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Northeastern Brazil, where Salvador de Bahia lies, developed as an important center for sugarcane production. You can see the enormous wealth that came from the crop reflected in the grand mansions and gold-lined churches in Pelourinho. You can also see reflected in the population, the legacy of the slaves that worked many of the plantations. Today nearly 80% are of African descent. This heritage has influenced the food, art, religion and music of the area. In the last 15 years, a new form of music called axé has evolved, blending complex African drumming rhythms with reggae melodies to create a uniquely Salvadoran sound.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Rich in history and charming, well preserved colonial beauty, Pelourinho should be first on your touring list. Cobblestone streets and colonial houses punctuate this historic site, which was home to the Bahaian noblesse and the place where African slaves were tortured. Now the stage of an ardent African cultural movement, this National Monument and offers an entertaining center for shopping, music and eating. Immerse yourself in this fascinating culture where Afro-Brazilian groups proudly celebrate their Black-African roots.
Reflecting the area's rich African heritage, Capoeira games are popular here, and you can often see them demonstrated around the town squares. Developed during the colonial era, the sport was created by slaves as a means of practicing self-defense and honoring their culture in secret. It's amazing to watch - incredibly physical, almost balletic - and always exciting. Try to find a demonstration to see this uniquely artistic sport in person.
Bahian cuisine is unique in Brazil. There is a distinctly African twist, often using dendê oil, dried shrimp and coconut milk. Try a delicious moqueca de siri-mole (soft-shell crab stew), bobó de camarão (a shrimp stew that is delicious) or the popular acarajé (a deep fried falafel-like snack). You can still find Baianas - local women dressed in the area's traditional white hoop skirt, lace blouse, and turban - cooking many of the specialties in most places.
Local culture is very important to the Bahians,and the shopping here reflects that. You'll find beautiful wood and ceramic crafts, leather, unique local musical instruments, and especially CDs of axé music. The music is a great way to bring some of the unique, exotic feel of Salvador home with you.
Brazil's currency is the Brazilian real (BRL). Most stores will accept credit cards; however, traveler's checks are not usually accepted. You may get a discount if you pay with cash.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.