The name Panama is of native descent and signifies "abundance of fish or butterflies", although some colonial historians assure that "Panama" was a majestic tree with a big shadow, under which aboriginal families reunited during the long pre-colony afternoons.

Today, Panama is a point of reference in every map and one of the titled "seven keys" of the world, according to geo-political strategists. This designation has it's origins in French ingenuity, American technology, and the blood, sweat and sacrifice of the workers who united their races, from the most different parts of the world, to build one of the great wonders of the world: The Panama Canal.

But Panama is much more than a channel. It's a crucible and an amalgam. It is the forge where the cultural manifestations of the ethnic people who compose it's society are expressed and blossom.

Panama not only enjoys natural wonders, like it's national parks and beautiful rustic hostels, but it also has extraordinary works of engineering and human will like The Bridge of the Americas, which unites a patch of ground separated by man. It is possible to also appreciate the magnificent colonial religious architectures like the Golden Altar, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and others like the City Wall, the Arco Chato and the Old Panama ruins, whose buildings still stand defying time.

The Indians, oppressed by the conquistadors, left their joys and sorrows represented in pottery, stones, leather goods and fabrics. Their oral tradition has passed, almost intact, from generation to generation and can be appreciated today in different museums and native art houses. There, our Bokota, Teribe, Kuna, Ngobe, Chocoe and Wounan tribes expose their baskets, jewelry, fabrics and sculptures, all of them beautiful works product of their development as original groups and components of the Panamanian nationality.

The dream of the conquistadors and the ambitions of the sons of faraway lands who arrived on the Isthmus are written in stone in monuments like the Old Panama ruins, a establishment of the first City of Panama that was later ravished in 1671 by the English pirate Henry Morgan.

Today, these ruins act as a stage to various expressions of folklore, where the Panamanian men and women discover their roots and are fed with spiritual manifestations of the people of the world whose representatives, due to the cosmopolitan character of the piece of land that is Panama, settled down here.

But Panama also has an intense intellectual life, with various literary, theater, painting and music manifestations. Natives and visitors find in newspapers, almost daily, information about the concerts of the National Symphony of the National Institute of Culture (INAC), as well as expositions and concerts of national and foreign artists that have made of the Isthmus their habitat and inspiration.

Anyone who wants to know a country with multicolor magic, that offers all the possibilities of enjoying their unique cultural features, should come to Panama.

 

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