Friday, June 5, 2009

Bahia!

Salvador is one of the most fascinating places that I visited during our trip to Brazil. Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador and is located at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints. There is a lot of fascinating age and history to this city. Until slavery ended officially in 1888, it's estimated that more than 4 million slaves were brought to Brazil from Africa, and the port of Salvador was the major center of the slave trade. Because of the history, many people of African decent still live in Salvador and there is a lot of African influence in this city. The oldest part of town is called "Pelourinho." The city is quaint, lively and colorful with pastel colored houses lining the narrow cobble-stoned streets and wide open squares.The people of Salvador are also colorful and lively. While walking up and down the streets I spotted African Brazilian women wearing bright dresses with belled skirts and colorful head scarves.
Many stands near the bay sell freshly fried acaraje, a native sandwich that's like a huge "hush puppy" stuffed with votapa and shrimp. mmmmmm... stuffed fried goodness. Nothing like Brazilian heartburn!
We visited a really neat church in Salvador, Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. This church plays a very important role in the Candomblé (African) religion and is dedicated to Oxalá, one of the highest deities. The 18th century church is relatively plain but the gates are adorned with thousands and thousands of fitas, or colorful ribbons. The billowing ribbons were absolutely beautiful.
Senhor do Bonfim is unarguably Salvador's most famous church and has a reputation for granting miracles. Hubby and I bought ribbons to tie around our wrists and ankles for good luck. Legend says that you can make three wishes that will come true by the time it falls off. We've been wearing these ribbons for over 3 months and they still haven't broken off, but you have to let it fall off from natural wear and tear. Cutting it off is said to bring bad luck. I wonder when my wish will come true?
There was a small room in the back of the church and at first I was creeped out to see all of the human body casts hanging from the walls and ceilings... but it was called "the Room of Miracles". There were literally hundreds of hanging body parts, models made of wood, plastic, wax, and even gold! People actually make casts of their body parts that need healing. Very cool.

For those of you who plan on visiting the church, here are directions! :)

Nosso Senhor do Bonfim

Largo do Bonfim
Located about 5 miles north of Pelourinho on the Bonfim Peninsula
FREE admission
Phone: 071/3312-0196

0 comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin