCO points out in it’s justification of World Heritage status, “lends it a special quality that other colonial cities in Latin America lack (with the exception of New Orleans, where the quality of architecture is markedly inferior).”
UNESCO drew a connection between this eclectic collection of architectural styles and Panama’s historic role as a world crossroads, with each style representing a boom in inter-oceanic trade through the Isthmus. This collection of architecture and the people who inhabit it are clear reflections of Panama’s fascinating cultural makeup and an important part of our common heritage.