The heart of the Pelourinho District in Salvador de Bahia houses the largest artisan market in Brazil, surprising thanks to its neo-classic construction, having been rebuilt twice after the fires of 1969 and 1984, the second time around conserving the building’s original style. It is located at Cayru, in the lower city of Salvador, near the well-known Lacerda Elevator and the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Praia.
Modelo Market, with over 250 outlets, features the best creations of the African and Brazilian cultures and traditions. Originally largely a food market, today what they sell the most are the typical clothes from Bahia in white and cream tones, napkins, camisoles, pants, nightgowns… But the most popular souvenir is the penca de balangandãs, an assortment of African amulets.
If you’re tired and feel like relaxing a while, go to the upper floor. There you’ll find two tourist-oriented twin restaurants that are well worth your while, if not for the food, which might not be so great, at least they have a great terrace. If you cross the semi-circular hall you’ll make it to that terrace, where you can enjoy the spectacular views and a nice, cool breeze.
Now if you want to enjoy good, genuine Bahia food, go downstairs. Just inside the market towards the end leading to the port you’ll find some typical market stalls. Try the fried fish at Zonzeira (to the left on your way out), sururu or lambretas, a type of shell fish. If you’re not satisfied by the taste, don’t worry. It only costs you from 5 to 10 R$ (€2 to 4). Cold beer in a 600ml bottle or carafe costs just 5 R$ (€2).
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