Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Umbanda: all religions peacefully coexist in Brasil. Although it has been colonised by the Portuguese, whose main religion is Christianity, the Country received immigrants from all parts of the world, something that helped building a nation under the precept of tolerance of belief. In the country, the biggest example of this is can be found in Bahia.
Bahia's capital, Salvador, is known for preserving both Catholicism and the rituals and beliefs from Africa. Candomble, an Afro-Brazilian religion, is one of the main responsibles for the spread of black culture, so present in Bahia. In its “terreiros”, where there are ceremonial worships and offerings to the Orixás (gods that correspond to the phenomena of nature), not only religiosity, but also music, cuisine and the dances brought by slaves remain almost intact.
Several terraces of Salvador are heritage listed. Among the most famous ones there are the Gantois, from the famous Mãe Menininha, Casa Branca, the city's oldest one, and Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá, of Mãe Stella de Oxóssi. To know them it’s necessary to make an appointment in advance, but it’s possible to visit them on days of celebration and, in the case of Gantois and Ilê Axé Opó Afonjá, there is a museum that can be visited.
There is also a folklore which says that Bahia has 365 churches, one for each day of the year. If you, dear traveller, have enough time, it pays to know some of them and find out the beauties that the Churches keep in a rich collection of history and culture. The Basilica Church of Nossa Conceição da Praia, for example, holds the ruins of the first house of prayer of Salvador and was founded by the first General Governor of Brasil, Thomé de Souza. With a baroque style, it has the only 3D ceiling painting of Latin America, which was produced in the shape of a ship.
The Church of Ordem Terceira de São Francisco, in turn, is one of the most beautiful churches of Salvador, with a baroque facade, built with techniques that convey visual sensations of depth and shadow. The site also maintains the single set of Portuguese tiles representing the city of Lisbon, in Portugal, before the earthquake of 1755. You can also find the "Casa dos Santos", a space that holds images in natural size.
The Basilica Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim is undoubtedly the most popular church of Bahia. It attracts thousands of pilgrims, worshippers and tourists on the second Thursday of January, after Epiphany, and has its facade partially covered by tiles. Its interior was built in the neoclassical style and the gates that surround the space are covered by the traditional ribbons of Senhor do Bonfim, symbols of faith, laid by believers from all over the world who visit the temple and make requests to the Saint.
The larger temple built by the Jesuits in Brasil, the Primate Basilica Cathedral of Salvador is considered the "mother church" of all Catholic temples in Salvador, the Basilica Cathedral houses the main liturgical acts of the State of Bahia, presided over by the Primate Archbishop. Built under a genuinely baroque style, the Church has a great collection of sacred art.