XF38+H6F, Av. Eloy Alfaro, Panamá, Provincia de Panamá, Panama
|⏰ Opening Hours
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
Find it on google maps
What is Herons' Palace?
The Herons' Palace, known as Palacio de las Garzas, is the official residence of the President of Panama. Nestled in the heart of Panama City, this grand edifice is not only the home of the head of state but also a symbol of national pride and governance. The building is named after the herons that roam freely within its courtyards, a unique feature that lends the palace its distinct character.
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History of Herons' Palace
The palace has storied walls that echo with the history of Panama. Originally constructed in the 17th century, it served various roles, including the humble beginnings as a Customs House for the Spanish Crown. It wasn't until the early 20th century that the edifice was designated as the Presidential Palace. Over the years, the palace has undergone numerous renovations, reflecting the changing architectural tastes and political times, with the most recent major refurbishment occurring in the late 1920s.
Interestingly, the name "Palacio de las Garzas" comes from an event in the early 20th century when President Belisario Porras introduced African Herons to the courtyard. These elegant birds adapted well to their new environment and became a symbol of the residence and the presidency. Today, the sight of herons strutting through the palace grounds is an iconic image firmly embedded in Panamanian culture.
Why is Herons' Palace Important?
Herons' Palace is important not just as a site of political power, but as a living piece of history that has withstood the test of time in Panama. Standing in the old quarter of the city, known as Casco Viejo, it represents a continuity from Spanish colonial rule through to the present day. Its architecture is a unique blend of colonial and neoclassical styles that tell stories of Panama's past influences and aspirations.
The palace also plays a pivotal role during official state functions. It's here that the president welcomes dignitaries and heads of state, and important decisions that shape the country's future are made. The presence of the herons has added a layer of cultural significance, making the palace not only a center of power but also a cherished national symbol.
Things to Do & See at Herons' Palace
While the Herons' Palace is not generally open to the public for inside tours due to its function as the presidential office, its presence in Casco Viejo means that it's surrounded by a plethora of historical and cultural sites to explore. Visitors can admire the architecture from Plaza de la Independencia, the main square in front of the palace, and get a glimpse of the herons from the outside, which in itself is a spectacle.
Besides the views of the palace, strolling through Casco Viejo is an immersive experience with cobblestone streets, beautifully restored colonial buildings, museums, and churches, including the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral. Gastronomy enthusiasts will appreciate the variety of dining options, offering both traditional Panamanian dishes and modern fusion cuisine.
For those keen on arts and crafts, the neighborhood houses numerous galleries and artisan shops where one can purchase authentic Panamanian handicrafts. And if you time your visit right, you might witness vibrant street festivals and parades that animate the historic district, providing a taste of Panama's rich cultural tapestry.
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