La Iglesia de la Merced

Dating back to 1680, La Iglesia de la Merced sits in the heart of Casco Viejo, just a couple of blocks from Independence Square.

La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of María de Cervello
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of María de Cervello

Dating back to 1680, La Iglesia de la Merced sits in the heart of Casco Viejo, just a couple of blocks from Independence Square. Its weathered stone facade is made of stones recovered from the abandoned original old city of Panama, Panama Viejo, and is flanked by two gleaming white stucco bell towers, with bells chiming every 15 minutes.

The decorations inside are relatively restrained, with exposed wooden ceiling and a tastefully tiled floor. In alcoves around the edge are a number of statues dedicated to saints and religious figures, some more tastefully crafted than others but all of them well maintained.

Particularly striking is a statue of María de Cervelló (also known as María del Socorro or Mary or Cervellione) holding a ship in her hand. She was a 13th-century saint who was reputed to, after she had died, sail on the wings of the wind to rescue ships who were at risk of shipwreck.

Photos of La Iglesia de la Merced

La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Facade
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Main Altar
The main altar. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Stone Columns
Some of the weathered stone columns. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of Saint Rita of Cascia
Statue of Saint Rita of Cascia. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Patterned Tiles
Some of the ornately patterned tiles on the church’s floor. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of Maria de Cervello
A closer view of the statue of Maria de Cervello. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City
One of the small side altars.
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of Christ
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
A stone statue on the outside of the church. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Door Knocker
One of the ornate door knockers. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Door with Coat of Arms
A coat of arms inlay in one of the doors. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of St Joseph
A statue of St. Joseph. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City
Another of the alcove altars. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue
[license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]

La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of María de Cervello
Statue of María de Cervello. [license topic=”La Iglesia de la Merced Panama City”]
La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Altar

Where to Next?



Travel Advice for Panama

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Panama (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Panama here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Panama here.

by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »