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San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)
San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)

San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)

Free admission

Everyone loves a good pirate story, and Panama, a country that has received more than its share of pirate attacks, has plenty of them. Perhaps the most endearing tale to survive to this day is about a church built in the original Panama City in the late 1600s. The intricate altar inside, made of mahogany and covered in gold, had both Colonial and indigenous art influences and was appropriately called the Golden Altar.

According to the legend, English pirate Henry Morgan arrived in Panama in 1671 and then sacked and burned Panama City. He soon turned his attention to the church, which was under construction. Knowing what was to come, a priest darkened the precious golden altar to make people think it was just wood—the pirates believed the ruse and the altar was saved.

The altar was later taken from the destroyed city to the San José Church(Iglesia San Jose) in the new city, which was protected by fortified walls, and has since been restored to its golden beauty, easy for all to visit.

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Daily, hours vary
Avenida A and Calle 8, Panama City, Panama City

Practical Info

The church is located on Avenida A and Calle 8, near most central Panama City sites. The entrance is free, but opening times vary.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose)?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Panama City?
A:
As well as visiting the San Jose Church (Iglesia San Jose), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: