Sadly, the Cidade Baixa, Salvador’s port and commercial district, has seen better days. The area is a mélange of decaying historic buildings (some of them formerly quite grandiose), the odd colonial church, warehouses, and decaying 1960s and 1970s high-rises built before Salvador’s commercial center moved to the more mod (and characterless) neighborhoods surrounding Shopping Iguatemi. Although there are signs that an urban revitalization could take place here, it will certainly be a while.
Today, “Comércio” (as it is known) is fairly bustling during the day, but downright dangerous at night. When you come down from the Cidade Alta to explore its few attractions, take a bus (any one that has “Comércio” written on the side) or the Elevador Lacerda to Praça Visconde de Cairu, or else a taxi.
Don’t even think about walking up or down the steep roads linking the two cidades—they are unsafe, even by day.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition