The European influence
Bahia still keeps many characteristics of the Portuguese colonization and influence in the cultural, political and administrative aspects and in the Baroque architecture of the mansions and public buildings of the Historical Center, besides tens of Catholic churches, from the 16th century to the 19th century.
Since the arrival of Tomé de Souza at the former village of Pereira (where Porto da Barra and Ladeira da Barra are located today), region of the first donatory of Bahia’s captaincy, Francisco Pereira Coutinho, Bahia’s capital grew in accordance with the patterns and orientation of the king of Portugal, Dom João III. The first buildings were built in the upper part of the city for protection. In the mansions and public buildings, the Portuguese left their architectural marks in Baroque style in several constructions of Salvador’s Historical Center, listed by Unesco as Mankind’s Heritage, in 1985.
Even with all the European influence in Salvador’s buildings, the Indigenous people and the Africans also contributed with some techniques, considered rudimentary when compared to the Portuguese architecture, which were used in public buildings like Salvador’s Municipal Chamber. Despite of these other techniques, the Portuguese influence was always more evident.
Salvador and other cities in Bahia keep their Portuguese characteristics, but were also strongly influenced by the Indigenous people and Africans. Most of the cuisine, the artistic, cultural and religious manifestations are of indigenous and African origin. The blending of cultures, which generated the Brazilian identity, incorporated new elements influenced by cultural and artistic characteristics of the indigenous people and the African slaves. Even the Portuguese language suffered innumerous alterations with the addition of these elements.
In this cultural mosaic, besides the architecture, some examples of the European influence are the rites and rituals of the Catholic Church, folkloric aspects, as well as songs and dances, and the cuisine with the dishes prepared with cod and, especially, the sweets.