Salvador da Bahia, a Treasure of Architecture
If Atlanta is the capital of the new American south, Salvador da Bahia will be the new capital of a revitalized northeastern Brazil. The capital of Bahia will experience facelift after facelift in the coming decade. But let’s hope some of the city’s spectacular architecture is preserved. Portuguese colonial architecture in the city’s old center, or pelourinho, complements a vibe that is more African than Latin; Mannerist architecture graces old cathedrals; neoclassical design soars above this city of almost 4 million people; and even mid-century structures, faded yet tattered, remind us why we love Brazil at so many levels. It has been over a year since our trip to Salvador for Carnaval, but the city’s lusty, musty, and yes, often rusty infrastructure still pulls at my heart strings. It may be the capital of a new Brazil, but I hope it still remains the country’s spiritual heart.