Welcome back travelers! Today we travel to the town of
A little history about the town
Baía de Todos os Santos (All Saints Bay) was first encountered by the Portuguese and named in 1500. In 1501, one year after the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral’s fleet in Porto Seguro, Gaspar de Lemos arrived at Todos os Santos Bay and sailed most of the Bahia coast. But the first European man to disembark on “Morro de São Paulo,” Saint Paul’s Mount, was Martim Afonso de Sousa, in 1531, leading an expedition to explore the coast of the new continent.
In 1549, a fleet of Portuguese settlers headed by Thomé de Souza, the first Governor-General of Brazil, established Salvador. Built on a high cliff overlooking All Saints bay as the first colonial capital of colonial Brazil, it quickly became its main sea port and an important center of the sugar industry and the slave trade.
The general failure of the captaincy system spurred the Portuguese Crown (in the person of Dom João III) into setting up a governorship of Brazil to be led by Thomé de Souza. De Souza arrived in Bahia on the 29th of March, in 1549, and he went to work building a capital for Brazil and a place for himself to live (or for the governor-general to live and administrate from, rather). The latest incarnation of his palace, now called Palácio Rio Branco, sits on a commanding position overlooking the bay, on the same public square giving onto the Elevador Lacerda which takes one down to the lower city. The palace, in all its neo-classical glory, is open to the public.
Salvador was, however, primarily influenced by Catholicism; it became the seat of the first Catholic bishopric of Brazil in 1552 and is still a center of Brazilian Catholicism.
Salvador was divided into an upper and a lower city, the upper one being the administrative and religious area and where the majority of the population lived. The lower city was the financial center, with a port and market. In the late 19th Century, funiculars and an elevator, the Elevador Lacerda, were built to link the two areas.
Salvador was the capital city of the Portuguese viceroyalty of Grão-Pará and its province of Baía de Todos os Santos. The Dutch admiral Piet Hein of the West Indian Company captured and sacked the city in May 1624, and held it along with other north east ports until it was retaken by a Spanish-Portuguese fleet in May 1625. It then played a strategically vital role in the Portuguese-Brazilian resistance against the Dutch.
Campo Grande Square
Salvador was the first capital of Brazil and remained so until 1763, when it was succeeded by Rio de Janeiro. It settled into graceful decline over the next 150 years, out of the mainstream of Brazilian industrialization. It remains, however, a national cultural and tourist center. By 1948 the city had some 340,000 people, and was already Brazil’s fourth largest city. In 2010 was 3,480,790 people, the third largest population in Brazil.
In the 1990s, a major city project cleaned up and restored the old downtown area, the Pelourinho, or Centro Historico (“Historical Center”). Now, the Pelourinho is a cultural center, and the heart of Salvador’s tourist trade. Nonetheless, this social prophylaxis resulted in the forced removal of thousands of working class residents to the city’s periphery where they have encountered significant economic hardship.
Additionally, the Historical Center is now something of a depopulated architectural jewel whose “animation” must be brought in and sponsored by local shopowners and the Bahian state. Similar situations may be found in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites today but the Pelourinho, in light of Salvador’s economic inequalities and ruling governmental coalitions of the 1990s, seems to have gone farther than most in sacrificing its population to the needs of tourist-based preservation.
What is there to see?
With 80km of Beaches, Salvador is one of Brazil’s oceanic wonders to see and experience. The beaches go from the High City all the way to the Low City, reachable by railroad suburb to the Praia do Flamengo, on the other side of town. Hotels are scattered along the way ranging from big expensive along the orla (Atlantic Seafront) to smaller, inexpensive ones that can be found around Barra and Porto da Barra. According to the Guardian (British Newspaper), Porto da Barra Beach was rated the best beach in 2007 to be at in the world because of their main purposes being calm inlets, ideal for swimming, sailing, diving and underwater fishing, as well as open sea inlets with strong waves, sought by surfers as well as its surrounded by reefs and small rock pools which is ideal for children to swim and explore in. Also be sure to explore their breathtaking port or harbor when you have the chance.
If the beach isn’t really your thing, you can always go for a stroll in one of the four parks the town has. The parks Jardim dos Namorados Park, Costa Azul Park, Park of the City, Park of Pituaçu are also known as green protected areas.
They also host amazing carnivals. According to Guinness world book of Records, the Carnaval of Salvador da Bahia is the biggest party on the planet because for an entire week, almost 4 million people celebrate throughout 25 kilometers (16 mi) of streets, avenues and squares. The organizing team alone consist of almost 100 000 people. There are 3 yearly carnivals that happen. These are:
• The Campo Grande – Praça Castro Alves Circuit, also called the “Osmar” Circuit, or simply the “Avenidas” (“Avenues”);
• The Barra – Ondina Circuit, also called the “Dodô” Circuit;
• The Pelourinho Circuit, also called the “Batatinha” (“Little potato”) Circuit.
And thats a wrap from me! I hope you enjoyed our little travel guide for today and wish you all happy travels!
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