An ambitious and colorful calendar to celebrate the fifth centenary of the foundation of Panama City is prepared by the capital city council headed by burgomaster José Isabel Blandón, who today explained the program.
The mayor of the first Hispanic city founded on the American Pacific coast spoke at a press conference o the varied 80 celebrations program, which began on August 1 with an interreligious ceremony and that will end on August 15, 2019 featuring a fireworks' show.
Blandón said it is "necessary that citizens see the importance of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the entire Panama City, not only the old area (Panama Viejo), so we can recognize the contributions of different ethnic groups to what the city is today".
Therefore, he stressed, the celebrations will take place in the four cardinal points of the current city, with just over one million inhabitants, which represent almost 25 percent of the country.
On August 15, 1519 Pedro Arias Dávila founded the first Spanish city on the coasts of the South Sea or Pacific Ocean and the oldest on the mainland that exists to this day as a city.
For the celebration, a 500-year Commission was organized, with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which began academically with the 500-year-old Panama City Forum, headed last Saturday by Colombian historian Diana Uribe and continued on Wednesday with the opening of an exhibition of paintings by young artists in the House of the Municipality.
In addition to the lighting of the countdown clock in the northern town of Chilibre, on August 15 the Resilience Strategy of the city of Panama will be launched and the traditional solemn session of the Municipal Council will be held at the archaeological site of Panama Viejo, first settlement of the capital.
Panama was declared Ibero-American Capital of Culture on the occasion of the anniversary.
The International Forum of Carlos V Network will be held next August 23, aimed at tourism managers, students and professionals and environmentalists, as well as residents of the communities in the area of influence of the heritage routes of Panama.
The XXII Fair of Collections (numismatics), the Municipal Sports Games, the Rally towards the 500 years, the Gran Sancocho (typical Panamanian soup), an open forum of sciences of Latin America and the Caribbean (CILAC) and the inauguration of Mural paintings 500, in the 26 districts in which the capital is divided, are some of the activities that will be developed until next December.
January 14, 2019 will mark the Panama Jazz Festival, featuring Panamanian composer Damilo Pérez, who will premiere the musical composition in honor of the fifth centenary of the city, which will host the World Youth Day with the participation of Pope Francis from January 22 to 27.
Other cultural, sporting, musical, artistic, theatrical, recreational activities for adults and children will be performed on the streets and venues of the capital until August next year, when academic forums, activities in municipal parks and ceremonial events will be offered "to the public".
In parallel, cultural exchanges in the commemoration will be held with port cities such as Liverpool and Montevideo.
The program "has been designed with the same inclusive, diverse, recreational and cultural spirit that has marked the celebration since the Commission was created 500 years ago in 2014," the organizing committee said.