Written by Sebastien on 16 February 2013. Posted in Cities

Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state Bahia and also the largest city on the northeastern coast of Brazil. It was known for many years simply as Bahia and later on its historical name was Sao Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (City of the Holy Saviour of the Bay of All Saints). Salvador was one of the first cities on the American continent. Nowadays it is the third most populous city in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. What’s unique about Salvador is the fact that the city is divided into two parts (the Upper Town and the Lower Town) by an escarpment. The two areas are connected by an elevator.

The city of Salvador is famous for its unique culture, cuisine and architecture. The African cultural influences are highly notable in this city. From the architectural point of view, the city is a veritable treasure and its historical center was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its buildings dating back in the Portuguese colonial period. Salvador was the first capital of the Portuguese America and its inhabitants were very wealthy at the time. Their wealth is nowadays reflected in the numerous palaces and churches dating back in the 16th and 17th century. The Cathedral of Salvador, the Convent and Church of Sao Francisco, Mercado Modelo, Church of Nosso Senhor de Bonfim and Elevador Lacerda are just some of the main tourist attractions in the historical center of Salvador.

Numerous tourists come to Salvador every year for the wonderful beaches of this city. The city’s coastline is among the longest coastlines in Brazil. Both the Upper and the Lower Town have great beaches as well as numerous accommodation facilities ranging from luxurious hotels to hostels. Some beaches are calm and suitable for activities like swimming, diving or fishing while others are perfect for surfers because of their powerful waves. One of the beaches of Salvador, Porto da Barra Beach, was considered the third best beach in the world in 2007. The parks of Salvador are also very interesting for tourists. There are four major green areas and one of them (Pitucu Park) is one of the few ecological parks in Brazil located in a metropolitan area.

The local cuisine in Salvador is appreciated in the whole country. It has numerous African influences and it is based mainly on seafood and African spices. A type of palm tree oil which was brought to Brazil by African immigrants is one of the main ingredients of the cuisine in Salvador. Traditional dishes like moqueca baiana, caruru, vatapa, acaraje or abara can be served in numerous restaurants. However, tourists can also enjoy international cuisine or cuisine from other Brazilian areas in the restaurant of Salvador.

Brazil is worldwide famous for its carnivals, but the carnival in Salvador seems to be the most spectacular one. It was nominated as the biggest party on the planet by the Guinness Book of Records. 4 million people party at the carnival each year. Festivities last for one week and the organization of the event implies a gigantic effort.
Tourism is a very important part in the economy of Salvador. It generates employment and it keeps the interest for preserving the cultural heritage alive. Salvador is the second most popular tourist destination in Brazil after Rio de Janeiro. Thanks to the great importance of tourism, the infrastructure in the city is considered one of the most modern ones in the world.

People of Salvador are known as happy and easygoing. Because of their attitude and because of numerous outdoor parties and festivals, Salvador is known as the capital of happiness in Brazil.

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