The historical district, or Old City, is centred on the famous Pelourinho (small pillory, place where the slaves were punished). Its characteristics are not only its fidelity to the XVIth century map but also the density of its monuments and its homogeneity. It is located in a sloping and picturesque area which glorifies the urban landscape through its incomparably charming views.
Next to some major buildings from the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, like the cathedral, the convents of São Francisco (marvellous Portuguese azulejos), São Domingos, Carmo or Santo Antonio, Pelourinho preserves numerous palaces from the XVIth century and the baroque age. The cobbled streets are characteristic of the colonial city, bordered with houses with bright colours, sometimes with high quality stuccoed decorations, and lined with innumerable sumptuously decorated churches (Salvador has got 365!).
Classified by UNESCO in 1985 as a World Cultural Heritage, the Pelourinho district forms part of a huge cleaning and restoration project initiated in the nineties. The musician Gilberto Gil was born here and it is also where Jorge Amado, the most famous Bahian novelist, had his house. The photograph Pierre Vergé and the painter Carybé, baianos by adoption, also stayed in Pelourinho. The “Pelô”, as it is commonly called, is a very popular and busy district and the centre of the night life in Salvador. It is popular in particular for those looking for improvised parties, rhythmic music, and colourful bars where the atmosphere typical for tropical Brazilian nights is at its top. The weekly blessing of the district (every Tuesday evening) is one of the privileged occasions to organize such parties. During the day, the pedestrian streets of Pelourinho are packed with handicraft shops and arts galleries. This fabulous gathering makes Salvador the hugest colonial city in the Northeast part of Brazil.