Panama City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,440,381 and is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal about 20 minutes (without traffic) from Tocumen International Airport.
The city is the political and administrative center of the country, as well as a hub for international banking and commerce. It is considered a "beta-" world city, one of three Central American cities listed in this category. It has a dense skyline of mostly high-rise buildings, and it is surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. Panama's Tocumen International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Central America, offers daily flights to major international destinations. Panama was chosen as the 2003 American Capital of Culture jointly with Curitiba, Brazil.
Panama City was founded on August 15, 1519, by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila. The city was the starting point for expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru. It was a stopover point on one of the most important trade routes in the history of the American continent, leading, through which passed most of the gold and silver that Spain took from the Americas.On January 28, 1671, the city was destroyed when privateer Henry Morgan sacked and set fire to it. The city was formally reestablished two years later on January 21, 1673, on the San Felipe peninsula (which includes the now very progressive and poular area of Casco Viejo) located 8 km (5 miles) from the original settlement. The site of the previously devastated city is still in ruins and is now a popular tourist attraction known as Panama Viejo