Visiting Salvador Brazil - A City of Contrast

Salvador Brazil is the capital of Bahia and the third largest city in the country.

It is well-known for its Carnival celebrations and Old Town; it has contributed many names to the national music scene. Such a large city is known for its tourist attractions; however, there is another side to the city for the people who live there.

The Famous Side of Salvador Brazil

Old Town is a major tourist attraction with its brightly colored stucco houses and numerous monuments. The old town center is located in the quarter of Pelourinho and is surrounded by urban development. You will find the cathedral and convents from the seventeeth and eighteenth centuries along with the House of Mercy and Saldanha Palace from the sixteenth century.

The old city sits on a hill above the rest of the town. It is accessible by car or stairs, or you can take the famous elevator, Elevador Lacerda. You will feel safe in the old town because it is heavily policed and you can venture down to the craft markets by the docks during the day without fear.

Another popular attraction to Salvador Brazil is the Carnival, which is the largest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It lasts a week long and features parades, music, dancers, and vendors.

History of Salvador

The first people of Salvador Brazil were the Tupinamba Indians and occupied the area until the 1500's when Europeans made their entrance.

Salvador was the first capital of Brazil and it was also the first slave market in the New World. Slaves came to work on the sugar plantations, beginning in 1558. It was a leader in economics and politics until Rio de Janeiro became the capital in 1763.

You will see a mixture of African, Portuguese, and Indian influences on the culture of Salvador, Brazil.

Everyday Life in Salvador

Salvador is a city of contrasts in Brazil. You will find it to be a major tourist industry and many products are made here and transported to other areas of Brazil and throughout the world. At the same time, the level of social inequality is never more evident than in Salvador.

Salvador is the home of the University of Bahia and the Catholic University of Salvador. It is hard to believe that is also has a high illiteracy rate and the uneducated and poor roam the slums of the city.

Automobiles, electronics, and paper are among the items manufactured in Salvador Brazil. Cacao, sugar, petroleum and fruit are among the products exported from the city. There are shopping malls and other stores, restaurants and bars to entertain those who can afford them.

At the same time, you will see the poor peddling their wares along the streets, selling food and craft items. Their goods are the best quality and the prices are reasonable, so it is recommended that you buy some.

You will find that the prices of items are high, which is in contrast to the low wages that the residents get. Unemployment is high in Salvador as in other areas of Brazil, and the slums for the homeless and poor contrast with the higher class parts of town.

Suburbio is the place where the poorest in Salvador, Brazil live. The streets are barely paved and the houses are made of the clay block known to Brazil. The homes are built up a little at a time when there is a little extra money. On the dirt paths, you will see children and dogs playing and roosters running around.

People in Suburbio do participate in activities with each other as in other parts of the country. They listen to the radio or watch television and they may play dominos. They spend time in conversation and enjoy their family and the occasional get-together.

Have a Unique Experience in Salvador Brazil

If you want to find places to visit that are not full of tourists, but a place where you can get to know the residents of Brazil, you will find a few prime spots in Salvador.

Lagoa Abaete is a lake in Itapua where you will not find many tourists. However, on weekends, it is a busy spot for the locals. The restaurants and bars are simple and authentic and a great place to get to know the residents.

If you want to do something in addition to visiting the beaches, consider hiking at Chapada Diamantina. It is a national park about six hours from Salvador, with mountains, rivers, and caves.

You can visit Jardim Brasil if you want to enjoy good food with Brazilians. It is an area of bars in Barra that the middle and upper class people frequent.

Beco de Gal is a local samba place that is run by a woman called Gal and located on the Dique de Tororo. It is a popular place on Wednesday nights when you will mainly see locals dancing to the music.

Visit Sao Tome if you are looking for a beach that is not crowded with tourists. It is about an hour's bus ride from Salvador and worth the trip.

You will see the Brazil suburbs along the way, which is where the poor of Brazil live in their favelas (shantytowns). This is a view many tourists never experience and will give you an appreciation for how many people of Brazil still live.

Brazil as a nation has been doing a great deal to help more and more of it's citizens to move out of poverty. Hopefully as the economic prosperity of the country continues to develop, all the people of Brazil will have access to the necessities of life.

The Feiro de Sao Joaquim market is the larger and more well-known of Salvador's open air markets. However, Sete Portas is the smaller, but cleaner of the two and has a variety of goods to browse. You will enjoy traditional Brazilian food and find many handcrafted items. The market is only a short walk from the historic Old Town.

Salvador Brazil is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you take the time to see something besides the tourist attractions. You will find two sides to the story that makes up one of the largest cities in Brazil.


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