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San Jose Church, Panama City

(500+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site Historic Site
The whitewashed walls, quaint bell tower, and large wooden door immediately give away the age of San Jose Church, built not long after the first Spanish settlement here in the 16th century. Enter to see the main attraction: its impressive main altar, carved from wood and covered in striking gold leaf. The story goes that when an English pirate attacked the city, the Jesuits painted the altar black to hide its value and convince the insurgents to leave it behind. While the pirates sacked the old town, the altar remained, and takes pride of place to this day. San Jose Church is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our custom trip planner, Panama City Edition.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • You need to go in for at least a second to see the Golden Alter, the only gold Henry Morgan didn't take.  more »
  • This church from colonial times has a gold plated altar. It is an example of the Spanish influence in the colonies of the Americas. The walk around old Panama City is an wonderful experience.  more »
  • This church has an altar covered with gold leaf. There are "fairy" tales regarding this altar and the pirate Captain Morgan. You can read about them within the church and then decide for yourself.  more »