SALVADOR DE BAHIA
Salvador de Bahia is Brazil's third largest city and the
capital of the state of Bahia. Located on a peninsula on the
northeast coast of Brazil that
the large Bahía de Todos os Santos ("All Saints Bay") from
the Atlantic Ocean, it has a 100m cliff that divides the
city in two: Cidade Alta up on the cliff, and Cidade Baixa
down by the bay. The former features Pelourinho, the
historical center packed with historical sites, colonial
architecture, museums, restaurants, bars, hostels, artisanal
shops, and music / dance / capoeira academies into a
convenient, albeit tourist-swarmed, set of winding
cobblestone streets. It is also protected by UNESCO as a
"Cultural Heritage of Humankind”. The city preserved many of
its Renaissance buildings, plus the traditional brightly
colored houses, decorated with high-quality stucco-work. The
latter features a commercial center with lots of bus traffic
coming in from all over Salvador.
This city is considered the cradle of Brazilian culture because of its rich history and traditions. Founded in 1549 by Tomé de Sousa, who chose the city for its inaccessible perch 70m above sea level, it was the Portuguese capital in the New World from 1549 to 1763 and still contains many buildings and fortifications from the colonial period. Since the early days of the slave trade, its port has always played a key role in the local and regional economy - being the most important port and city in the South Atlantic for the first 300 years of its existence.
Much of the wealth from the plantation in Recôncavo plantations was used to adorn the city with imposing public buildings, ornate squares and, lots of churches. Today, Salvador is a large, modern city, with glaring evidence of its colonial past.
Salvador has a strong African heritage, more so than anywhere else in
Brazil, due largely to its three and a half centuries of slavery which left
a mark on the make up of its population, music, dance, folklore, its
cuisine, plus, the deep influence of the African-derived religious
traditions and customs. The city is known as "Black Rome”, the cradle of Candomblé and Umbada, a mixture of Catholicism and African religious cults
and beliefs that attract millions of followers.
Salvador was Brazil's main slave port, and the survivors of the brutal journey from the Portuguese Gold Coast and Angola were immediately packed off to city construction gangs or the plantations of the Recôncavo; today, their descendants make up the bulk of the population. Salvador is the cradle of candomblé and umbanda, Afro-Brazilian religious cults that have millions of devotees across the country. The city has a marvelous local cuisine, much imitated in other parts of the country, based on traditional African ingredients like palm oil, seafood, peanuts and coconut milk. And Salvador has possibly the richest artistic tradition of any Brazilian city, rivaled only by Rio.
The legacy remains today a strong culture that in many ways outshines the
rest of Brazil.
A disproportionate number of leading Brazilian artists, writers and poets were either born in or lived in Salvador. This includes, novelist Jorge Amado; poet Vinícius de Morães; musicians João Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Dorival Caymmi, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethânia, and Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil and Carlinhos Brown. The city's music is still as rich and innovative as ever, creating the majority of Brazil's leading genres. They have created a rich artistic tradition as striking as the versatile and innovative music that bursts forth every year in a Carnival that many think is the best in Brazil.
With the magnificence of its natural setting at the mouth of the enormous All-Saints Bay, Salvador is one of that select brand of cities which exude an energy you feel from the moment you arrive. People from Salvador, known as 'soteropolitano', have a reputation of being relaxed, easygoing, and fun-loving people.
is probably its biggest attraction, being the largest
Carnival in the world. The festivities last for one week and
consist of parades, live entertainment, music, dancers and
vendors. It is extremely popular with both tourists and
Visiting a Salvador beach is a highlight for many tourists. One of the main central Salvador beaches is Porto de Barra. The beaches can get very crowded on weekends. Flamengo and Stella Maris, in the northeast region, are the most popular beaches among tourists and upper class locals. They have excellent tourist infrastructure and waters excellent for surfing. Jaguaribe, Piatã and Itapoã, have calmer waters, are mostly frequented by locals and are just as crowded on weekends.
The center is located on the southern most tip of the Salvador peninsula, in
the very safe Barra neighborhood. The 9 classrooms is dispersed across the
two floors of the building. Rooms are equipped with DVD, TV, and video.
There is also a library and a lounge area for study with access to the
computer and wireless internet. The facilities also have a cafeteria
and garden in the back for relaxing.
The center is close to many tourist attractions, such as, the famous lighthouse Farol da Barra, the historic town center, Pelourinho, the famous island Itaparica, the Mercado Modelo, etc. Also nearby, there is a bit of nightlife, a variety of beaches, restaurants, hotels, stores, banks, a post office, and excellent public transportation.