The town square of Salvador, Brazil.

Photo by: athilaarmstrong, Creative Commons

Salvador, also known as Salvador da Bahia, is the largest city in the Northeast part of Brazil. It is the capital of Bahia state. It is famous for being the center of Afro-American / Brazilian culture. It became the capital of New World in the southern hemisphere for almost 500 years. Its ports had been venues for trading and the importation of slaves from Africa. For 300 years it had been a busy waterway for ships going to and from America, Europe, Africa, and China. Today, traces of its colonial architecture can still be seen. Its idyllic beaches are pristinely lined with white sands. The mixed culture and spirituality is very interesting and captivating.

The climate in Salvador is mainly rainforest tropical with no specific dry season. Its tourist peak season is from December to March. These months are the festive season in Salvador especially in February, when the celebration of the Carnaval takes place. Salvador has two main areas, the upper and lower town. The upper town or Cidade Alta is the historic area of Salvador situated on a cliff. The monasteries and churches there where built from the 17th century. The lower town or Cidade Baxia became the area for commercial industry since 19th century. The upper town can be accessed on the steep tracks from the harbour of Baia de Todos os Santos (All Saints Bay). In 1873 an elevator was constructed to connect the two areas, this elevator is also called Elevador Lacerda.

Salvador is also known as a happy city for its laid back lifestyle and having occasional street parties. It hosts the biggest street party in Brazil called the Carnaval. The Carnaval is an annual event that usually takes place in February. Imagine festivities with samba-reggae-latin music, pounding drum beats, lavish scantily clothed dancers, a very colored flaunty parade and amazing performances. This party lasts for almost a week. Carnaval is said to come from the Italian word carnvale meaning farewell to meat. It’s a tradition that celebrates times before the coming of the Lenten season where no meat is allowed for fasting. The street party originated from unplanned parties made by the lower classes in contrast to the festivities done in houses by the upper class. Today, it is a highly anticipated event by everyone and a must celebration to attend by tourists who want to explore the real Brazilian culture.

Pelourinho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Salvador. It is also known as the Historic Centre of Salvador da Bahia. This neighbourhood is located in the western zone of Salvador. Actually Pelourinho is the whipping post located in the center plaza. This neighbourhood was developed in 17th to 19th century during the New World colonization by the Portugese. This place is architecturally rich and a walking tour is the best way to experience its history.

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