Official language: Portuguese
Time zone: UTC -3
Currency: Brazilian real (BRL)
In Salvador there is taking place the biggest in the world street carnival. It lasts six days and nights and start a week before the Ash Wednesday. During that time, 19 kilometres of the city’s streets get filed with 1,5-million strong crowd of dances, musicians, citizens and tourists.
In the church Igreja de São Francisco there is one of the biggest collections of Azulejos, which are richly-decorated tiles characteristic for Portugal. Additionally, to decorate this Baroque sanctuary 100 kilos of gold was used. A must-see.
Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia are coloured ribbons, which since a few hundred years citizens are tying by the gates of churches and on their wrists, believing it brings luck. You can buy them from street vendors.
Salvador should be a must-see point for anyone visiting Brazil. It is the most colourful city in the world with multi-coloured facades of buildings, local clothing and ribbons stretched out at gates of churches. Also paradise beaches and tasty local cuisine encourage to spend time there.
Founded in the 16th century by Portuguese settlers Salvador is the oldest city in Brazil. Due to its location on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, for years it used to serve as the most important port in the world. It blossomed the most in the Baroque époque – even today in the old districts of the city you can admire full of splendour and richly-embellished pearls of architecture from that period, such as the Church of St. Francis (Igreja de São Francisco). The topography of Salvador is also quite interesting, as the city is situated on different levels of a mountain range and is divided into the upper part, called cidade alta, and located 70 metres lower, the lower part – cidade baixa. From one district to another you can get by the spectacular elevator Lacerda, via the urban cable railway Plano Inclinado Gonçalves or by one of numerous buses.
In the upper city there is the old town Pelourinho, which is on the UNESCO heritage list. The name means pillory and is originated from inglorious colonization history of Salvador. In that place there used to be a market of slaves from West Africa and the only church – Igreja do Rosário dos Pretos – they were allowed to enter up until the end of the 19th century. Until three decades ago, this district was dangerous and neglected. Today it is a touristic area with fancy restaurants and hotels and beautifully renovated multi-coloured buildings. The African influences can still be seen in the culture of Salvador, meaning its language, cuisine, colourful clothes, capoeira, of which the city is the most important centre in the whole Brazil, or in beliefs that mix Christianity with gods of the Black Land.
According to gourmets, the cuisine of state Bahia, which has some significant African impacts, is the best one in Brazil. You can dine in restaurants, but also in so-called hash houses hosted by baianas, dressed in lace and turbans Brazilian women of African descent. Definitely it is worth to try acarajé, fried balls from bean pie with vatapa and shrimps, which are on every street corner, and dish named moqueca, thick soup from milk and coconut oil, fresh or dried fishes or from octopus with herbs. When it comes to second plate, choose churrasco, roasted beef or carurú – shrimps in spicy sauce made from red pepper and okra. Where can you eat tasty food? In Acarajé Da Cira at Largo da Mariquita, Tereza Paim at Rua Odilon Santos, Restaurante Kimukeka at Avenida Octavio Mangabeira and in a bit neglected, but serving exquisite dishes of Brazilian cuisine, eatery called Tabuleiro da Cira at Rua Aristides Milton.