6. Church and Convent of La Concepción

6. La Concepción Convent Complex


The architecture complex made up of the Church and the Conception Convent, headquarters of the only female religious congregation in Panama, was installed in Panama during the colony. It is one of the largest within the Panama Viejo Historical Monument Complex.  The nuns of Our Lady of Conception founded their community in 1598 when the first four religious women arrived from Lima. Their congregation continued to grow and by 1604 the nuns already had a church and a cloisters, which were very damaged by the earthquake in 1621.  Towards 1640 a new stonewall church was built, which was yet unfinished when the 1671 disaster occurred.

Today in the premises of the convent, which occupied up to two blocks of the city or an area of approximately 6800 m2, you can also see the ruins of a great cistern, the only one of its kind within Panama Viejo. Built during the middle of the XVII century, it is of considerable dimensions, allowing it to accommodate more than 124,000 liters of water.  It is surrounded by a masonry wall and it has four vaults supported by stone arches and columns.

The convent was submitted to a conservation and intervention process that has facilitated its transformation into one of the main reception areas for visitors and activities.