Salvador da Bahia




Salvador da Bahia

Site Information

Country: Brazil
State: Bahia
Location: 12° 58' 27" S - 38° 30' 32" W
Field Documentation Date(s): July 26th, 2004
Project Release Date(s): September 15th, 2006
Time Range: 1538 CE - Present
Era: Portuguese Colonial Era
Culture: Portuguese, Amerindian, African
Site Authority: None
Heritage Listing: UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Elevation of the Church of São Francisco, drawn from laser scan data

Site Description

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Salvador da Bahia is located along the Bay of Todos os Santos in Brazil and was built upon a crest line parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, making it easy to defend against attack. It is an example of Renaissance urban planning principles adapted for colonial sites; Lisbon was the principal example of Portuguese colonial cities from which others were derived. As a result, the city was built on two levels: the upper level with residential and administrative buildings placed on hills that overlook the forts, docks, and warehouses on the beaches of the lower level.
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History

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Pelourinho is the historic core of Salvador da Bahia. Its cobblestone streets are lined with the largest accumulation of colonial architecture from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Americas. In fact, Pelourinho has been dubbed the "city within a city" for its historic character and distinctiveness.

Salvador was the first capital of Brazil when the Portuguese seat of royal administration was placed there in 1549 CE. In 1558, the site became the first slave market in the New World with the intent of providing labor for new sugar plantations. The actual pelourinho, which means "whipping post" or "pillory" in Portuguese, no longer stands as it was finally removed in 1835 when slavery was outlawed; nevertheless the site has retained the name. After slavery's abolition the area slowly grew into a home for artists and musicians, many of whom still largely occupy the area today and have nicknamed it "Pelo." Salvador has been encroached upon by large-scale urban development since the advent of industrialization, but the Pelourinho has been able to retain its many 17th and 18th century colonial buildings and cathedrals and 16th century palaces. One example is the Anchieta Plaza with its Cross of São Francisco in the center, and the Church de São Francisco, a high-baroque church, at the end of the plaza. Pelourinho is a unique location where European, Amerindian, and African cultures have converged and blended as a result of Africans and Brazilians reclaiming their identities in this old city center of Salvador.
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Perspective of Anchieta Plaza, Pelourinho, including topographic data, created from laser scan data

Project Narrative

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In July 2004, a joint venture between the Federal University of Bahia, the University of Ferrara, and Leica Geosystems occurred in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The project used Total Station survey and HDS to document the Church de São Francisco and the Anchieta Plaza in the old town center of Pelourinho, in order to create a data set that would be used for site management and restoration. The project was funded by Leica Geosystems and the Kacyra Family Foundation.
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3D point cloud of the Church of São Francisco in Anchieta Plaza, Pelourinho

Preservation

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Although Pelourinho is a thriving neighborhood, the historic center is facing problems of traffic, pollution, overpopulation, crime, and the impact of tourism. The neighborhood is surrounded by explosive urban development, and lacks a cohesive site authority which has limited public awareness of these preservation issues. Pelourinho is on the national historic register and was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985.
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Area Descriptions

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Pelourinho
Anchieta Plaza
Cross of São Francisco
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3
Building 3
Church of São Francisco
Bell Tower

Pelourinho

Pelourinho Description:

The Pelourhino, meaning “pillory” in Portuguese, is the historic downtown of Salvador da Bahia famous for its colonial houses, cathedrals and palaces. Originally the location of the slave market it now houses artists and musicians and has a unique convergence of European, Amerindian, and African cultures.


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Anchieta Plaza

Anchieta Plaza Description:

The Anchieta Plaza, or Praca Anchieta, is the cobblestone plaza that connects the Church of São Francisco with the main court, Terreiro de Jesus.


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Cross of São Francisco

Cross of São Francisco Description:

A large stone cross sitting in the center of Anchieta Plaza. Built in the 18th century, it is dedicated to São Francisco de Xavier, the patron saint of Salvador.


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Block 1

Block 1 Description:

The street blocks filled with shops and restaurants that line the Anchieta Plaza are home to colonial houses, cathedrals and palaces.


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Block 2

Block 2 Description:

The street blocks filled with shops and restaurants that line the Anchieta Plaza are home to colonial houses, cathedrals and palaces.


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Block 3

Block 3 Description:

The street blocks filled with shops and restaurants that line the Anchieta Plaza are home to colonial houses, cathedrals and palaces.


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Building 3

Building 3 Description:

Located on Block 3 and showcasing the exquisite architecture that has survived within the Pelourinho.


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Church of São Francisco

Church of São Francisco Description:

Also known as Igreja de São Francisco, the Church of São Francisco is a high-baroque church at the end of Anchieta Plaza, near the large stone Cross of São Francisco. Built in the early 18th century using the economic resources of new sugar plantations, it is famous for its extravagant interior which is laced in over 100kg of gold leafing.

The Church is connected with the Convent of São Francisco as well as a cloister. The walls of the convent and cloister are covered with cherubs and angels depicting West African (primarily Yoruban) iconographic features. Slave artisans painted and carved these figures onto Portuguese azulejo panels of blue-white tiles, with remnants of their original religion adapted to Christianity.


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Bell Tower

Bell Tower Description:

One of the Church of São Francisco's two bell towers.


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References:

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  1. "Heritage Sites: Salvador de Bahia Historic City, Brazil." Global Heritage Fund. 20 January 2006 <http://www.globalheritagefund.org/sites/americas/index.html>.
  2. "Pelourinho." Frommer's Travel Guides. 20 January 2006 <http://www.frommers.com/destinations/salvador/2853027623.html>.
  3. "Pelourinho." Pelourinho: The Complete Salvador-Bahia Online Guide! 20 January 2006 <http://www.bahia-online.net/Pelourinho.htm>.
  4. Hamre, B. "Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil: A City Within a City." About.com. 20 January 2006 <http://gosouthamerica.about.com/cs/southamerica/a/BraPelourinho.htm>.
  5. ICOMOS. "World Heritage List, No 309." Advisory Body Evaluation. 28 December 1983. UNESCO World Heritage Center. 20 January 2006 <http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/309.pdf>.

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Credits:

more     - Mike Williams
     - Daniel Chudak
            Conference Chair

     - Claudio Alessandri
     - Marcello Balzani
            Architecture Faculty NubLab

     - Priscilla Paolini
     - Licon Soares
     - Lucia Soares
     - Arivaldo Amorim
     - Marinella Paolini
     - Flaviano Celaschi
     - Andrea Zoilo
     - Sari Klaus
     - Flaviano Oliveira Leite
CyArk
     - John Mink
            Lead Researcher