Overlooking the east coast of Brazil, Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, is a destination that should be on everyone’s travel must-visit list. 

At first glance, it’s a beautiful place to visit: One of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas, its Pelourinho district is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and its Carnival celebration is one of the largest parties in the world. The old town is filled with brightly colored houses. It is home to Sao Francisco Church and Convent (a spectacular, gold and silver adorned church with painted ceilings that rival the Sistine Chapel). It has a naturally gorgeous landscape with hundred-foot-high waterfalls, enormous cacti, and some of the best beaches in the world

But more notably, however, Salvador de Bahia is known as a center of Afro-Brazilian culture.


Due to its ideal location, beginning in 1558, Salvador became one of the first slave ports in the Americas and a major center for the African slave trade. And all these years later, we can see the African influence of the slaves’ descendants’ lives has on today’s culture.

From food – mostly seafood and spicy, relying heavily on typically African ingredients and techniques….

To dance – like the Capoeira, a marital art-infused dance created during the 16th century by enslaved people who were taken from West Africa…

…the traditions and customs of their ancestors live on in the people of a growing Afro-Brazilian culture. In fact, Salvador has one of the largest populations of African descent outside of Africa; around 56% of Brazilians identify as Black. 


For a deeper dive into the history of Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian roots, check out this remarkable first-hand account by Saki Knafo. 


And check out this video below for a virtual visit to experience the sights and sounds of this beautiful, warm, and friendly culture.