Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is the historic district of Panama City. Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city, Panama Viejo in 1671, when the latter was attacked by pirates (and burned by its Mayor). Casco Viejo was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997. It shares this designation with the original city of Panama.
Casco Viejo was built in a small peninsula and surrounded by a wall which was closed every night for protection. The wealthy families of Panama used to live in the area. The city was burned in a couple of fires which is why you see a mixture of architectural styles from Colonial to Art Deco and Antillean.
The old city was changed for the neighborhoods of Bella Vista and La Exposición as the city grew and Casco Viejo became a slum filled with gangs. In the 90s the government of Panama passed an incentive law to give benefits to those who wanted to invest to fix up the area. 20 years later you can see a big difference, although much still needs to be done.