Brazil travel guide



Salvador Travel Guide

Largo do Pelourinho

Largo do Pelourinho, a fairly small triangular plaza, is among the oldest parts of town. You can guess from its name meaning "plaza of the pillory" what went on around here.

A Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos (The Church Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks) is located in and dominates the Largo do Pelourinho. The church was built over a period of a hundred years or so beginning in 1704, by the enslaved members of O Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Homens Pretos do Pelourinho (The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black Men of Pelourinho) for their own use (they weren't allowed inside the other churches, you see). One probably would be hard-pressed to find many other churches with statues of black saints so prominently and forthrightly displayed. Work on the church was always done at night so that the slaves' normal daytime work would carry on uninterrupted.

The Tuesday evening Mass (6 p.m.) is accompanied by (in part) African drumming and Yoruban liturgy.

Another attraction at Largo do Pelourinho is "Casa de Jorge Amado", brazil's most beloved writer, Jorge Amado was long on the short list of the Nobel committee, until he died in 2001 at the age of 93. One of his most popular novels, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, was set in Pelourinho. The book-cover collage in the ground-floor cafe of the Casa shows the wide range of languages into which his dozens of works have been translated. The text-heavy exhibits on the upper floors tell the story of Amado's life. Signage is in Portuguese only, which is unfortunate because it's a heck of story. First published at 18, in the '30s Amado was labeled a communist, arrested, and tossed in jail for a short spell. Released from prison in 1936, Amado published a new novel, which was seized by authorities and burned in the streets of Salvador. In 1945 Amado was elected as a federal deputy, only to see his Communist Party of Brazil outlawed and he himself forced into exile in Prague. Only in 1958, with the publication of Gabriela, did Amado achieve national and international acclaim for his writing. He seemed to have found a new style and voice, setting his stories in Bahia, painting a colorful picture of the daily lives of whores, political strongmen, gamblers, crooks, and politicians. Gabriela, Tieta, and Dona Flor have all been made into movies starring the luscious Sonia Braga.

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