Bahia as it is often called, is the center of the Afro-Brazilian culture and is one of the most intriguing and colorful cities in Brazil. Founded in 1549 by Portuguese noblemen and soldiers of fortune, Bahia soon become home thousands of African slaves imported to work the numerous mines, and sugar and coffee plantations. The original city was built high upon the hills above Bahia de Todos os Santos All Saints Bay.
As the city grew, it spread from the hills above to the lower areas along the coast. Today the city is still divided between the upper city which reflects the early colonial influence with its numerous baroque churches, narrow winding cobblestone streets and colorful architecture and the lower city which has become a modern city.
Bahia is a city of tradition and culture. Many of the women still wear the traditional 17th and 18th century white dresses and the markets are filled with folk-art, much of which still reflects the superstitions and cultures brought from Africa by the slaves. This confluence of African rituals with many of the tenets of Catholicism has helped to create a unique and fascinating culture only found in Brazil !