The capital city of the State of Bahia, Salvador, is alive with African influence that can be seen in locally prepared dishes, ancient ceremonies and rituals that are still being conducted, as well as in the churches and schools of the area. Salvador has approximately 2,250,000 residents, and is widely known as “The City of Joy.”
The history of Salvador can be traced back to 1549, when the city was founded by a group of Portuguese settlers. During this time, Salvador was Brazil’s main seaport, and was important to the sugar industry as well as the slave trade. Today, Salvador is known for its world famous soccer teams. Also noteworthy is the fact that Ford Motor Company has a plant in the metropolitan area of Salvador that produces cars such as the Fiesta, Courier and Ecosport.
The region of Salvador is situated as a small, triangular peninsula that has diverse terrain including flat lands, rolling hills and low lying mountains. The coastline of Salvador is also quite diverse in that it features many islands, mangrove swamps, sandy beaches as well as sea cliffs.
Since Salvador is located in a tropical area, the temperatures are always hot and the humidity is always very high. The hottest temperatures can be felt in March, and the coolest temperatures arrive in July.
Salvador is a city that is very rich in the cultural sense. African influence weighs heavy in this region, and the city is home to Brazil’s oldest cathedral, which was built in 1572. There are also more than 350 churches in this city, a majority of them Catholic. The local cuisine centers on West African recipes and ingredients, and includes seafood as the main staple mixed with hot spices.
Since Salvador is a melting pot of diverse people; Indians, Africans and Europeans, there is an eclectic mix of music, food, religion and cultural celebrations that can be witnessed here. Musical tastes run from Axe, known as carnival music, to Bolero, to Reggae and Classical. Street celebrations are a regular occurrence in Salvador, and bring together people of many different cultures, all wanting to share a bit of themselves, and their history, with one another. Some of the most important festival celebrations that take place in Salvador are Carnival, the International Fireworks Festival, Bonfim Washing, and Christ’s Week, also known as Holy Week.
Visitors to Salvador will be introduced to beautiful architecture, which can be seen in the cities buildings, churches and ruins, magnificent beaches, majestic mountains, glorious museums, as well as being able to literally taste the culture at any of Salvador’s wonderful restaurants.
If you plan on visiting Salvador, know that there are a variety of options for lodging; hotels, camps, apartments, flats, hostels as well as lodges are available throughout Salvador and are all economically priced. Any visit to Salvador will leave one with a renewed love for the arts, a passion for history, and a new found respect for the diverse people who make Salvador what it is today.