Destination Salvador, capital of the state of Bahia.
A first exploration of Pelourinho by night…
Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos
It was already five-thirty, when everyone had finished their personal preparations. Finally!. As one could predict, the men waited impatiently upon the arrival of the ladies, who seemed to require hours for their bath and make-up. And we had made the appointment, to arrive in Pelourinho at six… Because a mass was about to start at six, in the church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black Community. This church was constructed by slaves and freed blacks in the nightly hours. A number of slaves is buried in the foundations of the church. The construction started in 1704, and was finished almost one century later. The sky blue facade in Rococo style, in the heart of the Pelourinho district, is hard to miss, and is one of the major attractions of the district. According to the tradition, black priests lead the mass in this church, where the religions of candomblé and catholicism have been merged to a unique catholic mass.
Elevador de Lacerda
We took the bus to the base of the Lacerda Elevator. The elevator carried us about 70 meters higher to Pelourinho. The elevator itself is impressive, and is a landmark of Salvador. It was entrepreneur Antônio Lacerda, who already had introduced a number of city transport systems, who took the initiative for the construction of the elevator. Through the years, the elevator had undergone a number of revisions. At presents four elevators carry passengers 72 meters higher, in only thirty seconds. Almost thirty thousand passengers enter the elevator daily. The elevators have the capacity of twenty-five passengers. When we took the elevator, we did not need to pay for it; normally, a small fee is requested. .
The elevator building provides excellent opportunities for wonderful photographs. The off-white construction forms a sharp contrast with the constructions on the slope. At night, the building is illuminated modestly, but good enough for more interesting photographs. Lisbon also has an elevator in its center: Elevador de Santa Justa, which transports passengers from the upper city to the lower city. This 45 meter high elevator is constructed by Mesnier du Ponsard, who is unjustly considered as a follower of the famous architect Gustave Eiffel.
Palácio Rio Branco
The Lacerda Elevator building is a prominent building at Praça Municipal (Municipal Square). However, the most interesting building at this square is Palácio Rio Branco, which is brightly illuminated at night. This palace was constructed in 1549, and originally consisted of clay and loam. It was meant as a residence for the governor of Brazil and his administrative unit. Later, this palace was used as barracks and prison. Through the centuries, the palace had undergone various reforms and had different functions. Recently, the palace was restored completely and now serves as a seat for various cultural organizations. The palace is obvious with a dome and two wings that each contain a spread-winged eagle on the roof.
Praça da Sé
We continued our walk through Praça da Sé, another square. There was a theater on the left, and some bars and restaurants on the right. One of these bars still had the decorations of World Cup 2006, with a giant poster of my namesake: Adriano. Further left, there was a pond, where fountains sprayed water in various colors, thanks to colored lamps. Yellow, green, blue, purple, red… One of us, studying theater sciences, did not resist to act as a conductor of this water orchestra. His foolishly looking arm movements made us laugh, and made a number of tourists and locals look up and wonder what this clown was doing….
Terreiro de Jesus
From, Praça da Sé, we only had to round the corner to enter the enormous Terreiro de Jesus, which is also called XV de Novembro. A large number of interesting historical buildings flank this impressive square…
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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