Located in Casco Antiguo, the Monumental Complex of Las Bovedas is an infrastructure with walls that surround Plaza de Francia in Panama City. This monumental complex consists of seven vaulted spaces that made up the defensive system of the city and was declared a national monument in 1920.
This place is visited by many Panamanians and tourists, it is a public space with a beautiful colonial style, perfect place to take pictures, thanks to the exceptional views of the surroundings. Near by the monument you can find Plaza Bolívar, Plaza de la Independencia and Panama Cathedral.
From Residential Area to Military Fortress
This area in Panama City was initially intended for the construction of royal houses, however it is here where one of the defensive sites of the city was built, called Baluarte de Chiriqui. Las Bovedas, which receives this name due to its system of arches or vaults supported on columns, were built in the 18th century.
The great thickness of these walls allowed this place to be used as a barracks and prison. One of its most prominent tenants was the national hero and popular leader Victoriano Lorenzo, who was unjustly shot on May 15, 1903 in front of Plaza de Chiriqui, today Plaza de Francia.
These vaulted spaces were also used as storage rooms and bedrooms. Currently houses the Casco Antiguo offices, an art gallery of the National Institute of Culture and a French cuisine restaurant.
Paseo Esteban Huertas
The promenade was named in honor of the Colombian general who played a leading role in the separation of Panama from Colombia and was built on top of the vaults in the 19th century. It begins in the Plaza de Francia going up some steps, which were previously a ramp, ending next to the old Club Union where the Sofitel hotel is located today. In one part of the walkway you can enjoy a walk under an arch-shaped tunnel surrounded by summer trees. This section is also known as Paseo de los Enamorados (Lovers path) due to the number of couples that frequent it.
From this point you can enjoy a spectacular view of the colorful Biomuseo building designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry; the Bridge of the Americas over the Panama Canal; Ancon Hill, crowned by the largest Panamanian flag in the country; and a fabulous view of Panama City’s skyline.
Plaza de Francia
A monumental square was built around this area in honor of the French, who were precursors of the Panama Canal, which is why it was named Plaza de Francia. In the center is the famous 18 meter high obelisk with a Gallic Rooster, symbol of France. A sector where several historical moments of importance converge.
A Monument that Continues to Surprise
A few years ago, while construction work was being done on the cultural center of Spain, better known as the Casa del Soldado, eight vaults were discovered that rest at the bottom of the promenade. However, they have not been opened to date, maintaining a mystery around its history.
Las Bovedas is a tourist attraction, a perfect walk full of history that invites you to contemplate what is today the modern city of Panama and the ships that cross the canal, as well as the gastronomy that abounds in the surroundings of this monument.