The Port of Salvador is considered to be one of the important birthplaces of Brazilian culture. Being a center for the colonial slave trade, it boasts a rich mixed culture that has produced the best of Brazilian music, art, and literature. Its historic Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Port of Salvador hosts a popular Carnaval every year.
The Port of Salvador’s historic center is called Pelourinho from the chains that imprisoned slaves during the colonial period. Slaves were punished here. Under the Portuguese, they constructed many of the colonial churches, forts, houses, and buildings. Because they could not attend the whites’ churches, they saved money and built their own temple during the night, taking about 100 years to complete it. The Rosary of the Blacks is today a favorite spot for tourists. The Port of Salvador is sprinkled with bars, restaurants, gift shops, jewelry stores, schools for capoeira and percussion instruments, and Internet cafes. It also houses many hotels, inns, and hostels for every budget.
The Port of Salvador contains an African-Brazilian school of dance. Every Tuesday, visitors can enjoy a percussion festival in the streets of Olodum Blessing when three squares serve as stages for local music groups.
Visitors to the Port of Salvador will not want to miss some special sights. The public square called Terreiro de Jesus at the center of the upper city may be the most exciting area in town, with food carts and vendor stalls open in the day and a lively crowd at night. The Museu Afro-Brasileiro houses exhibits portraying the slave trade and its impact on the city. The Museum of the City is the former home of writer Jorge Amado.
The Mercado Modelo is the city’s major market. Located in the lower town, visitors will find many local crafts, souvenirs, and many young men performing the famous martial arts dance, the capoeira. The Igreja do Nosso Senhor de Bonfim is a small church and one of the most popular sites for pilgrims in the country. Abaete Park surrounds a lake famous for its starkly contrasting dark water and white sand dunes. It also offers a lively entertainment area with many bars and live music. The Solar do Unhao is an old house on the Baia de Todos os Santos where people gather to watch glorious sunsets. It also contains an art museum and occasional jam sessions.
More than anywhere else in Brazil, the Port of Salvador is saturated with African influences. Religious festivals and ceremonies abound, and spicy African dishes are easy to find. Being the center of both traditional and modern Afro-Brazilian culture, the Port of Salvador is famous for its week-long Carnaval, a celebration that is popular with people from all over Brazil and all over the world.
The beaches at the Port of Salvador are famous. With over 36 kilometers of coastline and many islands, sun bathers, swimmers, surfers, and scuba divers will love their time here. The most popular island, Morro de Sao Paulo, has beautiful crystal clear waters and facilities for sailing, horseback riding, scuba diving, and surfing as well as picnicking and relaxing.
Travelers wishing to visit the Port of Salvador by sea can find a long list of cruises at the Cruise Compete website.