The Spooky Religious Art of Salvador

Salvador should be on a dude’s of top places to visit list in Brazil simply because just walking through the city is like walking backwards in time or through a fantastic archeological site or fine art museum. The good news is that strolling through this elegant old city with its cobblestone streets and colonial mansions and churches is absolutely free.  If you have are obsessed with Catholic fetish objecs you will love it here.


Salvador in general is a much older city with a lot of baroque architecture the jewel of the city is at its core. The district known as Pelourinho is almost like living theater and at night wandering bards and street performers come out to sing and dance.  This part of Salvador is sometimes just casually referred to by the locals as “the old city.”


Outside the area of the old city there are also many great museums and stores selling arts and crafts. If you feel like relaxing the beautiful Baía de Todos os Santos is only footsteps away. The beaches near Salvador are warmer and calmer than most of the beaches in the country and the beach that fronts this picturesque and historic city stretches for fifty miles up the coast.


If you like Catholic art then Salvador boasts one of the most famous collections of it in the world. It is housed in the Museu de Arte Sacra. The artifacts are shown in the former Convent of Saint Teresa of Avila. The collection includes oil paintings metalwork, and many wooden statues of saints.


Salvador is also the site of a lot of different festivities including an impressive one called The Spectacle of Lavagem do Bonfim. This festival takes place on the steps of the N.S. do Bonfirm every third Thursday of January. It is a mixture of Santeria and Catholicism that honors the Orishas associated with that religion.  On this day women dressed in white turbans, lace blouses and colorful jewelry carry large jugs of perfumed water into town while serenaded by bands that are collectively known as the Sons of Gandhi block. Once the costumed women reach the N.S. do Bonfirm church they go about scrubbing the steps with broom. After the church steps are cleaned there is a celebration with barbecued food and plenty of alcohol.


No true tourist can ever leave Salvador without a visit to the Marcado Modelo which is a huge warehouse that used to house slave. Nowadays it is full of stalls with vendors willing to sell you every single kind of souvenir from Salvador including crucifixes, clothing and curiosities.