Upper Town, Salvador Cidade Alta
The upper and lower towns are linked by steep streets and a number of lifts, including the Plano Inclinado de Gonçalves (a funicular) and the Elevador Lacerda (a passenger lift). The Plano Inclinado (Inclined Plane) runs from Rua Francisco Gonçalves in the lower town to Praça Ramos de Queiroz. The Elevador Lacerda (1930), one of the landmarks of Salvador (and a favorite haunt of pickpockets), links Praça Cairu in the harbor area with Praça Tomé de Souza in the historic old town (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1987), from which there is a superb view of the lower town, the harbor and Itaparica.
The Pelourinho quarter to the north of the Terreiro de Jesus, which has now been largely renovated and has become a favorite resort of both local people and visitors, occupies much of the historic old town. As the finest ensemble of 17th and 18th century colonial buildings in Latin America it was declared by UNESCO a world cultural monument. In Rua Gregório de Matos are the City Museum (Museu da Cidade), with life-size Candomblé figures, and the Abelardo Rodrigues Museum (sacred art and folk art), housed in the Solar do Ferrão of 1701. The Portas do Carmo Museum (weapons and flags of the period of the Dutch invasion) is in the Prédio do Senac, between the Solar do Ferrão and the 18th century church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks), which was built by black slaves. The Prédio do Senac is a regular school of gastronomy in which visitors can sample typical Bahian dishes and in the evenings can frequently watch performances of dances and other folk events. Also in the Pelourinho quarter are the Jorge Amado Foundation, the Casa de Benin (representing the culture of the old kingdom of Benin in what is now southern Nigeria, from which most of the slaves were shipped to Bahia) and the headquarters of the Bloco Afro Olodum (a carnival club) and the afoxé Filhos de Gandhi ("Children of Gandhi").
To the north of the Pelourinho quarter, on Largo do Carmo, are a Carmelite church and convent, built in 1580, burned down in 1788 and rebuilt forty years later. The sacristy now contains a museum, a notable item in which is a sculpture of Christ in Chains by Francisco Manuel das Chagas, known as O Cabra, a slave who became a notable sculptor (18th century).
Ordem Terceira do Carmo
The church of the Third Order (Ordem Terceira; 1636) has a fine Baroque altar. It contains a museum, with a notable life-size figure in cedar wood, set with rubies, of the Dead Christ by Francisco Chagas (1710).
São Francisco (Ordem Terceira de São Francisco)
São FranciscoOrdem Terceirade São FranciscoA little way south of the Terreiro de Jesus are the church and friary of São Francisco and the church of the Third Order (Ordem Terceira) of São Francisco. The friary, originally built in 1587, was destroyed during the fighting with the Dutch and was rebuilt in 1686. The walls of the spacious square cloister are faced with superb Portuguese azulejo pictures. The church, stylistically a mingling of Mannerism and Baroque, was built between 1708 and 1750. The gable is completely Baroque; the interior reflects the Portuguese ideal of a "golden church". Contrary to the normal plan of the mendicant orders' churches, the nave is flanked by aisles, and both nave and aisles are sumptuously decorated with gilded carving. The gilding of the high altar took two years to complete. The ceiling paintings are devoted to the Virgin, and the carving in the choir chapel combines with the azulejo pictures in a harmonious unity. The church of the Third Order has a striking façade, with statues of saints and angels, Atlas figures and other sculptural decoration. The sumptuous decoration of the interior outdoes the Portuguese and Italian Baroque and resembles the Churrigueresque style which originated in Spain and achieved a great flowering in colonial Mexico.
Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat
The church of the Benedictine monastery of Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat is thought to have been designed by the Italian architect Baccio do Filicaia. The high altar came from the monastery of São Bento in Salvador.The church has a statue of "St Peter Repentant" which is attributed to the Benedictine monk Agostinho da Piedade and dated to 1640. The power and the tension expressed in this work make it one of the masterpieces of Brazilian sculpture. Another item of particular interest is a painted ex-voto of 1749 by an unknown artist, an iconographic document of great importance: it is a regular narrative in pictures, depicting the adventures of a man traveling in Brazil and illustrating the costumes of that period.
Igreja do Senhor do Bonfim (Festa da Ribeira)
Senhor do BonfimTo the north of Forte Monte Serrat is the best known and most popular church in Bahia, the Igreja do Senhor do Bonfim (1745-54). The church's Ex-Voto Museum contains thousands of votive offerings giving thanks for miracles wrought by the Senhor do Bonfim. In the second half of January an immense mass of people make their way from Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Praia to the church of the Senhor do Bonfim, where they wash the steps leading up to the entrance. On the Monday following this washing (lavagem) the Festa da Ribeira is celebrated, with typical local food and drink, capoeira performances and samba de roda dances.
CathedralOn the Terreiro de Jesus, adjoining Praça da Sé, is the Cathedral, originally the church of the former Jesuit College, which was built between 1604 and 1656. The façade was faced with stone from Portugal at the end of the 17th century; the interior was decorated in Baroque style in the 18th century. At that time the Jesuit seminary was the largest of its kind outside Rome.Also on the Terreiro de Jesus are the church of São Pedro dos Clérigos (1709) and São Domingos de Gusmão (1731), the church of the Third Dominican order, with a Rococo façade.
To the south of the Theatre, on Largo de São Bento, are the church and monastery of São Bento. The church of São Bento was begun in 1679 but was finally consecrated only in 1871.
Santa Casa da Misericórdia
The church of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, in Rua da Misericórdia, near Praça Tomé de Souza and Praça da Sé, is decorated with 18th centuryPortuguese tile pictures. In the church is a museum of church treasures and sacred art. On Praça da Sé is the 18th century Archbishop's Palace (Palácio Arquiepiscopal), which was connected with the old Cathedral by a passage.
West of São Bento, in Rua Sodré, is the church of Santa Teresa, with the former convent of Discalced Carmelites, now occupied by the Museum of Sacred Art. The plans for the Carmelite house are attributed to a monk named Macário de São João, who came to Brazil in 1648. The church of Santa Teresa (1666-97), with its cruciform plan, is modeled on the Gesó church in Rome.
Museum of Sacred Art
The Museum of Sacred Art has an important collection of portrait sculpture (in clay, wood, ivory, soapstone and lead) of the 17th-19th centuries. Particularly fine are the sculptured figures and reliquary busts by the Benedictine monk Agostinho da Piedade, which show traces of Indian influence, notably the reliquary bust of St Lucia (c. 1630), one of the earliest examples of silver portrait sculpture in Brazil. The Museum also contains works by the sculptor-monk Agostinho de Jesus and paintings of the Cuzco school and the great colonial painters José Joaquim da Rocha, José Teófilo de Jesus and Ricardo do Pilar, another monk.The museum is housed in the former convent of Santa Teresa.
Palácio Rio Branco
On Praça Tomé de Souza are a number of 17th century buildings, including Paço Municipal, a handsome whitewashed building now occupied by the Prefecture.
Casa de Rui Barbosa
Casa de RuiBarbosaSouth-west of the Franciscan churches along Rua de São Francisco is the Casa de Rui Barbosa, now a museum. The house is in Rua Rui Barbosa, which runs into the large Praça Castro Alves. In the square is a monument to the Bahian writer and politician, a great champion of Brazilian independence. During the Carnival the square, which looks out on to the bay, is alive with swarms of people, trios eléctricos (trucks carrying music groups), carnival clubs and afoxés.
Afro-Brazilian MuseumThe Afro-Brazilian Museum is housed in the old Faculty of Medicine on the Terreiro de Jesus, which also contains the Memorial de Medicina. On the ground floor of the Afro-Brazilian Museum are four sections devoted to negro cultures (e.g. the capoeira, the martial dance developed by the black slaves).
Forte Monte Serrat
Parque Metropolitano do Pituaçu
Parque Metropolitano do PituaçuOn Avenida Governador Luís Viana Filho, which links the Pituba and Pituaçu districts, are an artificial lake and the Municipal Park, with sports facilities, a lake and a nature reserve.
Teatro e Centro Folclórico
Rua Chile runs from Praça Castro Alves to Praça Tomé de Souza, near which are the Solar do Berquó, a mansion of the colonial period, and the Teatro e Centro Folclórico (Folk Center and Theatre).
Museum of Archeology and Ethnography
The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography is housed in the old Faculty of Medicine on the Terreiro de Jesus, which also contains the Memorial de Medicina.
Map of Salvador Attractions