With such a remarkable religious fusion in Bahia, in Salvador it certainly reaches the top by looking at other cultural elements such as art, dance, belief, costumes and language. This gives Salvador a unique atmosphere that attracts Brazilians and foreigners at all times of the year.
It does not take much effort to come up with artistic manifestations or architectural elements that reveal encountering the past and the present and that compose the tourist prescription of Salvador.
Taking into account the location of the Maritime Terminal, it is only a few steps, walking along the Avenue França, where you see the topographic feature that marked the foundation of the city: the division between the Upper and the Lower City. In fact, it’s easy to map it this way in order to know some of the key attractions in every corner around the Terminal.
You must know beforehand that in the Upper part is the famous Pelourinho, a historic quarter and UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site. It is along its streets and alleys that it is possible to observe the rich architectural set of the colonial Baroque expression in Salvador. In the Lower part there are icons of the city such as the Modelo Market and São Marcelo Fort. The integration point between the Upper and Lower parts is also a postcard of Salvador – the Lacerda Elevator.
To get an idea of the syncretic collection that Salvador reserves for us see the information about the main tourist attractions located in the surroundings of the Terminal outlined based on the Municipal and State Tourism Departments websites.
São Marcelo Fort is an imposing crown-shaped building, which dominates the Bay of All Saints, forming a circular island. Dating back to the 17th century and originally called Fort of Nossa Senhora do Pópulo, it rises in front of the Port of Salvador, inside the breakwater, built on rocks that appeared at low tide. During part of its history, it was transformed into a prison, therein confining many notorious men of Bahia, like Cipriano Barata. The Fort played an important role in the rebellions that took place in the Bay of All Saints, like the Sabinada Revolt. It served, for a time, as a gunpowder warehouse and imprisonment of disruptive or undisciplined students.
The 1861 construction 1861, located in Plaza Cairu, features a roundabout at the bottom, where ships docked to unload goods at Customs, occupying the building at the time. The market began to operate in the building in 1971 and 13 years later, it caught fire and was renovated. Today, it has 259 stands with the best in terms of northeastern handicrafts (bathrobes, lace towels, nets, and balangandã and patuá amulets), two restaurants, as well as bars that serve typical drinks and appetizers. The roundabout, in turn, began to function as a stage of Capoeira wheels and presentation of singers and improvisers.
The Basilica Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Praia, one of the oldest parishes in Salvador, was prefabricated in Portugal using soap stones that were numbered to enable their assembly later. The building located at the foot of the mountain that connects the Higher to the Lower city is characterized by Baroque architecture that is complemented by the monumentality of its façade in Neoclassical style. Located on Conceição da Praia Street, in the Comércio Burrough, the church also imposes itself on the volume of construction, in its almost 67 thousand m3.
The four cabins of the world’s largest public elevator link the 72 meters of Tomé de Souza Square in the Upper City to Cairu Square, in the Lower City. The up-and-down carries 28,000 passengers daily and lasts 30 seconds. Inaugurated in 1873, it was planned and built by tradesman Antonio Francisco de Lacerda.
This square is the access point to Pelourinho by the Lacerda Elevator. Some monuments of the public administration as the City Council Members of Salvador, the Tomé de Sousa Palace (current headquarters of the City Hall) and Rio Branco Palace (former headquarters of the Government of Bahia) are located in this Square.
Built initially in mud and clay, the Rio Branco Palace was the former home o the Governor General of Brazil, Tomé de Sousa, and the Administrative Center of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1549. Then called Government House, it also became a military barracks and prison. It was involved in popular riots, was the seat of the Republic of Bahia in 1937. It housed Portuguese illustrious figures; served as provisional residence to Dom Pedro II and suffered fires and bombings like the one in 1912, and it need to be reconstructed. Reinaugurated in 1919 – when it was renamed Palácio Rio Branco – it remained the center of state decisions until 1979. During the next four years, the building housed the administration of the Municipal Government of Salvador and later the headquarters of the State Tourism Agency. In 1983, the palace was totally degraded due lack of maintenance and in the following year, it was decided to make a complete restoration of the building. Today it houses the Pedro Calmon Foundation and the Memorial of the Governors. In the latter venue, visitors can meet characters who built the republican history and can visit the hall of mirrors, whose access is through an iron and crystal staircase from France. Visitors can also see, in the room that evokes Pompeii, a Mural of the Bacchae, which was hidden for a long time under repainting.
Officially named Praça 15 de Novembro Square, it is a square of great historical and cultural importance to the city of Salvador and is located in the Historic Center. It houses the Cathedral Basilica of Salvador, the Church of the Ordem Terceira of São Domingos and the Church of São Pedro of the Clergymen, exponents of Brazilian colonial art, as well as the Jesuit College, where the first medical school of Brazil was established.
Located in front of Largo do Cruzeiro, in Pelourinho, this monumental church is popularly known as the “golden church”, because it has about half a ton o preciousness inside. All internal surfaces – walls, pillars, vaults and ceilings –are covered by golden sculpted gilt woodwork and paintings decorated with golden foliage, countless angels and birds. The decoration of the temple is an example of the Baroque art of the first half of the eighteenth century and it fascinates because it realizes the ideal of the golden church that emerged in Lisbon and Goa in the late seventeenth century. The convent, still in use, with dozens of cloisters, was built around a square cloister. It has a basement and two storeys above the street level. The upper level has an open gallery-like walkway with apparent framing and is covered by shingles. The lower levels are vaulted and arched. The model is inspired by the Portuguese cloisters of the 16th century. Its decoration shows rich tile panels; part of them created by Bartolomeu Antunes de Jesus in mid-eighteenth century, showing various moralistic allegories and inscriptions taken from the book Theater of Human Life Morals and all the philosophy of the ancient and the modern, illustrated with prints by Otto van Veen, who was Peter Rubens’ master.
For information on visiting prices and visiting times, please consult a Tourist Information Office in Salvador, or visit the tourism websites: