African Heritage, Salvador da Bahia
Bahia was the first colonial capital of Brazil and the city is one of the oldest in the New World (founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers). It was also the first slave market on the continent, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations.
Towards the left of the exit of the elevator one can find the monuments dedicated to the slaves that arrived in Bahia and Brazil. Thousands of Africans were brought to the new colonies from West and South West Africa to ensure that prosperity was started in Brazil. A huge statue of an African lady can be found dressed in the traditional outfit.
Salvador has a vibrant, thumping African culture. There are ornate Baroque churches and cobble-stoned streets in the well-restored part of the old town, called Pelourinho. This is the state where capoeira and olodum music live on. Candomble sessions are still held in the outskirts of town.
Meander around to enjoy the loud, throbbing music, inadvertently kitsch colourful souvenirs, the Bahian snacks fried in dende oil and the energetic dancing of the locals. Some local women here wear the traditional white Bahian dresses that look like layers of doily.
Around the centre, there are police at many locations. It is generally safer now to walk around here at night. But avoid those streets that are thoroughly dark.
But if you are catching a late bus and hence, you are heading out of the centre at night, do be careful as the crime-rates here are not low. Best to take a taxi to the Bus Station at night.
Bahia, the state with the largest percentage of Blacks, is the capital of this religion, which closely follows its African roots and traditions among the Yoruba people of Nigeria and the Bantu people of Angola and the Congo. Yoruban traditions, including the most commonly used names of the orishas, predominate... so it is only approriate that there is a Nigerian Cultural Centre.