Salvador, Bahia

Enlarge Bahia Portugal

Município de Salvador
Municipality of Salvador
From the top, clockwise: Pelourinho with the Church of the Third Order of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People; view of the Lacerda Elevator from the Comércio neighborhood; Barra Lighthouse; the Historic Center seen from the Bay of All Saints; monument to the heroes of the battles of Independence of Bahia and panorama of Ponta de Santo Antônio and the district of Barra.
From the top, clockwise: Pelourinho with the Church of the Third Order of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People; view of the Lacerda Elevator from the Comércio neighborhood; Barra Lighthouse; the Historic Center seen from the Bay of All Saints; monument to the heroes of the battles of Independence of Bahia and panorama of Ponta de Santo Antônio and the district of Barra.
Flag of Salvador
Official seal of Salvador
Roma Negra (Black Rome) and Soterópolis
Location of Salvador in the State of Bahia
Location of Salvador in the State of Bahia
Salvador is located in Brazil
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 12°58′29″S 38°28′36″W / 12.97472°S 38.47667°W / -12.97472; -38.47667Coordinates: 12°58′29″S 38°28′36″W / 12.97472°S 38.47667°W / -12.97472; -38.47667
Country Brazil
StateBandeira da Bahia.svg Bahia
Founded29 March 1549
 • MayorAntônio Carlos Magalhães Neto (DEM)
 • Deputy MayorBruno Reis (DEM)
 • Municipality693 km2 (268 sq mi)
 • Water66.91 km2 (25.83 sq mi)
 • Metro
4,375.123 km2 (1,689.244 sq mi)
8 m (26 ft)
 • Municipality2,857,329 (4th)
 • Density4,187/km2 (10,840/sq mi)
 • Metro
3,919,864 (7th)[1][2][3]
 • Metro density891.3/km2 (2,308/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Portuguese: Soteropolitano English: Soteropolitan
Time zoneUTC-3 (BST)
Postal code
40000-001 to 42599-999
Area code+55 71 (in Portuguese)
Official nameHistoric Center of Salvador de Bahia
CriteriaCultural: (iv)(vi)
Inscription1985 (9th session)

Salvador (English: Savior), also known as São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (English: Holy Savior of the Bay of All Saints), is the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. With 2.9 million people (2017), it is the largest city proper in the Northeast Region and the 4th largest city proper in the country, after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.

Founded by the Portuguese in 1549 as the first capital of Brazil, Salvador is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. A sharp escarpment divides its Lower Town (Cidade Baixa) from its Upper Town (Cidade Alta) by some 85 meters (279 ft). The Elevador Lacerda, Brazil's first urban elevator, has connected the two since 1873. The Pelourinho district of the upper town, still home to many examples of Portuguese colonial architecture and historical monuments, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The city's cathedral is the see of the primate of Brazil and its Carnival celebration has been reckoned as the largest party in the world. Salvador was one of the first slave ports in the Americas and the African influence of the slaves' descendants makes it a center of Afro-Brazilian (negro) culture. The city is noted for its cuisine, music, dance and architecture. Porto da Barra Beach in Barra has been named one of the best beaches in the world. Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova was the site of the city's games during the 2014 Brazilian World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup.

Salvador forms the heart of the Recôncavo, Bahia's rich agricultural and industrial maritime district, and continues to be a major Brazilian port. Its metropolitan area, housing 3 899 533 people (2018) forms the wealthiest one in Brazil's Northeast Region (2015).


Historical Affiliations
All Saints Bay and Atlantic Ocean in Barra neighborhood
Solar Ferrão in Pelourinho

Salvador lies on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates the Bay of All Saints, the largest bay in Brazil, from the Atlantic Ocean.[4] It was first reached by Gaspar de Lemos in 1501, just one year after Cabral's purported discovery of Brazil.[5] During his second voyage for Portugal, the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci sighted the bay on All Saints' Day (1 November) 1502 and, in honor of the date and his parish church in Florence, he named it the Bay of the Holy Savior of All the Saints.[6] The first European to settle nearby was Diogo Álvares Correia ("Caramuru"),[7] who was shipwrecked off the end of the peninsula in 1509. He lived among the Tupinambá, marrying Guaibimpara and others. In 1531, Martim Afonso de Sousa led an expedition from Mount St Paul (Morro de São Paulo)[8] and, in 1534, Francisco Pereira Coutinho, the first captain of Bahia, established the settlement of Pereira in modern Salvador's Ladeira da Barra neighborhood. Mistreatment of the Tupinambá by the settlers caused them to turn hostile and the Portuguese were forced to flee to Porto Seguro c. 1546.[9] An attempted restoration of the colony the next year ended in shipwreck and cannibalism.[10]

The present city was established as the fortress of São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos ("Holy Savior of the Bay of All Saints")[11][n 1] in 1549 by Portuguese settlers under Tomé de Sousa, Brazil's first governor-general.[14] It is one of the oldest cities founded by Europeans in the Americas.[15] From a cliff overlooking the Bay of All Saints,[n 2] it served as Brazil's first capital and quickly became a major port for its slave trade and sugarcane industry.[17] Salvador was long divided into an upper and a lower city, divided by a sharp escarpment some 85 meters (279 ft) high.[18] The upper city formed the administrative, religious, and primary residential districts while the lower city was the commercial center, with a port and market.

In the Roman Catholic Church, Brazil and the rest of the Portuguese Empire were initially administered as part of the Diocese of Funchal in Portugal but, in 1551, Salvador became the seat of the first Roman Catholic diocese erected in Brazil.[19] The first parish church[20] was the mud-and-thatch Church of Our Lady of Help (Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Ajuda) erected by the Jesuits (Society of Jesus),[n 3] which served as the first cathedral of the diocese until the Jesuits finished construction of the original basilica on the Terreiro de Jesus in 1553.[20][n 4] Its bishop was made independent of the Archdiocese of Lisbon at the request of King Pedro II in 1676;[23] he served as the primate of the Congo and Angola in central Africa until the elevation of the Diocese of Luanda on 13 January 1844 and its bishop still serves as the national primate and premier see (diocese) of Brazil.

In 1572, the Governorate of Brazil was divided into the separate governorates of Bahia in the north and Rio de Janeiro in the south. These were reunited as Brazil six years later, then redivided from 1607 to 1613. By that time, Portugal had become temporarily united with Spain and was ruled from Madrid by its kings. In 1621, King Philip III replaced the Governorate of Brazil with the states of Brazil, still based in Salvador and now controlling the south, and the Maranhão, which was centered on São Luís and controlled what is now northern Brazil. As Spain was then prosecuting a war against the independence of the Dutch, the Dutch East and West India companies tried to conquer Brazil from them. Salvador played a strategically vital role against Dutch Brazil, but was captured and sacked by a West India Company fleet under Jacob Willekens and Piet Hein on 10 May 1624. Johan van Dorth administered the colony before his assassination, freeing its slaves. The city was recaptured by a Luso-Spanish fleet under Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo y Mendoza on 1 May 1625. John Maurice's two subsequent attempts to retake the town in April and May of 1638 were unsuccessful.

Monument dedicated to the heroes of the battles of Bahia's independence from Portugal in the Campo Grande Square

In 1763, the colonial administration was removed to Rio de Janeiro and elevated to a viceroyalty. Salvador remained the heart of the Recôncavo, Bahia's rich agricultural maritime district,[24] but was largely outside Brazil's early modernization. The area formed a center of royal Portuguese support against heir apparent Pedro I's declaration of independence from European Portugal on 7 September 1822. Its elites initially remained loyal to the Portuguese crown[13] while rebels from Cachoeira besieged them for a year until finally receiving Portugal's surrender of the town on 2 July 1823, which is now celebrated as Bahia Independence Day.[25] The local elite was similarly hesitant during Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca's later coup that established the republic in 1889.[13]

Owing to whales' use of the Bay of All Saints as a mating ground, Salvador became a large whaling port in the Southern Hemisphere during the 19th century but the trade had already begun to fall off by the 1870s.[12]

Under the empire and republic periods, however, the town slowly began to industrialize. In 1873, Brazil's first elevator, the powerful hydraulic Elevador Lacerda, was constructed to connect the city's upper and lower towns.[12] Having undergone several upgrades, it continues in use.[26][27] By the First World War, it was joined by a second elevator[n 5] and Salvador was connected to four railroads: the Bahia & Alagoinhas to Joazeiro, the Bahia Central, the Nazareth Tramway, and a short line to Santo Amaro.[13] Its central districts and the major suburbs of Bomsim and Victoria were served by four streetcar lines,[12][13] which had begun to electrify.[13] It also served as a port of call for most steamship lines trading between Europe and South America.[13]

In 1985, UNESCO listed the city's Pelourinho neighborhood as a World Heritage Site.[28][29] In the 1990s, a major municipal project cleaned and restored the neighborhood in order to develop it as the cultural center and heart of the city's tourist trade. The development of the Historical Center, however, involved the forced removal of thousands of working-class residents and now necessitates local and municipal events in order to attract people to the area.[30] The relocated workers, meanwhile, have encountered significant economic hardship in their new homes on the city's periphery, separated from access to work and civic amenities.[31]

In 2007, Porto da Barra Beach in Barra was named by the British Guardian newspaper as the 3rd-best beach in the world.[32] In 2010, the city hosted the 12th UN Congress on Crime Prevention.[33] The city hosted the 2013 Confederations Cup and was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil at its Arena Fonte Nova.[34] As part of its preparations for the World Cup, the city reëstablished its public transportation lines as the Salvador Metro.


Salvador has a trade-wind tropical rainforest climate (Köppen: Af) Temperatures are relatively consistent, showing little variance throughout the course of the year.[35][36] Salvador's driest months of the year are December and January, when the city receives on average less than 10 cm (4 in) of precipitation. Salvador's wettest months are April, May and June, when at least 20 cm (8 in) of rain falls during each of these three months.[37]

Climate data for Salvador (Bahia)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37.9
Average high °C (°F) 29.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.4
Average low °C (°F) 23.6
Record low °C (°F) 20.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 82.5
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 10 13 16 17 20 19 20 15 12 10 11 10 173
Average relative humidity (%) 79.4 79.0 79.8 82.2 83.1 82.3 81.5 80.0 79.6 80.7 81.5 81.1 80.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 245.6 226.4 231.1 189.7 174.3 167.2 181.2 202.6 211.4 228.0 213.6 224.7 2,495.8
Source: Brazilian National Institute of Meteorology (INMET).[35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43]


Rio Vermelho and Horto Florestal neighborhoods
View of Farol da Barra Lighthouse
Luís Viana Avenue (also known as Paralela Avenue). It connects the Financial Center to the North Zone of city (airport).

In 2010, the city of Salvador was the third-most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.[44] The city had 474,827 opposite-sex couples and 1,595 same-sex couples. The population of Salvador was 53.3% female and 46.7% male.[45]

According to the 2010 IBGE Census, there were 2,675,000 people residing in the city of Salvador.[46] The census revealed the following self-identification: 1,382,543 persons identify as Pardo (Multiracial) (51.7%); 743,718 as Black (27.8%); 505,645 as White (18.9%); 35,785 as Asian (1.3%); and 7,563 as Amerindian(0.3%).[45]

Salvador's population is the result of 500 years of interracial marriage. The majority of the population has African, European and Native American roots. The African ancestry of the city is from Angola, Benin, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal and Mozambique.[47]

According to an autosomal DNA study from 2008, the ancestral heritage of the population of Salvador was estimated to be 49.2% African, 36.3% European and 14.5% Native American.[49] The study also analyzed the genetic backgrounds of people by type of surname. Those with surnames with a religious connotation were 53.1% African in genetic ancestry and tended to be in lower economic classes. During the colonial era, it was typical practice for Portuguese priests and missionaries to baptize converted African slaves and Native Americans with surnames of religious connotations. These have been passed down to their descendants.

A 2015 autosomal DNA study found out the following ancestral composition in Salvador: 50.5% of African ancestry, 42.4% of European ancestry and 5.8% of Native American ancestry.[50][51] The researchers explained they oversampled individuals living in poor environments (page 4).[50]

Another 2015 autosomal DNA found out Salvador to be 50.8% African, 42.9% European and 6.4% Native American.[52]

And another autosomal DNA study, also in 2015, found out Salvador to be: 50.8% European, 40.5% African and 8.7% Native American.[53]

Population growth

Changing demographics of the city of Salvador

Source: Planet Barsa Ltda.[54]


Protestant Church in Iguatemi neighborhood
A temple of Afro-Brazilian religious expression in Salvador.

In Salvador, religion is a major contact point between Portuguese and African influences and, in the last 20 years, Brazil's version of a North American-influenced Pentecostalism.[55] Salvador was the seat of the first bishopric in colonial Brazil (established 1551), and the first bishop, Pero Fernandes Sardinha, arrived already in 1552.[56] The Jesuits, led by the Manuel da Nóbrega, also arrived in the 16th century and worked in converting the Indigenous peoples of the region to Roman Catholicism.

Many religious orders came to the city, following its foundation: Franciscans, Benedictines and Carmelites. Subsequently, to them are created the Third Orders, the Brotherhoods, and Fraternities, which were composed mainly of professional and social groups. The most prominent of these orders were the Terceira do Carmo Order and the de São Francisco Order, founded by white men, and the Nossa Senhora do Rosário and São Beneditino Brotherhoods, composed of black men.[57] In many churches maintained by religious men, were housed the Santíssimo Sacramento brotherhoods.

Besides these organizations, the expansion of Catholicism in the city was consolidated through social care work. Santa Casa the Misericórdia was one of the institution that did this kind of work, maintaining hospitals, shelters for the poor and the elderly, as well providing assistance to convicts and to those who would face death penalties.[57] The convents, on their part, were cultural and religious formation centers, offering seminar coursed that often were attended by the lay.

Even with the present evolution, and the growth of Protestantism and other religions in the city, the Catholic faith remains as one of its most distinctive features, drawing a lot of people to its hundreds of churches. Some aspects, like the use of Portuguese in the Masses, the simplification of the liturgy, and the adoption of "pop" religious songs are key factors to the triumph of Catholicism. In the Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos Church, Masses are held in the Yorubá language, making use of African chants and typical clothes, which attract many people from the African Brazilian communities.[57]

Most enslaved Africans in Bahia were brought from Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the Yoruba-speaking nation (Iorubá or Nagô in Portuguese) from present-day Benin. The enslaved were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism, but their original religion Yorùbá was combined with Roman Catholicism to make the syncretic religion known as, Candomblé, which has survived in spite of prohibitions and persecutions. The enslaved Africans managed to preserve their religion by attributing the names and characteristics of their Yorùbá deities to Catholic saints with similar qualities. Still today all Candomble sessions are conducted in Yoruba, not Portuguese.

The religious house that holds the Afro-Brazilian goddess Yemanjá in Salvador.

These religious entities have been syncretised with some Catholic entities. For instance, Salvador's Feast of Bonfim, celebrated in January, is dedicated to both Our Lord of Bonfim (Jesus Christ) and Oxalá. Another important feast is the Feast de Yemanja every 2 February, on the shores of the borough of Rio Vermelho in

Salvador, on the day the church celebrates Our Lady of the Navigators. 8 December, Immaculate Conception Day for Catholics, is also commonly dedicated to Yemanja' with votive offerings made in the sea throughout the Brazilian coast.[citation needed]

Religion Percentage Number
Catholic 51.55% 1,379,252
Protestant 19.59% 524,286
No religion 17.64% 471,928
Spiritist 3.23% 86,484
Umbanda and Candomblé 1.05% 28,019
Jewish 0.04% 1,010

Source: IBGE 2010.[58]


Buildings on Tancredo Neves Avenue
The extreme south point in Barra neighborhood
Skyscrapers in Vitória neighborhood, the most expensive address of the city

Throughout Brazilian history Salvador has played an important role. Because of its location on Brazil's northeastern coast, the city served as an important link in the Portuguese empire throughout the colonial era, maintaining close commercial ties with Portugal and Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia.[59]

Salvador remained the preeminent city in Brazil until 1763 when it was replaced as the national capital by Rio de Janeiro. In the last ten years many high-rise office and apartment buildings were constructed, sharing the same blocks with colonial-era housing or commercial buildings.[60]

With its beaches, humid tropical climate, numerous up-to-date shopping malls (The Shopping Iguatemi was the first shopping mall in Northeastern Brazil) and pleasant high-class residential areas, the city has much to offer its residents.

Economically Salvador is one of Brazil's more important cities. Since its founding the city has been one of Brazil's most prominent ports and international trading centers. Boasting a large oil refinery, a petrochemical plant and other important industries, the city has made great strides in reducing its historical dependence on agriculture for its prosperity.[61]

Salvador is the second most popular tourism destination in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro.[62] Tourism and cultural activity are important generators of employment and income, boosting the arts and the preservation of artistic and cultural heritage.

Chief among the points of interest are its famous Pelourinho (named after the colonial pillories that once stood there) district, its historic churches,[63] and its beaches. Salvador's tourism infrastructure is considered one of the most modern in World, especially in terms of lodging. The city offers accommodation to suit all tastes and standards, from youth hostels to international hotels. Construction is one of the most important activities in the city, and many international (mainly from Spain, Portugal and England)[64] and national developers are investing in the city and in the Bahian littoral zone.

Ford Motor Company has a plant in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, in the city of Camaçari, assembling the Ford EcoSport, Ford Fiesta, Ford Fiesta Sedan.[65] It was the first Automotive industry in Northeastern Brazil. The industry employs 800 engineers.[66]

JAC Motors will have a plant in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, in the city of Camaçari, the new industry will result 3,500 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs, the production of 100,000 vehicles by year.[67]

In December 2001, Monsanto Company inaugurated, at the Petrochemical Pole of Camaçari, in Metropolitan Region of Salvador, the first plant of the company designed to produce raw materials for the herbicide Roundup in South America. The investment is equivalent to US$500 million; US$350 million were spent in this initial phase. The Camaçari Plant, the largest unit of Monsanto outside of the United States, is also the only Monsanto plant manufacturing raw materials for the Roundup production line. The company started the civil works for the new plant in January 2000.[68]

Economy[69][70] GDP (in reais) GDP per capita (in reais)
2016 58 bilhões 19.505,84

Government and politics

See also: List of mayors of Salvador, Bahia and Câmara Municipal de Salvador [pt]

Tourism and recreation

Porto da Barra Beach in Barra neighborhood
Salvador, capital of Bahia state, is the center of Afro-Brazilian culture.
Pituaçu Park

The Salvador coastline is one of the longest for cities in Brazil. There are 80 km (50 mi) of beaches distributed between the High City and the Low City, from Inema, in the railroad suburb to the Praia do Flamengo, on the other side of town. While the Low City beaches are bordered by the waters of the All Saints Bay (the country's most extensive bay), the High City beaches, from Farol da Barra to Flamengo, are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The exception is Porto da Barra Beach, the only High City beach located in the All Saints Bay.

The capital's beaches range from calm inlets, ideal for swimming, sailing, diving and underwater fishing, as well as open sea inlets with strong waves, sought by surfers. There are also beaches surrounded by reefs, forming natural pools of stone, ideal for children.

Interesting places to visit near Salvador include:

The city is served by many shopping malls, including Shopping Iguatemi,[72] Salvador Shopping,[73] Shopping Barra,[74] and Shopping Paralela.[75]

Salvador has four parks, green areas protected, as Jardim dos Namorados Park, Costa Azul Park, Park of the city, Park of Pituaçu.

Jardim dos Namorados is located right next to Costa Azul Park and occupies an area of 15 hectares in Pituba, where many families used to spend their vacations in the 1950s. It was inaugurated in 1969, initially as a leisure area. It underwent a complete renovation in the 1990s, with the construction of an amphitheater with room for 500 people, sports courts, playgrounds and parking for cars and tourist buses.

Park of the city is an important preservation area of the Atlantic forest. It was completely renovated in 2001, becoming a modern social, cultural and leisure place. The new park has 720 square meter of green area right in the middle of the city. Among the attractions are Praça das Flores (Flowers square), with more than five thousand ornamental plants and flowers.

Besides its environment, the park has an infrastructure for children, with a special schedule of events taking place every October.[76]

Created by state decree in 1973, Pituaçu Park occupies an area of 450 hectares and is one of the few Brazilian ecological parks located in an urban area. It is surrounded by Atlantic forest, with a good variety of plants and animals. There is also an artificial pond in the park, built in 1906 along with the Pituaçu Dam, whose purpose was to supply water to the city.[77]

There are a number of possible leisure activities, ranging from cycloboats rides on the pond, to a 38 km (24 mi) long cycloway circling the entire reserve. A museum is also located in the park. Espaço Cravo is an outdoor museum with 800 pieces created by Mario Cravo, comprising Totems, winged and three-dimensional figures, as well as drawings and paintings.


Archeology and Ethnology Museum of UFBA
The first University of Medicine of the country, is located in Pelourinho. Nowadays it is a museum.

Educational institutions

The city has several universities:

Primary and secondary schools

Top high schools of the city according to Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio are:[78]

  • Bernoulli Academy
  • Marista Academy
  • São Paulo Academy
  • Módulo Academy
  • Oficina Academy
  • Anchieta Academy
  • Federal Institute of Bahia (IFBA)
  • Social Institute of Bahia (ISBA)
  • Djalma Pessoa Academy (SESI Piatã)
  • Cândido Portinari Academy
  • Antônio Vieira Academy, Módulo Academy
  • Military College of Salvador
  • Sartre COC Academy
  • Integral Academy
  • 2 de Julho Academy
  • Nossa Senhora da Conceição Academy
  • Gregor Mendel Academy
  • Nossa Senhora das Mercês Academy
  • São José Academy

Public safety

Salvador is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country. The number of homicides increased 418% from 2000 to 2010. From 1998 to 2008, the number of homicides of youths between the ages of 15 and 24 increased 435.1%. Gun violence in the state of Bahia more than doubled in the period from 2004 to 2014, and the city is in the top ten for gun violence of the 26 state capitals of Brazil. In 2014 the state of Bahia had the most murderers in the country. At the same time, Salvador has one of the lowest rates of suicide in the nation.[79][80][81][82][83][84][85][86]


Salvador's historical and cultural aspects were inherited by the intermarriage of such ethnic groups as Native-Indian, African and European. This mixture can be seen in the religion, cuisine, cultural manifestations, and custom of Bahia's people. African cultural practices are particularly celebrated.[87]

Forte de São Diogo in Barra neighborhood


Perspective view of the Salvador Bahia Pelourinho's Anchieta Plaza, cut from a Laser Scan preservationist project conducted by nonprofit CyArk.

Gregório de Mattos, born in Salvador in 1636, was also educated by the Jesuits. He became the most important Baroque poet in colonial Brazil for his religious and satirical works. Father António Vieira was born in Lisbon in 1608, but was raised and educated in the Jesuit school of Salvador and died in the city in 1697. His erudite sermons have earned him the title of best writer of the Portuguese language in the Baroque era.[88]

After the Independence of Brazil (1822), Salvador continued to play an important role in Brazilian literature. Significant 19th century writers associated with the city include Romantic poet Castro Alves (1847–1871) and diplomat Ruy Barbosa (1849–1923). In the 20th century, Bahia-born Jorge Amado (1912–2001), although not born in Salvador, helped popularize the culture of the city around the world in novels such as Jubiabá, Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos, and Tenda dos Milagres, the settings of which are in Salvador.[citation needed]


Acarajé is a traditional street food in Salvador.

The local cuisine, spicy and based on seafood (shrimp, fish), strongly relies on typically African ingredients and techniques, and is much appreciated throughout Brazil and internationally. The most typical ingredient is azeite-de-dendê, an oil extracted from a palm tree (Elaeis guineensis) brought from West Africa to Brazil during colonial times.[89]

Using the milky coconut juice, they prepared a variety of seafood based dishes, such as Ensopados, Moquecas and Escabeche. The sugar cane bagasse was mixed with molasses and Rapadura, in the creation of coconut desserts like Cocada Branca and Preta. The remaining of the Portuguese Stew sauce was mixed with manioc flour to make a mush, which is a traditional Indian dish.[90] In the markets of Salvador, it is possible to find stands selling typical dishes of the colonial era. In the Sete Portas Market, customers eat Mocotó on Friday nights since the 1940s, when the market was inaugurated. In the restaurants of Mercado Modelo, Sarapatel, stews and several fried dishes are served regularly. In the São Joaquim, Santa Bárbara and São Miguel markets, there are stands selling typical food. They are also sold at stands located on the beaches, specially crab stews and oysters. The restaurants that sell typical dishes are located mostly along the coast and in Pelourinho. They prepare a wide variety of recipes that take palm tree oil.

Traditional dishes include caruru, vatapá, acarajé, bobó-de-camarão, moqueca baiana, and abará. Some of these dishes, like the acarajé and abará, are also used as offerings in Candomblé rituals. But Salvador is not only typical food. Other recipes created by the slaves were the Haussá Rice (rice and jerked beef cooked together), the Munguzá, used as offering to the Candomblé deity Oxalá (who is the father of all deities, according to the religion) pleased the matrons very much. So did the Bolinhos the Fubá, the Cuscuz (cornmeal) and the Mingau (porridge). According to Arany Santana, the African Ipetê (used in the rituals to the deity Oxum) became the Shrimp bobó, and the Akará (honoring the deities Xangô and Iansã) became the world-famous Acarajé. The city has restaurants specialized on international cuisine also. There are also places that serve dishes from other states of Brazil, especially from Minas Gerais and the Northeast region.


Capoeira in Salvador

Capoeira is a unique mix of dance and martial art of Afro-Brazilian origin, combining agile dance moves with unarmed combat techniques. Capoeira in Portuguese literally means "chicken coop". The capoeira appeared in Quilombo dos Palmares, located in the Captaincy of Pernambuco, and Salvador is considered the home of modern capoeira branches.[91][92] In the first half of the 20th century, Salvador-born masters Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha founded capoeira schools and helped standardize and popularize the art in Brazil and the world. The practice of Capoeira was banned in 1892, though in 1937 it was made legal.[93] In recent years, Capoeira has become more international and accessible even in Salvador.


Old Customs in Pelourinho
Salvador's Street Carnival, one of the largest in the world

The artistic, cultural and social heritage of Salvador is preserved in museums. From Museu de Arte da Bahia (MAB), which is the oldest in the State, to Museu Náutico, the newest, the first capital of Brazil displays unique elements of history. Museu de Arte da Bahia has paintings, Chinese porcelain, furniture and sacred images from the 17th and 18th centuries. Museu Costa Pinto has privately owned items such as, pieces of art, crystal objects, and furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Museu da Cidade, where many items that help to preserve the heritage of old Salvador are kept. The Museum of Modern Art of Bahia, established in 1960, is located at a historic site on the Bay of All Saints, Solar da União.

Some churches and monasteries also have museums located in their premises. Examples of this are the Carmo da Misericórdia and São Bento museums. After the forts were renovated, Museu Náutico was established in the Forte de Santo Antonio da Barra (Farol da Barra) and the Museum of Communication in Forte São Diogo. Other important museums located in Salvador are: Museu do Cacau, State Museum of Geology, Museu tempostal, Solar do Ferrão, Museu de Arte Antiga e Popular Henriqueta M Catharino, Museu Eugênio Teixeira Leal, Museu Rodin Bahia, and Museu das Portas do Carmo.

Public art

The streets of Salvador are decorated with numerous murals and sculptures, many of which have been produced by the resident artist Bel Borba, a native of the city.[94]


The bahian singer Ivete Sangalo in BarraOndina Circuit, on Oceanic Avenue

The Bahian Carnival (Portuguese: Carnaval) is the largest party on the planet.[95][96] Its dimensions are gigantic. For an entire week, almost 4 million people celebrate throughout 25 kilometers (16 mi) of streets, avenues, and squares. The direct organization of the party involves the participation of over 100,000 people[97] and Salvador receives an average of over 800,000 visitors. The affair is heavily policed and covered. Streets are patrolled by lines of police in single file and guarded by seated teams of five or six officers.[98] In 2010, coverage was provided by 4,446 journalists from the local, national, and international press and broadcast to 135 countries through 65 radio stations, 75 magazines, 139 video productions, 97 newspapers (including 21 international papers), 14 tv stations, and 168 websites.[99]

The party official begins when Rei Momo ("King Momo", the King of Carnival) is handed the key to the city in the morning of the Thursday before Mardi Gras. In the Campo Grande, streets are lined with grandstands (camarotes). 60-foot-long trucks known as Trios Eléctricos carry a kick line of scantily-clad dancers along with the city's best-loved performers, such as Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury, Cláudia Leitte, Chiclete com Banana, and Carlinhos Brown.[100] Much of the music played is axé or samba-reggae. Groups known as blocos participate, with the most famous being the blocos afros such as Malé Debalé, Olodum, and Filhos de Gandhi.

The parades are organized into separate circuits. The Osmar Circuit, the oldest, goes from Campo Grande to Castro Alves Square. The Downtown Circuit runs through downtown and Pelourinho. The Dodô Circuit goes from Farol da Barra to Ondina along the coast. Since the Osmar Circuit is the oldest, it is where the event's most traditional groups parade. In Dodô, where the artist box seats are located, the party becomes lively toward the end of the afternoon and continues until morning.


Royal Portuguese Reading Cabinet

Black Bahia Funk Balls play more American music—including English music—than their counterparts in Rio, while Rio's music is considered inferior and less played.[citation needed] The local dancehalls which host the balls are also distinct.[101]


The first books that arrived in Salvador, were brought by the Jesuits, who came with Tomé de Souza.[102] The first libraries or bookstores that appeared were under the control of the religious missionaries and were mostly composed of books on religion.


Internal view of Mercado Modelo

The handcraft legacy of Bahia using only raw materials (straw, leather, clay, wood, seashells and beads), the most rudimentary crafts are reasonably inexpensive. Other pieces are created with the use of metals like gold, silver, copper and brass. The most sophisticated ones are ornamented with precious and semi-precious gems. The craftsmen and women generally choose religion as the main theme of their work.

They portray the images of Catholic saints and Candomble deities on their pieces. The good luck charms such as the clenched fist, the four-leaf clover, the garlic and the famous Bonfim ribbons express the city's religious syncretism. Nature is also portrayed on these pieces, reflecting the local wildlife. Music appears in the atabaque drums, the rain sticks, the water drums and the famous berimbau, along with other typical instruments.[103]

Salvador holds an international reputation as a city where musical instruments that produce unique sounds are made. These instruments are frequently used by world-famous artists in their recording sessions. The main handcrafts production in Salvador is located in Mercado Modelo, which is the biggest handcraft center in Latin America.[104]

Pieces can also be purchased at Instituto de Artesanato de Mauá and at Instituto do Patrimônio Artístico e Cultural (IPAC). These are organizations that promote typical art in Bahia.



Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport has an area of 6,900 square metres (74,271 sq ft) between sand dunes and native vegetation. It is 28 km (17 mi) north of Central Salvador, and the road to the airport has already become one of the city's main scenic attractions.[105]


With cargo volume that grows every year with the economic growth of the state, the Port of Salvador, located in the Bahia de Todos os Santos, is the port with the most movement of containers of the North/Northeast and the second-leading fruit exporter in Brazil.


Salvador Metro System is in operation since 2014, and its first stage was ready since March 2008, between Lapa and Aceso Norte Stations, and in 2009, it was ready the metro stations between Estação Accesso Norte and Pirajá. In December 2014, it opened as far as Retiro. In 2018, the system had 32 km (20 mi) and 20 stations and linked with the bus system.

The main shareholders in Metro Salvador are the Spanish companies Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Dimetronic, and ICF. It is expected that Metro Salvador will invest US$150 million in rolling stock and signalling and telecommunications equipment. The contract covers the first 11.9 km (7.4 mi) line from Pirajá to Lapa, which is due to open in 2003. The project is also financed by a US$150 million World Bank loan and contributions from the federal, Bahia state, and Salvador city governments.[106]

The system was one of the actions for urban mobility in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The connection of Line 2 with Line 1 of Salvador Metro helps to connect the International Airport to Downtown Salvador and the Fonte Nova Stadium. The new Line 2 of Salvador Metro integrates the metro stations of the Rótula do Abacaxi and the beach city of Lauro de Freitas in the metropolitan area, passing through the airport at the Airport metro station.[107]


The two line SkyRail Bahia monorail network is due to open in 2022.[108]


The BR-101 and BR-116 federal highways cross Bahia from north to south, connecting Salvador to the rest of the country. At the Feira de Santana junction, take the BR-324 state highway. The capital of Bahia is served by several coach companies from almost every Brazilian state. BR-242, starting at São Roque do Paraguaçu (transversal direction), is linked to BR-116, bound to the middle–west region. Among the state highways stands BA-099, which makes connection to the north coast and BA-001, which makes connection to the south of Bahia. Buses provide direct service to most major Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Brasília, as well as regional destinations. In 2007, the city had 586,951 vehicles, the largest number of the Northern and Northeastern Brazil.[109] Salvador has 2,500 public buses, and 2 million people are transported every day.[110]

The bus station (rodoviária) is in Iguatemi, with direct buses to larger cities in the country and to many other destinations in the state. On the second floor are the counters for the different bus companies, and on the first floor is a small supermarket and a 24 h left luggage. Across the street is a large shopping center, Iguatemi, with a food court, connected by a pedestrian crossing.[111]

Four paved highways connect the city to the national highway system. Running north from the Farol (lighthouse) de Itapoã are hundreds of kilometres of beaches. The beaches are accessible by the BA-099 highway or (Line of Coconut and Green Line), a (toll) road, which is kept in excellent condition, running parallel to the coast, with access roads leading off to the coast itself. The road runs along dunes of snow-white sand, and the coast itself is an almost unbroken line of coconut palms. The communities along the coast range from fishing villages to Praia do Forte.

A typical public bus with air conditioning. Many old buses are being renewed by this type.[112]

Public transportation statistics

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Salvador, such as to and from work, on a weekday is 94 min, and 33% of public transit riders ride for more than 2 h every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 33 min, and 70% of riders wait for over 20 mib on average every day. The average distance that people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 8 km, and 18% travel for over 12 km in a single trip.[113]


Barra neighborhood in South Zone

Although the creation of Salvador was masterminded by the Kingdom of Portugal and its project conducted by the Portuguese engineer Luís Dias (who was responsible for the city's original design), the continuous growth of the capital through the decades was completely spontaneous.[citation needed] The walls of the city-fortress could not hold the expansion of the city, towards the Carmo and the area where now stands Castro Alves Square. At the time of its foundation, Salvador had only two squares and the first neighborhood ever built here was the Historic City Center. Pelourinho and Carmo came subsequently, created as a consequence of the growing need of space that the religious orders had. With the rapid expansion, the neighborhoods grew and many of them were clustered in the same area, so today there are not accurate records as to their exact number. For urban management purposes, the city is currently divided on 17 political-administrative zones. However, due to their very cultural relevance and to postal conveniences, the importance of the neighborhoods of Salvador remains intact.

Aerial view of Salvador

Salvador is divided into a number of distinct neighborhoods, with the most well known districts being Pelourinho, Comércio, and Old Downtown, all located in West Zone. Barra, with its Farol da Barra, beaches and which is where one of the Carnival circuits begins, Barra is home of the Portuguese Hospital and Spanish Hospital, the neighborhood is located in South Zone. Vitória, a neighborhood with many high rise buildings, is located in South Zone. Campo Grande, with its Dois de Julho Square and the monument to Bahia's independence, is also located in South Zone, as is Graça, an important residential area. Ondina, with Salvador's Zoobotanical Garden and the site where the Barra-Ondina Carnival circuit ends, the neighborhood is home of the Spanish Club, is also a neighborhood in the South Zone.

Itaigara, Pituba, Horto Florestal, Caminho das Árvores, Loteamento Aquárius, Brotas, Stiep, Costa Azul, Armação, Jaguaribe and Stella Maris are the wealthiest and the New Downtown neighborhoods in the East Zone and the city. Rio Vermelho, a neighborhood with a rich architectural history and numerous restaurants and bars, is located in the South Zone. Itapoã, known throughout Brazil as the home of Vinicius de Moraes and for being the setting of the song "Tarde em Itapoã", is located in East Zone.

The Northwest area of the city in along the Bay of All Saints, also known as Cidade Baixa ("Lower city"), contains the impoverished suburban neighborhoods of Periperi, Paripe, Lobato, Liberdade, Nova Esperança, and Calçada. The neighborhood of Liberdade (Liberty) has the largest proportion of Afro-Brazilians of Salvador and Brazil.[114]


Old houses in the historical center of Salvador.

The Historic Center of Salvador was designated in 1985 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[28] The city represents a fine example the Portuguese urbanism from the middle of the 16th century with its higher administrative town and its lower commercial town, and a large portion of the city has retained the old character of its streets and colourful houses.

As the first capital of Portuguese America, Salvador cultivated slave labor and had its pillories ("pelourinhos") installed in open places like the Terreiro de Jesus and the squares know today as Tomé de Sousa and Castro Alves. The pillories were a symbol of authority and justice for some and of lashings and injustice for the majority.[115] The one erected for a short time in what is now the Historical Center, and later moved to what is now the Praça da Piedade (Square of Piety), ended up lending its name to the historical and architectural complex of Pelourinho, part of the city's upper town.

Since 1992, the Pelourinho neighborhood has been subject to a nearly US$100 million "restoration" that has led to the rebuilding of hundreds of buildings' façades and the expulsion of the vast majority of the neighborhood's Afro-descendent population. This process has given rise to substantial political debate in the State of Bahia, since the Pelourinho's former residents have been for the most part excluded from the renovation's economic benefits (reaped by a few).[116] A major restoration effort resulted in making the area a tourist attraction.[117]

Salvador's considerable wealth and status during colonial times (as capital of the colony during 250 years and which gave rise to the Pelourinho) is reflected in the magnificence of its colonial palaces, churches and convents, most of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. These include:


Pituaçu Stadium

Salvador provides visitors and residents with various sport activities. The Fonte Nova Arena, also known as Estádio Octávio Mangabeira is a football stadium inaugurated on 28 January 1951 in Salvador, Bahia, with a maximum capacity of 66,080 people. The stadium has now been replaced with a new stadium named Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova with a capacity of 56,000 people. This stadium hosted matches of 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the subsequent 2014 FIFA World Cup, as well as the football competition in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The stadium is owned by the Bahia government, and is the home ground of Esporte Clube Bahia. Its formal name honors Octávio Cavalcanti Mangabeira, a civil engineer, journalist, and former Bahia state governor from 1947 to 1954. The stadium is nicknamed Fonte Nova, because it is located at Ladeira das Fontes das Pedras. The stadium was in 2007 closed due to an accident, and the E.C. Bahia home matches now happen in another stadium, in Pituaçu.

Esporte Clube Bahia and Esporte Clube Vitória are Salvador's main football teams. Bahia has won 2 national titles, the Taça Brasil in 1959 and the Brazilian League in 1988, while Vitória was a runner up in the Brazilian league in 1993 and the Copa do Brasil in 2010.

Salvador has two large green areas for the practice of golf. Cajazeiras Golf and Country Club has an 18-hole course, instructors, caddies and equipment for rent. Itapuã Golf club, located in the area of the Sofitel Hotel, has a 9-hole course, equipment store, caddies and clubs for rent. Tennis is very popular among Salvador's elites, with a great number of players and tournaments in the city's private clubs. Brasil Open, the country's most important tournament happens every year in Bahia.[citation needed]

Manoel Barradas Stadium

During the last decades, volleyball has grown steadily in Salvador, especially after the gold medal won by Brazil in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.[citation needed] The most important tournaments in Bahia are the State Championship, the State League tournament and the Primavera Games, and the main teams are Associação Atlética da Bahia, Bahiano de Tênis, and Clube the Regatas Itapagipe. There are also beach volleyball events. Salvador has housed many international tournaments. Federação Bahina de Voleibol (the state league) can inform the schedule of tournaments. Bowling is practiced both by teenagers and adults in Salvador. Boliche do Aeroclube and Space Bowling are equipped with automatic lanes as well as a complete bar infrastructure.

Bahia's basketball league exists since 1993 and has 57 teams. The sport is very popular in the city of Salvador, especially among students.[118] There are several courts scattered across the city, where is possible to play for free, like the one located at Bahia Sol square, where people play.[119] There are also several gymnasiums, in clubs like Bahiano de Tênis and Associação Atlética and the Antonio Balbino Gymnasiums (popularly known as "Balbininho"), which is an arena that can hold up to 7,000 people.

Todos os Santos Bay and Salvador's climatic conditions are ideal for competition and recreational sailing. The city is equipped with good infrastructure for practice of sailing, such as rental and sale of dock space, boat maintenance, restaurants, snack bar, convenience stores, nautical products stores, boat rental agencies, VHF and SSB communication systems, events, and total assistance to crews.[120] The large number of sailing events organized by clubs and syndicates, like oceanic races and typical boats (wooden fishing boats and canoes) races, demonstrates the sport's growing force. Currently, Salvador has a national racing schedule with dozens of events, also receiving the Mini Transat 6.50 and Les Illes du Soleil races.[120]

Rowing boat races started in the city more than a hundred years ago.[121] It was originally practiced by young men from traditional families, who spent their summer vacations there. The sport is a leisure option in Cidade Baixa (the lower part of the city). Esporte Clube Vitória and Clube São Salvador were the pioneers in the sport. Nowadays, these two entities and also Clube de Regatas Itapagipe lead the competitions that take place in the city. With the recent renovation of the Dique do Tororó area, Salvador received new lanes for the practice of the sport.

Notable people

Supermodel Adriana Lima, Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000
Footballer Dante, with German club Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2011
Singer and politician Gilberto Gil

International relations

Salvador's Twin towns and sister cities are:[122]

Country City State / Region Since
United States United States Seal of Los Angeles.svg Los Angeles Flag of California.svg California 1962[122]
Portugal Portugal Crest of Lisboa.png Lisbon Flag of Portugal.svg Lisboa Region 1985[122][123][124]
Portugal Portugal Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal (brasões).png Angra do Heroísmo Flag of the Azores.svg Azores 1985[122]
Portugal Portugal CSC.png Cascais Flag of Portugal.svg Lisbon Region 1985[122]
Benin Benin Flag of Benin.svg Cotonou Flag of Benin.svg Littoral Department 1987[122]
Spain Spain Escudo de Pontevedra.svg Pontevedra Flag of Galicia.svg Galicia 1992[122]
Cuba Cuba Escudo de la Habana.svg Havana Flag of Cuba.svg La Havana 1993[122]
Italy Italy Sciacca Sicilian Flag.svg Sicily 2001[122]
China China City seal of Harbin.png Harbin Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Heilongjiang 2003[122]
United States United States Seal of Miami, Florida.svg Miami Flag of Florida.svg Florida 2006[125]
China China China Chongqing China Government of China 2011

See also


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  2. ^ Its exact position remains a matter of debate.[16]
  3. ^ This church was first rebuilt in stone and mortar in 1579 and then demolished in 1912 to widen a road. The present Church of Our Lady of Help is located a block away from the original site.[21]
  4. ^ This basilica was later rebuilt from 1656 to 1672.[22]
  5. ^ The development of the tramways and elevators, however, ended a long-running trade for porters and chairmen carrying people and goods up the steep staircase streets of the escarpment.[12]


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