The Beauty of a Gothic Church in Panama


Panama is predominantly a Roman Catholic country.  It is estimated that 75 to 85 percentof the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian.  The Roman Catholic religion came from Spain, which was the superpower of the XVIth century which colonized the country and the rest of Central and South America with the exception of Brazil.  Brazil was colonized by Portugal.

Panama has a rich Spanish religious architecture.  I will do my best to bring these architectural treasures to Lingua Franca for your enjoyment in the near future.  Today, I will take you by the hand and visit the most beautiful and most visited church in Panama by international tourists.  It is often confused with the Metropolitan cathedral which is another impressive building.

The name of this church is Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Church of our Lady of Mount Caramel).  It is located in the heart of Panama City, and considered by many as one of the most treasured religious icons in Panama inspired by medieval Gothic architecture.  As its name indicates, the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Caramel (or Carmen).  This  church  is the only Gothic architectural style building in the country.

This structure was built by the congregation of the Carmelites which have been in Panama since 1940.  The first stone was placed on July 7, 1947 and the church was inaugurated on July 16, 1953, even though the termination of the building was two years later when the two imposing towers were finished.

La Iglesia del Carmen is an imitation of the Gothic architectural style which flourished during the Middle Ages, and is perhaps the most beautiful architecture style conceived for sacred art.

The structure includes two slender and elaborated towers which stretches upwards towards the sky with the purpose of elevating to heavens the prayers of the people.  It symbolizes the extended hands of a man in an effort to embrace God.  According to architecht Alberto Arosemena, the Iglesia del Carmen was inspired on the gothic style of the late XIV century representative of Toledo, Spain.

Last week, while waiting outside Profuturo to pick up a check, I took several pictures of this architectural treasure of Panama.  This is what caught my eye.  Here we go.

Frontal view of the Iglesia del Carmen which faces Via España.  Notice the tall slender towers of the structure.
Frontal view of the Iglesia del Carmen which faces Via España. Notice the tall slender towers of the structure.
Side view of Iglesia del Carmen depicting the conformation of the structure of the church.
Side view of Iglesia del Carmen depicting the general conformation of the structure of the church.
A close up view of one of the two towers of the building.  Notice the detailed artwork of the tower.
A close up view of one of the two towers of the building. Notice the detailed artwork of the tower.
View of the statue of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.  From the ground its very difficult to admire the great piece of religious art.
View of the statue of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. From the ground it's very difficult to admire this great piece of religious art.
View of the huge window located at the front of the church.  When light filters through this window into the interior of the temple it creates a feeling of deep religious reverence.  I apologize for all the wires and cable.  I just couldnt get rid of them.
View of the huge window located at the front of the church. When light filters through this window into the interior of the temple, it creates a feeling of deep religious reverence. I apologize for all the wires and cables. I just couldn't get rid of them.
Photograph of a big clock located on the facade of the church.  As you see, the photo was taken at 08:00 a.m.  The clock can be clearly seen from the street down below.
Photograph of a big clock located on the facade of the church. As you can see, the photo was taken at 08:00 a.m. The clock can be clearly seen from the street down below.

If you love architecture and have the opportunity of living in Panama or in transit through the country, I fully recommend you to plan a visit to this wonderful example of Gothic architecture.  It really gives you a feeling of humbleness.  Good Day.

Note: Digital edition by Michael Moore of Bothphoto.com

12 thoughts on “The Beauty of a Gothic Church in Panama”

  1. it really is a beatiful piece of work, the city really does need to bury the wires. there is nowhere to get a foto with out a wire…too bad.

    1. Hi Bob:

      Yep, it’s difficult to get rid of those wires no matter where you position yourself to shoot the scene. I wanted to find a nearby building to shoot from above, but no joy.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

      Omar.-

  2. My wife, son and I lived around the corner from this beautiful church for two years in the late 1960’s, and I walked past it every day (I caught the bus on Via Espana at a stop right in front of the church) and never tired of looking at it. Your photos are lovely, and I am glad to see it has not been allowed to deteriorate.

    1. Hi Tom:

      I’m glad you are enjoying the photographs of the church. You are a lucky guy for living near such a beautiful gothic structure.

      Fortunately, the church is being kept in excellent conditions. If you come back and see it again, you will ascertain that nothing has changed.

      Thank you for your comments. Feel free to come back anytime.

      Regards,

      Omar.-

  3. Omar, I searched for the name of this church, and found your information, to ascribe the correct title to a video I shot while in Panama. My hotel room was exactly looking at the church from about 1000 yards, high enough so that the Lenten bells were simply astonishing, and repeated every hour in the morning. I was able to record them twice, and later edited some close-up shots. I watched the church for a week from my perch, so truly, a magnificent church.

  4. Great photos of a beautiful church. I lived in Panama as a child when I was 11 years old. We lived a few blocks away from N S de Carmen, went to Sunday Mass there every week. My sister was baptized in that church in 1966.
    I am planing a trip to Panama at the end of January and will be visiting for sure.

  5. I am staying in the Crowne Plaza Hotel directly opposite the church right now, and I am glad to tell you that the church is in beautiful condition. The bells chimed many times yesterday and the sound was sublime, and I could see that it is well frequented by a lot of churchgoers of the area.

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