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Salvador de Bahia

The historic city in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil This old part of the city of Salvador can really be considered a city of its own, for it has its own distinct atmosphere, architecture and mode of life. Colonial-era buildings and streets come alive with capoeira dance fights, sounds of axe, and the many bars and restaurants that have made this one of the best areas for a night-on-the-town. Tuesday night is the biggest party night here, called "bencao" or blessing, after the tradition of Igreja do Santo Antonio's giving away bread on Tuesday nights.

Pelourinho actually means "whipping post" as until 1835 when this practice of torture was finally banned, this was the spot of the Bahia slave market. The Pelourinho (stone) itself was moved several times. First it stood in the Praca Municipal at the top of the current Elevador Lacerdo, until it was moved to the Terreiro de Jesus somewhere in the early 1600's, then again to where the current Praca Castro Alves is, and finally to the place which currently bears its name- in the Largo do Pelourinho. The Jorge Amado Museum was originally the auction site on Largo do Pelourinho (Praca Jose de Alencar) until it was restored and became the museum dedicated to this great Brazilian writer.

The Bahiatursa office has excellent maps of the city and is located at Rua Francisco Muniz Barreto (Pelourinho)

Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos
This church was built by slaves and "for" slaves, during the time when blacks and whites could not worship under the same roof. It is interesting to note the many representations of Black saints in the religious imagery. Most members of this church are still of African descent, and the traditional organ has been mainly replaced by drums during Mass

Catedral Basilica
Towering over the Terreiro de Jesus Square, this church was built in 1672 and was completely restored in 1996. Gold covers the insides of this highly decorated baroque church and Candomble symbols have been snuck into some of the altars because African slaves carved and built its insides. Concerts, including those by the Bahia Symphonic Orchestra, are often held here.

Igreja de Sao Francisco
This church, though not as big in size as the Basilica, is even greater in grandeur. It was built by colonists who became rich thanks to the sugar trade andover 100 kg of gold were transported and used in the interior of this church. It was built in the early 18th century in the High Baroque style, and the insides dazzle your eyes with the richness of the ornamentation.

Igreja Sao Pedro dos Clerigos
Also located in the Terreiro de Jesus, this is a smaller baroque church with two elegant towers.

Igreja do Ordem Terceira do Carmo
Located on Rua Passo, up from Ladeira do Carmo, this church offers great views of Pelourinho from its windows.

Castro Alves Square
Named for the famous abolitionist poet Castro Alves, this is a beautiful square where he used to recite his poetry demanding an end to slavery.

The City Museum, Sacred Art Museum, Afro-Brazilian Museum and Jorge Amado Museum are also located in Pelourinho.
More on Museums

Nightlife and Entertainment
At night the mini-city of Pelourinho comes alive with music, people, and all layers of life! Each night there are several bands that can be found playing outside, many of them free. Two of the hottest performance venues are on the Praca Quincas Berro D'Agua and the Largo Pedro Archanjo Squares.

Each and every "Blessed" Tuesday night (from the tradition of the Sao Francisco de Assis Church handing out bread to the poor Tuesday evenings), on the Terreiro de Jesus, rows of tables and chairs are set up with barbecues and beer stands, bands fill the streets, music flows from everywhere and into everything, and as you explore the scene one street after the next, you are dazzled by the rich culture and diversity that this city serves up, and its ability to turn even a weekly religious service into a huge celebration. Olodum and Swing do Pelo- two of the biggest blocos in Salvador- perform most Tuesday nights.

The Academia de Mestre Bimba holds intense 2 hour long capoeira shows along with the berimbau and drums Tuesday nights.
More on Entertainment and Nightlife

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