The study of cultural roots in Panama shows a symbiosis of traditions coming from various parts of the world, namely, Spain, Africa, American Indies and the United States. Thus, before external power was established, the Chiriquí culture in the province of the same name and the region of Veraguas together with Monagrillos in Parita Harbour, and the Coclé culture in the Coclé province and the province of Azuero, intermingled.
Some of the architectural jewels preserved in the country are, amongst others, colonial buildings, including St. Dominic’s cathedral and church in the capital city. It is of note that in the oldest areas of some cities there are houses that still have their backyards in the Andalusian style. The flag, the national anthem and coat of arms, encompassing the ultimate values which are an integral part of an age-old history, are closely linked to Panama’s cultural roots.
Ricardo Miró became the most important figure in the field of literature. Likewise, men such as Rogelio Sinán, a narrator and poet, together with Joaquín Beleño, a narrator and journalist and Tristán Solarte were avant-garde scholars who passionately supported the Panamanian cultural identity.
El tamborito, a sort of dance accompanied by singing, clapping and drumming, which dates from the sixteenth century, has a privileged position as part of a wide variety of music in the country. Cumbia, a type of dance that was brought from Africa, is also very popular.
Rubén Blades is considered to be one of the most widely known Panamanian music composers and singers in the world due to the quality, sound and lyrics of his songs.
Amongst those institutions that were established for cultural preservation is the Museum of Panamanian Men. It was created in 1976 and houses an interesting collection of archaeological and ethnographic materials. Other institutions with a high heritage value are the Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of History of Panama and the Museum of Colonial Art, located in the capital city, although to a great extent there are also highly valuable facilities designed for similar purposes in the provinces.