Historic Centre of Salvador - History and Facts | History Hit

Historic Centre of Salvador

Kyle Hoekstra

13 Sep 2021
Image Credit: John Michaels / Alamy Stock Photo

About Historic Centre of Salvador

The Historic Centre of Salvador is a historic neighbourhood and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

History of the Historic Centre of Salvador

The Historic Centre of Salvador is a location in the Brazilian city of Salvador that retains impressive Renaissance buildings, brightly coloured houses and sober allusions to the fact that this site was one of the first slave markets in the Americas.

From 1549 to 1763, Salvador was the first capital of Brazil. Located on the northeast coast of the country, the densely populated colonial city is remarkable for the combination of religious, civil and military architecture which dates between the 17th and 19th centuries.

The Historic Centre of Salvador is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO describes it as the “colonial city par excellence of the Brazilian northeast”. It is situated in the older part of the upper city and incorporates the Largo de Pelourinho, a square that was once the location of a whipping post (pelourinho) where slaves were abused.

Salvador was a site of convergence for indigenous South American, European, and African cultures. From 1558 onwards, slaves arrived at Salvador to work on sugar plantations. The 18th century Church of the Third Order of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black People originated among the mutual aid communities of slaves and freemen in Salvador.

Important sites in Pelourinho include the Cathedral of Salvador, which was consecrated in 1654 and the Church and Convent of São Francisco. Other popular destinations include the Rio Braco Palace and the Lacarda Elevator.

Historic Centre of Salvador today

The Historic Centre of Salvador is a destination for dining, music and nightlife. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and has been a national heritage site since 1984. Many of the buildings have been renovated: over 800 buildings have restored facades and interiors.

The development of the area has been controversial. While historical preservation, tourism, safety and economic development have enhanced since the 1990s, they have contributed to the gentrification and depopulation of what remains an Afro-Brazilian cultural hub.

Getting to the Historic Centre of Salvador

The Historic Centre of Salvador is walkable and accessible by bus and taxi from around the city. Salvador is accessible by airport, 30 minutes from the city centre, and by buses which run daily from other cities in Brazil.

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