Salvador is the capital city of the state of Bahia. Originally named the “City of Bahia”; Salvador was founded in 1549 by Portuguese explorers and renamed as the capital of colonial Brazil until 1763. Salvador da Bahia was originally one of the main gateways for the African slave trade and accounted for over half of all Africans brought to the “ New World”.
That’s why the African element in Salvador’s culture is so pronounced within its music, song, dance, cuisine, crafts and religion. Did I leave-out party? The fun-loving people of Salvador love to party. Land of the festivals, it is a throbbing coastal city of over two million that attracts vacationers aspiring to the profusion of fun and excitement. The ambiance of high spirit and jubilation permeates everything in Salvador da Bahia.
Often called “The City of Happiness” and the “ New Orleans of Brazil” by Time Magazine, it doesn’t take long to determine why. If smiles and laughter were money, the people of Salvador would be the richest on earth. They simply shine with a magical glow that attracts visitors from all over the world to find out why.
Salvador da Bahia is blessed with beauty and tranquility. Its coastline harbors an abundance of soft sand that beckons all to the fresh gentle breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from its natural beauty, the view of All Saint’s Bay is awe-inspiring.
Salvador is a thriving metropolis rich in museums and ancient history. The primary historic district is “Pelourinho” one of the oldest areas of the city. Originally a wealthy neighborhood, over-time it gradually deteriorated into tenements and brothels until its recent restoration including over 600 restored buildings. Pelourinho is like an open-air center of jubilation and festive party with cobblestone streets accented by pastel-colored row houses.
Here you can shop till you drop for souvenirs and artworks, then kickback and relax at its numerous restaurants and nightspots. It is home to troupes of entertainers who rehearse in the streets adding to its festive aura. The bars and streets thump with an infusion of music and dance. Public parties are what pumps lifeblood into the heart and soul of Salvador da Bahia. It is the magical allure.
Delicious food is also influenced by its African roots tempered with a touch of its Portuguese dominated history. Expect delightful spicy dishes of pork, shrimp and fish that are so abundant it produces and aromatic trail. A must-try is “Acarje” which is batter made from black-eyed peas deep fried in palm oil as “golden brown fitters” It is then split open and filled optionally with “vatapá” (a peanut cream), hot sauce, salad or dried shrimp. Eat while hot and be careful with the hot sauce. Along with an abundance of restaurants offering world cuisine, the traveler to Salvador will never go hungry.
Expect open-arm friendly hospitality in a style that exists nowhere else in the world. This is the magical city with a perpetual glow. Salvador da Bahia…the happiest city in the world.
Typical humid tropical climate with an average year-round temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature ever recorded is 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the highest of 100 degrees. Its seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere. Its winter and coldest temperatures is June through August. The warmest period is December through February. The rainy season is typically May through August.
The myth is that Salvador has 365 Catholic churches which is one for each day of the year. Who knows, but there are thousands of places to worship representing all denominations. Most worship African divinities and Catholic Saints and sometimes both together.
Population of Salvador
Salvador is the third largest city in Brazil behind Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with a population of about 2.2 million. The population of the entire state of Bahia is about 12 million.