13.Alarcon House

13. Alarcón House

Casa Alarcón

Around 1590 the clerics built a house for rent on the northeastern corner of the Main Square, with the intention of obtaining a regular income to rebuild the Cathedral, which at that time was in a pitiful state.  Since very early the house was occupied by bishops, so much that until quite recently the building was known as the Bishops House.

In 1640 the house was sold in an auction and purchased by Pedro de Alarcón, a wealthy inhabitant of the city.  He had it demolished to build a grand stone house whose ruins we can currently see.  It is the best-conserved house in Panama Viejo, and it may have been the largest high category residence on the site.  Today its remains can be clearly seen, covering an area of 900 m2.  The main body of the house is square, with the vain open to the vestibule or to the garage.  To the right we can see the beginnings of the stairs that led to the higher floor.  In its central part, the house opens on to a covered entry, where there is also a square patio with dimensions similar to those of the main body.  The kitchen was most likely there and there was probably also a cistern or a well.  Behind the patio there were two other low buildings separated by a partition wall, intended to lodge the servants.  Thanks to its privileged location, it became one of the preferred houses to host the most distinguished visitors.

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