The city of São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, or simply Salvador, is located in the northeast region of Brazil.

Given the existence of an 85-meter cliff, Salvador had to develop 2 distinct levels, aptly named:

  • Cidade Alta (Upper Town) – institutional and political area, the headquarters of the civil and religious authorities. Here you can find the neighborhood of Pelourinho, the city’s historic center.
  • Cidade Baixa (Downtown) – A harbor and business area, close to the coastline. In it, you can find the well-known Mercado Modelo, the neighborhood of Ribeira and Igreja do Bonfim (Church of Bonfim).

Establishing the connection between the two parts of the city one can find Elevador Lacerta, the first lift in the world to work as a mean of public transportation. It’s 73,5 meters tall and was outlined by António de Lacerda.

To commute between the city’s 2 areas, one can use the lift of Plano Inclinado Gonçalves. It was built by the Jesuits.

In the Upper City you can find the neighborhood of Pelourinho.

It´s one of the city’s most popular touristic attractions and designated by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site in 1985. The architecture, the houses and its colors are the site’s features that stand out the most. Currently, it’s the liveliest and cultural touristic point of Salvador, but its history is a sorrowful one.

The Portuguese conquest of Salvador happened in 1501 and the city’s foundation happened in 1549 by the hand of Tomé de Sousa. It was the 1st governor-general of Brazil

In 1558 the first African slaves arrived in the city and thus Salvador became the first slave market in the New World. The ships used to dock in the Downtown, at the area in which one is able to find Mercado Modelo nowadays. The recently-arrived slaves stayed in this Market’s basement. According to the legend, one can still hear the sound of the chains… It’s possible to visit this site.

During the slavery era, the upper town worked as the administrative and political center and there you had the main institutions and the houses of the wealthiest. This was also the location of pelourinho (pillory), a stone column which was used a place of punishment for the slaves.

With the foundation of the city of Salvador, the 1st pillory was established.

It was located in what is the current Praça Thomé de Sousa. Then, it was moved to Terreiro de Jesus and subsequently to a place after Portas de São Bento and lastly to the current Largo do Pelourinho. It remained in the latter for 30 years, until the pillory’s use as a way of punishment for slaves was finally extinguished.

This symbol of authority served as an inspiration for the name then given to the historic center of Salvador.

I recommend visiting Salvador. Its local people are extremely welcoming, the food is magnificent and the weather is great. Lots of history and culture.