Bits & Pieces

January 11, 2011

The Gate To The City

I have been covering the new city of Panama, as founded in 1673, showing its original site on the little peninsula on San Felipe.  I explained that the seawall extended overland to completely surround and protect the city against new attacks from pirates.  As with all fortresses, a gate was needed on the landside to provide access to the farms lands and trade.  The gate, while formidable at its construction, fell into disrepair, along with the city, as Panama lost value as a trading center in the 19th century. Eventually, both the gate and the landward wall disappeared, though my mother recalled, as a very young girls, seeing remnants of this wall in some parts of the city.

The red outline shows the approximate location of the fortress wall surrounding the new city of Panama around 1673.
The Gate would have been located somewhere on the tip of the wall close to the Number 7 showing on the map.
La Puerta de Tierra (The Landward Gate), on the right, as it appeared possibly around the middle of the 19th Century.
Note woman with load on her head on lower extreme right.
(Drawing of Gate: Ricardo Lopez Arias, La Prensa, March 9, 2003)

The old seawall in the 19th Century.  On the left what is now called Las Bovedas part of the wall looking towards the old Union Club.
On the right, a continuation of the wall as it looks toward the location of the Fire Station (See map above).
The towers of the Cathedral can be seen on the left of this photo.
(Photos from Edward Muybridge collection)

- Luis R. Celerier
Longview, Texas