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In the 16th century, Pelourinho was the economic centre of Salvador. Over time, the district fell out of fashion with the upper class, which relocated to nearby districts to avoid the ever increasing population and activity filling Pelourinho’s narrow cobbled streets.Nevertheless, Pelourinho has remained the most charming part of the city, with colourful houses in a colonial style and multiple churches, some of which were intended for the use of nobles, some for clergymen and others for slaves.

The district gained its name from a whipping post erected in the main square (translated into English, pelourinho means pillory). Today, the historic centre is protected by UNESCO and some buildings have been restored. There are open-air cafes, reputed bars and restaurants, artists’ workshops, handicraft shops, theatres and museums.