Salvador de Bahia is a city of great vibrancy, history, culture, and excitement. Located in the state of Bahia of Brazil, the city is a popular tourist destination. Bahia has various influences from African, Brazilian, and European cultures. This has found its way into Salvador, the capital city of Bahia. As a result, Salvador is very rich in myth and folklore. It manages to hold on to the past traditions, while being open to modern innovations.
This city, which was the first capital of Brazil, is where many Brazilian art forms were born. These include capoeira, samba de roda, and afoxe, which is an African rhythm that has played a role in influencing Carnival dancers. Salvador is called “the land of happiness.” Its thirty miles of beautiful beaches and its endless entertainment options sure do keep locals and tourists happy.
Amerigo Vespucci arrived in Salvador de Bahia on November 1, 1501, on behalf of the Portuguese. Therefore, Portugal made a fortune from the sugar that was produced in the region. Labor was in demand for the plantations. Salvador became the center of the slave market. With around 5 million West African slaves that lived around the edges of the city, Salvador was deeply influenced by the culture of the slaves. The culture that evolved became known as Bahian. It is still strong in this area of Brazil today. Further, the African Candomble religion is very strong in Salvador. Bahian cuisine also plays a dominant role here. It includes the use of African cooking products like dende oil and coconut milk. Therefore, if you plan to visit Salvador, you will definitely come across many aspects of Bahian culture.
Because of the topography of this Brazilian city, Salvador sits on two levels—the upper city, Cidade Alta, and lower city, Cidade Baixa. These regions are linked through the famous Elevador Lacerda. Prior to the existence of this elevator, the connections between the two parts of the city were steep and narrow streets. The upper city contains the main neighborhoods. It is set on heights and offers superb views. The lower city is set on sea level. Tourists can find the Mercado Modelo Market that offers a wide range of arts and crafts there. Further, Baiana women sell traditional sweets and delicacies in this area.
The division extends to the lodging options of Salvador. The Barra district on the coast offers new luxury hotels, while Pelourinho offers the older hotels with a more antiquated appeal. Pelourinho (which is called Pelo by the locals) is a colonial area. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its Baroque colonial architecture. This site is most concentrated with the form of architecture in Latin America. Pelo is a popular tourist attraction in Brazil. It has a rich and vibrant history apparent in its Baroque churches and architecture. Further, it boasts a thriving nightlife with restaurants, bars, clubs, and more.
A visitor to Salvador de Bahia needs a map, as the layout of the city can be quite confusing. Luckily, many tours of the city are on offer. Great tours include visits to museums, Pelourinho, as well as a look the history of capoeira, and more. Further, if you love a huge party, you will be happy to know that Salvador has its own Carnival!