Salvador Blues

Salvador Blues

In Salvador, Brazil.

One of the things that strikes you as you walk through the Old Town Salvador is the number of churches and cathedrals that dominate the neighborhoods. And most of them have very ornate facades, with interesting colors and architectural detail. But, like much of Brazil’s cultural reality, the unique beauty of the churches are tinged just enough with a bit of decay and neglect to undermine its full potential to inspire and delight.

And also with the history of the enslaved.

According to, the church began construction in 1704 and took about a century to complete. Not so unusual as 18th-century cathedral-building projects go. BUT, it was built mostly at night by enslaved Blacks who were not allowed to attend the other churches. So they built their own. Thus the name: Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks.

Even the heritage of the area gives one mixed emotions: it’s called Pelourinho and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it gets its name from the pillory/whipping post in the main square where enslaved people were publicly abused.


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