Highlights and main attractions of Salvador de Bahia and the northeast
Whereas Rio state feels like the sultry soul of Brazil, Bahia reverberates like her pounding heart, beating in time with frenzied tamborims and drums. Salvador de Bahia is the capital of the state and Brazil’s oldest city, where African spices and music fill the airspace and colourful costumes abound, jostling for position alongside the equally vibrant Portuguese buildings. It is a mysterious and quirky city where the sense of history is almost tangible.
Salvador de Bahia is located midway along the Atlantic Coast heading north, a two hour flight from Rio. Every Tuesday and Saturday the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town or ´Pelourinho´ comes alive with live music being played on the steps of churches that, although many of which are crumbling and in need of restoration, still loom majestically with their faded glory. Dancers fill the streets, street vendors sell caipirinhas, acaraje and tapioca, drum corps throw giant steel drums into the air, catch them again and pound them into submission, moving slowly through the streets whose colourful mansions clash against the dancers’ vibrant costumes.
Once the centre of African slave trade and with a tangible Afro-Brazilian charm, it is true that the city has a gritty realism to it.