Brazil

Salvador de Bahia

The Centro Histórico of Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, also known as the Pelourinho or Pelo, is a historic neighborhood in western Salvador, Bahia. It was the city’s center during the Portuguese colonial period and was named for the whipping post in its central plaza where African slaves received punishment for various infractions, as well as for disciplinary purposes. The Historic Center is extremely rich in historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Salvador was the first colonial capital of Brazil and the city is one of the oldest in the New World (founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers). It was also the first slave market on the continent, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations. This area is in the older part of the upper city (Cidade Alta) of Salvador. It encompasses several blocks around the triangular Largo, and it is the location for music, dining and nightlife. In the 1990s, a $100 million restoration effort led by a conservative political coalition tied to then-governor Antonio Carlos Magalhães resulted in the removal of over 4000 mainly Afro-Bahian residents and the conversion of a once-vital neighborhood into a pastel-hued tourist attraction.It has a place on the national historic register and was named a world cultural center by UNESCO in 1985.

Olinda

Olinda is a historic city in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, located on the country’s northeastern Atlantic Ocean coast, in Greater Recife (capital of Pernambuco State). It is noted as one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil.

Olinda features a number of major tourist attractions, such as a historic downtown area (World Heritage Site), churches, and the Carnival of Olinda, a popular street party, very similar to traditional Portuguese carnivals, with the addition of African influenced dances. Unlike in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, in Olinda, admission to Carnival is free. All the festivities are celebrated on the streets, and there are no bleachers or roping. There are hundreds of small musical groups (sometimes featuring a single performer) in many genres.

Ouro Preto

Ouro Preto, formerly Vila Rica, is a city in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, a former colonial mining town located in the Serra do Espinhaço mountains and designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO because of its outstanding Baroque architecture.

Ouro Preto is located in one of the main areas of the Brazilian Gold Rush.

Officially, 800 tons of gold were sent to Portugal in the eighteenth century, not to mention what was circulated in an illegal manner, nor what remained in the colony, such as gold used in the ornamentation of the churches. The municipality became the most populous city of Latin America, counting on about 40 thousand people in 1730 and, decades after, 80 thousand. At that time, the population of New York was less than half of that number of inhabitants and the population of São Paulo did not surpass 8 thousand.

Paraty and Ilha Grande

Located between the Serra da Bocaina mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, this cultural landscape includes the historic centre of Paraty, one of Brazil’s best-preserved coastal towns, as well as four protected natural areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one of the world’s five key biodiversity hotspots. Paraty is home to an impressive diversity of species, some of which are threatened, such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and several primate species, including the woolly spider monkey (Brachyteles arachnoides), which are emblematic of the site. In the late 17thcentury, Paraty was the end-point of the Caminho do Ouro (Gold Route), along which gold was shipped to Europe. Its port also served as an entry point for tools and African slaves, sent to work in the mines. A defence system was built to protect the wealth of the port and the town. The historic centre of Paraty has retained its 18th century plan and much of its colonial architecture dating from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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