"Colonial city with a dark history" Salvador da Bahia by toonsarah
Salvador da Bahia Travel Guide: 629 reviews and 1,337 photos
São Salvador da Baía de Todos os Santos, to give it its full name, was founded by Portuguese settlers as the first capital of colonial Brazil. It quickly became its main sea port and an important centre of the sugar industry and the slave trade. Its rich cultural heritage owes much to the latter: an estimated 1.3 million slaves were imported into Bahia before slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, double the number imported into the entire United States of America.
Nowadays this dubious past is evident in the diverse ethnic mix of the population, the music, dance and cuisine. It also results in a very different atmosphere from that of Brazil’s more southern cities, at once both more exciting but also slightly intimidating. Although the city has worked hard to improve things in recent years, it remains true that you are more likely to be a victim of crime here (mainly street robbery) than elsewhere in the country.
We had no problems like this, though we avoided the worst areas, but we did get a lot of hassle from people wanting to sell us unwanted souvenirs on the streets, which for me rather detracted from my enjoyment of the wonderful architecture of the old Pelorinho district. Nevertheless a visit here will give you a more rounded picture of Brazil and will bring colour to many of the images you probably have of the country, especially in music and dance.
We only spent a couple of nights here, moving on north to a beach resort on the Bahia coast to give us a relaxing end to our holiday.
Our visit was some years ago now. I’ve done my best to check that all my info is up to date but I appreciate things may have changed. Please do let me know if you spot any errors or discover changes that I should correct.
- Pros:A different side to Brazil
- Cons:You will be hassled here, unlike other parts of the country
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