The entry to Baia de Todos os Santos (Bay of All Saints) was protected by the imposing Fort of Santo Antônio, inside of which the Barra Lighthouse rises up 22 meters, displaying its white and black rings. Barra is the zone where the waters of the Bay of All Saints meet the Atlantic Ocean.
In the 17th century Salvador had one of the most important and busiest ports in the Americas. It was the mooring point for ships taking sugar, cotton, tobacco, wood and other Brazilian articles to Europe. In 1668, the shipwreck of the Portuguese galleon Santíssimo Sacramento, on a sand bank at the mouth of the Vermelho River, led the authorities to build a lighthouse there. The Farol da Barra was erected in 1698 to assist and guide the ships arriving at the Bay of All Saints. It was the first lighthouse built in South America and was known indiscriminately as Farol da Barra, Vigia da Barra or Farol de Santo Antônio.
Originally it was a quadrangular tower with a bronze lantern protected by glass and fueled by whale oil. It still works today, but now the tower is conical and the lighting is electrical.
The Barra Lighthouse is one of the major symbols of the capital of Bahia. Visitors are allowed, but you’ll have to walk up the spiral staircase to be able to see its machinery. The lighthouse provides some of the most beautiful views of Salvador de Bahia, and if you go late in the afternoon you can enjoy one of the best sunsets in Brazil.
Another worthy visit is the Nautical Museum of Bahia, inside the Fort of Santo Antônio, which features ancient objects salvaged from shipwrecks
When going to Salvador, you can’t leave without visiting this famous lighthouse!
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