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Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brazil, the city is one of the oldest in the Americas. For a long time, it was simply known as Bahia, and appears under that name (or as Salvador da Bahia, Salvador of Bahia so as to differentiate it from other Brazilian cities of the same name) on many maps and books from before the mid-20th century. Salvador is the third most populous Brazilian city, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The metropolitan area of the city, with 3.5 million of people, however, is the seventh most populous Brazilian urban agglomeration, and the third in Brazilian Northeast Region.
The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, and its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil's Northeast. The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the centre of Afro-Brazilian culture. This reflects a situation in which African-associated cultural practices are celebrated. The historical centre of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Salvador is located on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates Todos os Santos Bay from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay, which gets its name from having been discovered on All Saints' Day forms a natural harbor. Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia.
A particularly notable feature is the escarpment that divides Salvador into the Cidade Alta ("Upper Town" - rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa ("Lower Town" - northwest region of the city), the former some 85 m (279 ft) above the latter, with the city's cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. An elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades.
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Baía de Todos os Santos (All Saints Bay) was first encountered by the Portuguese and named in 1500. In 1501, one year after the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet in Porto Seguro, Gaspar de Lemos arrived at Todos os Santos Bay and sailed most of the Bahia coast. But the first European man to disembark on "Morro de São Paulo," Saint Paul's Mount, was Martim Afonso de Sousa, in 1531, leading an expedition to explore the coast of the new continent.
In 1510, a ship, containing the Portuguese settler named Caramuru by the natives, wrecked near the borough of Rio Vermelho. In 1534, Francisco Pereira Coutinho founded a town near Barra borough, called Vila Velha or "Old Village".
In 1549, a fleet of Portuguese settlers headed by Tomé de Sousa, the first Governor-General of Brazil, established Salvador. Built on a high cliff overlooking All Saints bay as the first colonial capital of colonial Brazil, it quickly became its main sea port and an important center of the sugar industry and the slave trade.
It was during the 17th and 19th centuries that the majority of Jews migrated to Bahia, spreading their culture throughout its colonies and beyond (the first synagogue in the Americas, The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, was erected in nearby Recife in 1636).
Salvador was, however, primarily influenced by Catholicism; it became the seat of the first Catholic bishopric of Brazil in 1552 and is still a center of Brazilian Catholicism.
Salvador was divided into an upper and a lower city, the upper one being the administrative and religious area and where the majority of the population lived. The lower city was the financial center, with a port and market. In the late 19th Century, funiculars and an elevator, the Elevador Lacerda, were built to link the two areas.
Salvador was the capital city of the Portuguese viceroyalty of Grão-Pará and its province of Baía de Todos os Santos. The Dutch admiral Piet Hein of the West Indian Company captured and sacked the city in May 1624, and held it along with other north east ports until it was retaken by a Spanish-Portuguese fleet in May 1625. It then played a strategically vital role in the Portuguese-Brazilian resistance against the Dutch.
Salvador was the first capital of Brazil and remained so until 1763, when it was succeeded by Rio de Janeiro. The city became a base for the Brazilian independence movement and was attacked by Portuguese troops in 1812, before being liberated on 2 July 1823. It settled into graceful decline over the next 150 years, out of the mainstream of Brazilian industrialization. It remains, however, a national cultural and tourist center. By 1948 the city had some 340,000 people, and was already Brazil's fourth largest city. In 2010 was 3,480,790 people, the third largest population in Brazil.
In the 1990s, a major city project cleaned up and restored the old downtown area, the Pelourinho, or Centro Historico ("Historical Center"). Now, the Pelourinho is a cultural center, and the heart of Salvador's tourist trade. Nonetheless, this social prophylaxis resulted in the forced removal of thousands of working class residents to the city's periphery where they have encountered significant economic hardship.
Additionally, the Historical Center is now something of a depopulated architectural jewel whose "animation" must be brought in and sponsored by local shopowners and the Bahian state. Similar situations may be found in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites today but the Pelourinho, in light of Salvador's economic inequalities and ruling governmental coalitions of the 1990s, seems to have gone farther than most in sacrificing its population to the needs of tourist-based preservation.
Salvador features a tropical rainforest climate with no discernable dry season. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, featuring warm and humid conditions. Salvador's driest month of the year is January, where the city receives on average 11 cm (4 in) of precipitation. Salvador's wettest months are between April and July when at least 20 cm (8 in) of rain falls during each of these four months
Throughout Brazilian history Salvador has played an important role. Throughout the colonial era Salvador was the colony's largest and most important city. Because of its location on Brazil's northeastern coast, the city served as an important link in the Portuguese empire, maintaining close commercial ties with Portugal and Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. Salvador remained the preeminent city in Brazil until 1763 when it was replaced as the national capital by Rio de Janeiro. In the last ten years many high-rise office and apartment buildings were constructed, sharing the same blocks with colonial-era housing or commercial buildings.With its beaches, humid tropical climate, numerous up-to-date shopping malls(The Shopping Iguatemi is the first Shopping in Brazil Northeast and pleasant high-class residential areas, the city has much to offer its residents. Economically Salvador is one of Brazil's more important cities. Since its founding the city has been one of Brazil's most prominent ports and international trading centers. Boasting a large oil refinery, a petrochemical plant and other important industries, the city has made great strides in reducing its historical dependence on agriculture for its prosperity.
Salvador is the second most popular tourism destination in Brazil, after Rio de Janeiro. Tourism and cultural activity are important generators of employment and income, boosting the arts and the preservation of artistic and cultural heritage. Chief among the points of interest are its famous Pelourinho (named after the colonial pillories that once stood there) district, its historic churches, and its beaches. Salvador's tourism infrastructure is considered one of the most modern in World, especially in terms of lodging. The city offers accommodation to suit all tastes and standards, from youth hostels to international hotels. Construction is one of the most important activities in the city, and many international (mainly from Spain, Portugal and England) and national developers are investing in the city and in the Bahian littoral zone.
Ford Motor Company has a plant in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, in the city of Camaçari, assembling the Ford EcoSport, Ford Fiesta, Ford Fiesta Sedan. It was the first Automotive industry in Northeastern Brazil. The industry employs 800 engineers.
JAC Motors will have a plant in the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, in the city of Camaçari, the new industry will result 3,500 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs, the production of 100,000 vehicles by year.
In December 2001, Monsanto Company inaugurated, at the Petrochemical Pole of Camaçari, in Metropolitan Region of Salvador, the first plant of the company designed to produce raw materials for the herbicide Roundup in South America. The investment is equivalent to US$ 500 millions; US$ 350 millions were spent in this initial phase. The Camaçari Plant, the largest unit of Monsanto outside of the United States, is also the only Monsanto plant manufacturing raw materials for the Roundup production line. The company started the civil works for the new plant in January 2000.
The Salvador coastline is one of the longest for cities in Brazil. There are 80 km (50 mi) of beaches distributed between the High City and the Low City, from Inema, in the railroad suburb to the Praia do Flamengo, on the other side of town. While the Low City beaches are bordered by the waters of the All Saints Bay (the country's most extensive bay), the High City beaches, from Farol da Barra to Flamengo, are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. The exception is Porto da Barra Beach, the only High City beach located in the All Saints Bay.
The big hotels tend to be strung out along the orla (Atlantic seafront). There are also smaller hotels in Barra and Porto da Barra, others (generally less expensive) scattered along the principal thoroughfare of Avenida Sete de Setembro (shortened to "Avenida Sete" by the locals), and still others (usually inexpensive) in and around Pelourinho.
There are also pousadas (guest houses, or bed and breakfasts) in Barra, Pelourinho, and Santo Antônio (and other places as well, to be sure), and hostels (albergues), which are for the most part located in Pelourinho (though a lot of the "pousadas" in Barra are hostels as well).
The capital's beaches range from calm inlets, ideal for swimming, sailing, diving and underwater fishing, as well as open sea inlets with strong waves, sought by surfers. There are also beaches surrounded by reefs, forming natural pools of stone, ideal for children.
Interesting places to visit near Salvador include:
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, in 2007, Porto da Barra Beach was the 3rd best in the world.
The large island of Itaparica in the Bay of All Saints can be visited either by a car-ferry, or a smaller foot-passenger ferry, which leaves from near the Mercado Modelo near the Lacerda Elevator.
BA-099 Highway, or "Line of Coconut" and "Green Line" of towns and cities, with exquisite beaches, north of Salvador heading towards Sergipe state.
Morro de São Paulo in the Valença region across the Bay of All Saints – an island that can be reached by ferry from Salvador (2 hours), by plane, or by bus to Valença and then by 'Rapido' ('fast') speedboat or smaller ferry. Morro de São Paulo is formed by five villages of the Tinharé Island.
The city is served by many shopping malls: Shopping Iguatemi, Salvador Shopping, Shopping Barra, and Shopping Paralela.
Salvador has four parks, green areas protected, as Jardim dos Namorados Park, Costa Azul Park, Park of the City, Park of Pituaçu.
Jardim dos Namorados is located right next to Costa Azul Park and occupies an area of 15 hectares in Pituba, where many families used to spend their vacations in the 1950s. It was inaugurated in 1969, initially as a leisure area. It underwent a complete renovation in the 1990s, with the construction of an amphitheater with room for 500 people, sports courts, playgrounds and parking for cars and tourist buses.
Park of the City is an important preservation area of the Atlantic forest. It was completely renovated in 2001, becoming a modern social, cultural and leisure place. The new park has 720 square meter of green area right in the middle of the city. Among the attractions are Praça das Flores (Flowers square), with more than five thousand ornamental plants and flowers. Besides its environment, the park has an infrastructure for children, with a special schedule of events taking place every October.
Created by state decree in 1973, Pituaçu Park occupies an area of 450 hectares and is one of the few Brazilian ecological parks located in an urban area. It is surrounded by Atlantic forest, with a good variety of plants and animals. There is also an artificial pond in the park, built in 1906 along with the Pituaçu Dam, whose purpose was to supply water to the city. There are a number of possible leisure activities, ranging from cycloboats rides on the pond, to an 38 km (24 mi) long cycloway circling the entire reserve. Completing this infrastructure there are several options for children to play, snack bars, ice cream parlors and restrooms. A museum is also located in the park. Espaço Cravo is an outdoor museum with 800 pieces created by Mario Cravo, comprising Totems, winged and three-dimensional figures, as well as drawings and paintings.
The Historic Centre of Salvador was designated in 1985 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city represents a fine example the Portuguese urbanism from the middle of the 16th century with its higher administrative town and its lower commercial town, and a large portion of the city has retained the old character of its streets and colourful houses.
As the first capital of Portuguese America, Salvador cultivated slave labor and had its "pelourinhos" pillories installed in open places like the terreiro de Jesus and the squares know today as Thomé de Souza and Castro Alves. The "pelourinho" was a symbol of authority and justice, for some, and lashings and injustice for the majority.The one erected for a short time in what is now the Historical Center, and later moved to what is now the Praça da Piedade (Square of Piety), ended up lending its name to the historical and architectural complex of Pelourinho, part of the city's historical center.
Since 1992, the Pelourinho neighborhood has been subject to a nearly US$ 100 million "restoration" that has led to the rebuilding of hundreds of buildings' facades and the expulsion of the vast majority of the neighborhood's Afro-descendent population. This process has given rise to substantial political debate in the State of Bahia, since the Pelourinho's former residents have been for the most part excluded from the renovation's economic benefits (reaped by a few). A major restoration effort resulted in making the area a highly desirable tourist attraction.
Salvador's considerable wealth and status during colonial times (as capital of the colony during 250 years and which gave rise to the Pelourinho) is reflected in the magnificence of its colonial palaces, churches and convents, most of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. These include:
Cathedral of Salvador: Former Jesuit church of the city, built in the second half of the 17th century. Fine example of Mannerist architecture and decoration.
Convent and Church of São Francisco: Franciscan convent and church dating from the first half of the 18th century is another fine example of the Portuguese colonial architecture. The Baroque decoration of the church is among the finest in Brazil.
Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim: Rococo church with Neoclassical inner decoration. The image of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is the most venerated in the city, and the Feast of Our Lord of Good Ending (Festa de Nosso Senhor do Bonfim) in January is the most important in the city after Carnival.
Mercado Modelo (Model Market): In 1861, at the Cayrú Square, the Customs Building was constructed, with a rotunda (large circular room with a domed ceiling) at the back end, where ships anchored to unload their merchandise.
Elevador Lacerda (Lacerda Elevator): Inaugurated in 1873, this elevator was planned and built by the businessman Antônio Francisco de Lacerda, The four elevator cages connect the 72 metres (236 ft) between the Thomé de Souza Square in the upper city, and the Cayru Square in the lower city. In each run, which lasts for 22 seconds, the elevator transports 128 persons, 24 hours a day.
Salvador's historical and cultural aspects were inherited by the intermarriage of such ethnic groups as Native-Indian, African, European and Jewish. This mixture can be seen in the religion, golden cuisine, cultural manifestations, and custom of Bahia's people.
The local cuisine, spicy and based on seafood (shrimp, fish), strongly relies on typically African ingredients and techniques, and is much appreciated throughout Brazil and internationally. The most typical ingredient is azeite-de-dendê, an oil extracted from a palm tree (Elaeis guineensis) brought from West Africa to Brazil during colonial times.
Using the milky coconut juice, they prepared a variety of seafood based dishes, such as Ensopados, Moquecas and Escabeche. The sugar cane bagasse was mixed with molasses and Rapadura, in the creation of coconut desserts like Cocada Branca and Preta. The remaining of the Portuguese Stew sauce was mixed with manioc flour to make a mush, which is a traditional Indian dish. In the markets of Salvador, it is possible to find stands selling typical dishes of the colonial era. In the Sete Portas Market, customers eat Mocotó on Friday nights since the 1940s, when the market was inaugurated. In the restaurants of Mercado Modelo (Model Market), Sarapatel, stews and several fried dishes are served regularly. In the São Joaquim, Santa Bárbara and São Miguel markets, there are stands selling typical food. They are also sold at stands located on the beaches, specially crab stews and oysters. The restaurants that sell typical dishes are located mostly along the coast and in Pelourinho. They prepare a wide variety of recipes that take palm tree oil.
Traditional dishes include caruru, vatapá, acarajé, bobó-de-camarão, moqueca baiana, and abará. Some of these dishes, like the acarajé and abará, are also used as offerings in Candomblé rituals. An acarajé is basically a deep-fried "bread" made from mashed beans from which the skins have been removed (reputedly feijão fradinho "black-eyed peas" but in reality almost always the less expensive brown beans so ubiquitous in Bahia). But Salvador is not only typical food. Other recipes created by the slaves were the Haussá Rice (rice and jerked beef cooked together), the Munguzá, used as offering to the Candomblé deity Oxalá (who is the father of all deities, according to the religion) pleased the matrons very much. So did the Bolinhos the Fubá, the Cuscuz (cornmeal) and the Mingau (porridge). According to Arany Santana, the African Ipetê (used in the rituals to the deity Oxum) became the Shrimp bobó, and the Akará (honoring the deities Xangô and Iansã) became the world-famous Acarajé. Who comes here also has a large number of restaurants specialized on international cuisine. There are also places that serve dishes from other states of Brazil, especially from Minas Gerais and the Northeast region.
Capoeira is a unique mix of dance and martial art of Afro-Brazilian origin, combining agile dance moves with unarmed combat techniques. Capoeira in Portuguese literally means "chicken coop." The presence of capoeira in Brazil is directly connected to the importation of African slaves by the Portuguese, and Salvador is considered the centre of origin of the modern capoeira branches.In the first half of the 20th century, Salvador-born masters Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha founded capoeira schools and helped standartise and popularise the art in Brazil and the world. The practice of Capoeira was banned in 1892, though in 1937 it was made legal.In recent years, Capoeira has become more international and accessible even in Salvador.
The artistic, cultural and social heritage of Salvador is preserved in museums. From Museu de Arte da Bahia (MAB), which is the oldest in the State, to Museu Náutico, the newest, the first capital of Brazil displays unique pieces of history.
Even so, the importance of Salvador's museums has drawn the interest of experts from Brazil and abroad. There we can find valuable pieces of religious art, ornamental items from the old manors and also objects that belonged to the old families and public figures of the state. The Arte Sacra and Abelardo Rodrigues museums are must see programs. They both have the biggest sacra art collection in the country. Another obligatory tour is to Museu de Arte da Bahia.
Museu de Arte da Bahia has paintings, Chinese porcelain, furniture and sacra images from the 17th and 18th centuries. Museu Costa Pinto has private, owned items such as, pieces of art, crystal objects, furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, tapestry, sacra pieces and Chinese porcelain. The golden jewelry and the 27 ornamental silver buckles are the most precious in the entire collection.
Another important museum is Museu da Cidade, where many items that help to preserve the heritage of old Salvador are kept.
Some churches and monasteries also have museums located in their premises. Examples of this are the Carmo da Misericórdia and São Bento Museums. After the renovation of the Forts, were created Museu Náutico, in Forte de Santo Antonio da Barra (Farol da Barra) and Museu da Comunicação, in Forte São Diogo. Other important museums that are scattered through Salvador are: Museu do Cacau, Museu geológico do Estado, Museu tempostal, Solar do Ferrão, Museu de Arte Antiga e Popular Henriqueta M Catharino, Museu Eugênio Teixeira Leal, Museu Rodin Bahia and Museu das Portas do Carmo.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the carnival or Carnaval of Salvador da Bahia is the biggest party on the planet. For an entire week, almost 4 million people celebrate throughout 25 kilometers (16 mi) of streets, avenues and squares. The direct organization of the party involves the participation of 100 thousand people.Its dimensions are gigantic. Salvador receives an average of 800 thousand visitors.
The cover was done by 4,446 professionals in local press, national, and international. The carnival was broadcast to 135 countries through 65 radio stations, 75 magazines, 139 producers of video, 97 newspapers (21 international), 14 tv stations, and 168 websites.
Rei Momo: The King of Carnival, Momo, is handed the keys to the city in the morning, on the Thursday before Fat Tuesday, and the party officially begins. Camarotes: These grandstands line the street in the neighborhood of Campo Grande. Watch the show from here without being trampled by the crowd. Trios Eléctricos: Outfitted with deafening sound systems, these 60-foot-long trucks carry a kick line of gyrating, scantily clad dancers along with the city's best-loved performers, among them Ivete Sangalo, Daniela Mercury, Cláudia Leitte, Chiclete com Banana, Carlinhos Brown, and others.
The music played during Carnaval includes Axé and Samba-reggae. Many "blocos" participate in Carnaval, the "blocos afros" like Malé Debalé, Olodum and Filhos de Gandhi being the most famous of them. Carnival is heavily policed. Stands with five or six seated police officers are erected everywhere and the streets are constantly patrolled by police groups moving in single file.
The Osmar Circuit: goes from Campo Grande to Castro Alves square, The Downtown Circuit, in Downtown and Pelourinho, and The Dodô Circuit; goes from Farol da Barra to Ondina, along the coast. The Osmar circuit is the oldest circuit. It is also where the event's most traditional groups parades. In Dodô, where the artist box seats are located, the party becomes lively toward the end of the afternoon and it continues until morning.
The three Carnival Circuits are:
The Campo Grande - Praça Castro Alves Circuit, also called the "Osmar" Circuit, or simply the "Avenidas" ("Avenues");
The Barra - Ondina Circuit, also called the "Dodô" Circuit;
The Pelourinho Circuit, also called the "Batatinha" ("Little potato") Circuit.
Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport is located in an area of more than 10 million square meters between sand dunes and native vegetation(The Biggest of North/Northeast). The airport lies 40 km (25 mi) north of Downtown Salvador and the road to the airport has already become one of the city's main scenic attractions. In 2011, the airport handled 6,948,020 passengers and 114,946 aircraft movements,placing it 7th busiest airport in Brazil in terms of passengers. The airport's use has been growing at an average of 14% a year and now is responsible for more than 30% of passenger movement in Northeastern Brazil.
With cargo volume that grows year after year following the same economic development rhythm implemented in the State, the Port of Salvador, located in the Bahia de Todos os Santos, holds status as the port with the highest movement of containers of the North/Northeast and the second-leading fruit exporter in Brazil. The port's facilities operate from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
The ability to handle high shipping volume has positioned the port of Salvador for new investments in technological modernization, and the port is noted for implementing a high level of operational flexibility and competitive rates. The goal of port officials is to offer the necessary infrastructure for the movement of goods, while simultaneously meeting the needs of international importers and exporters.
Salvador Metro System is under construction, and its 1st phase will be ready in March 2008, between Lapa and Acceso Norte Stations, and in 2009 will be ready the stations between Acceso Norte and Pirajá. In 2009 it will have 12.5 km (7.8 mi) and 8 stations and will have link with the bus system.
The main shareholders in Metro Salvador are the Spanish companies Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, Dimetronic, and ICF. It is expected that Metro Salvador will invest US$ 150 million in rolling stock and signalling and telecommunications equipment. The contract covers the first 11.9 km (7.4 mi) line from Pirajá to Lapa, which is due to open in 2003. The project is also financed by a US$ 150 million World Bank loan and contributions from the federal, Bahia state, and Salvador city governments.
Salvador Metro system is one of the actions of urban mobility that will be deployed until the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The connection of Line 2 with Line 1 of Salvador Metro contributes to connect the International Airport to Downtown Salvador and the Fonte Nova Stadium. The new Line 2 of Salvador Metro integrates the metro stations of the Rótula do Abacaxi and the beach city of Lauro de Freitas in the metropolitan area, passing through the Salvador International Airport, with the Airport metro station.
The BR-101 and BR-116 federal highways cross Bahia from north to south, connecting Salvador to the rest of the country. At the Feira de Santana junction, take the BR-324 state highway. The capital of Bahia is served by several coach companies from almost every Brazilian state. BR-242, starting at São Roque do Paraguaçu (transversal direction), is linked to BR-116, bound to the middle–west region. Among the state highways stands BA-099, which makes connection to the north coast and BA-001, which makes connection to the south of Bahia. Buses provide direct service to most major Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Brasília, as well as regional destinations. In 2007, the city had 586,951 vehicles, the largest number of the Northern and Northeastern Brazil.
Four paved highways connect the city to the national highway system. Running north from the Farol (lighthouse) de Itapoã are hundreds of miles of wonderful beaches. These beaches are accessible via the BA-099 Highway or (Line of Coconut and Green Line), a (toll) road, kept in excellent condition, running parallel to the coast, with access roads leading off to the coast itself. The road runs along dunes of snow-white sand, and the coast itself is an almost unbroken line of coconut palms. The communities along this coast range from fishing villages to Praia do Forte.
Although the creation of Salvador was masterminded by the Kingdom of Portugal and its project conducted by the Portuguese engineer Luís Dias (who was responsible for the city's original design), the continuous growth of the capital through the decades was completely spontaneous. The walls of the city-fortress could not hold the expansion of the city, towards the Carmo and the area where now stands Castro Alves Square. At the time of its foundation, Salvador had only two squares and the first neighborhood ever built here was the Historic City Center. Pelourinho and Carmo came subsequently, created as a consequence of the growing need of space that the religious orders had. With the rapid expansion, the neighborhoods grew and many of them were clustered in the same area, so today there are not accurate records as to their exact number. For urban management purposes, the city is currently divided on 17 political-administrative zones. However, due to their very cultural relevance and to postal conveniences, the importance of the neighborhoods of Salvador remains intact.
Salvador is divided into a number of distinct neighborhoods, with the most well known districts being Pelourinho, the Historic Centre, Comércio, and Old Downtown, all located in West Zone. Barra, with its Farol da Barra, beaches and which is where one of the Carnival circuits begins, Barra is home of the Portuguese Hospital and Spanish Hospital, the neighborhood is located in South Zone. Vitória, a neighborhood with many high rise buildings, is located in South Zone. Campo Grande, with its Dois de Julho Square and the monument to Bahia's independence, is also located in South Zone, as is Graça, an important residential area. Ondina, with Salvador's Zoobotanical Garden and the site where the Barra-Ondina Carnival circuit ends, the neighborhood is home of the Spanish Club, is also a neighborhood in the South Zone.
Itaigara, Pituba, Horto Florestal, Caminho das Árvores, Loteamento Aquárius, Brotas, Stiep, Costa Azul, Armação, Jaguaribe and Stella Maris are the wealthiest and the New Downtown neighborhoods in the East Zone and the city. Rio Vermelho, a neighborhood with a rich architectural history and numerous restaurants and bars, is located in the South Zone. Itapoã, known throughout Brazil as the home of Vinicius de Moraes and for being the setting of the song "Tarde em Itapoã", is located in East Zone.
The Northwest area of the city in along the Bay of All Saints, also known as Cidade Baixa ("Lower city"), contains the impoverished suburban neighborhoods of Periperi, Paripe, Lobato, Liberdade, Nova Esperança, and Calçada. The neighborhood of Liberdade (Liberty) has the largest proportion of Afro-Brazilians of Salvador and Brazil.
Salvador provides visitors and residents with various sport activities. The Fonte Nova Stadium, also known as Estádio Octávio Mangabeira is a football stadium inaugurated on 28 January 1951 in Salvador, Bahia, with a maximum capacity of 66,080 people. The stadium is owned by the Bahia government, and is the home ground of Esporte Clube Bahia. Its formal name honors Octávio Cavalcanti Mangabeira, a civil engineer, journalist, and former Bahia state governor from 1947 to 1954. The stadium is nicknamed Fonte Nova, because it is located at Ladeira das Fontes das Pedras. The stadium was in 2007 closed due to an accident, and the E.C. Bahia home matches now happen in another stadium, in Pituaçu.
Esporte Clube Bahia and Esporte Clube Vitória are Salvador's main football teams. Bahia has won 2 national titles, Brazil Trophy in 1959 and the Brazilian League in 1988, while Vitória was a runner up in the Brazilian league in 1993 and Brazil Cup in 2010.
Salvador has two large green areas for the practice of golf. Cajazeiras Golf and Country Club has a 18-hole course, instructors, caddies and equipment for rent. Itapuã Golf club, located in the area of the Sofitel Hotel, has a 9-hole course, equipment store, caddies and clubs for rent. Tennis is very popular among Salvador's elites, with a great number of players and tournaments in the city's private clubs. Brasil Open, the country's most important tournament happens every year in Bahia.
During the last decades, volleyball has grown steadily in Salvador, especially after the gold medal won by Brazil in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The most important tournaments in Bahia are the State Championship, the State League tournament and the Primavera Games, and the main teams are Associação Atlética da Bahia, Bahiano de Tênis, and Clube the Regatas Itapagipe. There are also beach volleyball events. Salvador has housed many international tournaments. Federação Bahina de Voleibol (the state league) can inform the schedule of tournaments. Bowling is practiced both by teenagers and adults in Salvador. Boliche do Aeroclube and Space Bowling are equipped with automatic lanes as well as a complete bar infrastructure.
Bahia's basketball league exists since 1993 and has 57 teams. The sport is very popular in the city of Salvador, especially among students.There are several courts scattered across the city, where is possible to play for free, like the one located at Bahia Sol square, where people play. There are also several gymnasiums, in clubs like Bahiano de Tênis and Associação Atlética and the Antonio Balbino Gymnasiums (popularly known as "Balbininho"), which is an arena that can hold up to 7,000 people.
Todos os Santos Bay and Salvador's climatic conditions are ideal for competition and recreational sailing. The city is equipped with good infrastructure for practice of sailing, such as rental and sale of dock space, boat maintenance, restaurants, snack bar, convenience stores, nautical products stores, boat rental agencies, VHF and SSB communication systems, events, and total assistance to crews. The large number of sailing events organized by clubs and syndicates, like oceanic races and typical boats (wooden fishing boats and canoes) races, demonstrates the sport's growing force. Currently, Salvador has a national racing schedule with dozens of events, also receiving the Mini Transat 6.50 and Les Illes du Soleil races.
Rowing boat races started in the city more than a hundred years ago.It was originally practiced by young men from traditional families, who spent their summer vacations there. The sport is a leisure option in Cidade Baixa (the lower part of the city). Esporte Clube Vitória and Clube São Salvador were the pioneers in the sport. Nowadays, these two entities and also Clube de Regatas Itapagipe lead the competitions that take place in the city. With the recent renovation of the Dique do Tororó area, Salvador received new lanes for the practice of the sport.
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