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Shopping in Salvador
There is no end to shopping on a Salvador holiday and the experience is extraordinary. Art and crafts abound. Shoppers will find sculptures, paintings, precious and semiprecious stones, ceramics, clothes and other knick knacks in the main market and the historic districts. While t-shirts and the standard mementos are inexpensive (you can buy a tee for less than 5 US dollars), the handicrafts are over-priced in comparison with other Brazilian cities. A favourite with tourists are the hand painted hammocks which you can get for less than 15 US dollars.
Salvador can be a good place to perfect the art of haggling and get good discounts on the excellent local arts and crafts.
See our Salvador Shopping Guide for some hints and tips on the best places to shop and pick up some great local souvenirs during your Salvador holiday. To relax and energise yourself for your Salvador shopping spree, stop for a tasty meal in one of the great Salvador restaurants. For more great shopping ideas throughout Brazil see our Brazil Shopping Guide.
One thing to keep in mind while shopping in Salvador is to bargain. Pricing is rather flexible and proprietors will definitely lower prices if you try hard enough. Of course, be wary of fakes as the tables can turn then. The malls do not permit bargaining.
If local arts and crafts interest you, then head to any one of these stores - the Mauá Institute, the Rua Gregório de Mattos, and the Mercado Modelo, as they are trustworthy and recognized. Salvadorian handicrafts use basic raw materials such as beads, seashells, straw, wood, leather and clay. These are cheap but the more intricately worked pieces made of gold, silver, copper and brass, which are often fashioned with precious stones and gems, are expensive. The pieces reflect the cultural ethnicity of the Bahia region, and religion very often forms the basis for many of the souvenirs. A very common motif is the depiction of Catholic saints and the Candomble gods.
One cannot help but notice the African influence on Salvadorian art in the form of common trinkets and good luck charms such as the clover leaf, garlic pods, the clenched fist and the ever popular and colourful bonfim ribbons which make any three wishes come true. Depiction of local wildlife also very often finds its way to these works of art.
Salvador has a global reputation for unique and intriguing musical instruments. The artisans in some cases double up as clever inventors, designing instruments which produce distinctive sounds. The rain sticks, the water drum, atabaque sticks and the berimbau are instruments which are often used by professional musicians all over the world. Apart from these exotic types, you can also find exquisitely crafted traditional instruments in Salvador.
Mercado Modelo is the largest handicrafts centre in Latin America and is located in Salvador. They have interesting handicrafts on display and for sale. Instituto de Artesanato de Mauá and Instituto do Patrimônio Artístico e Cultural (IPAC) are similar organisations that promote the culture and art of Bahia. They too have a large number of items which tourists can purchase. Stores in Pelourinho also stock a wide variety of souvenirs.
Apart from stores which sell traditional art and crafts, those interested in antiques can head to Casa Moreira, Rua Rui Barbosa, and Casa San Martin which are well stocked stores.
A perfect souvenir to take back from your Salvador vacation is the local art. Galleries which sell paintings can be found in Pelourinho. Prices vary from one painting to another but most are reasonably priced. Galeria 13 at Rua Santa Isabel 13 displays works only by local artists and is an extremely popular destination for tourists.
Apart from the artistic attractions, Salvador also has a number of malls. All of them are located downtown. A popular haunt with travellers and the locals is Shopping Barra on Av. Centenario 2992 and has 260 stores. And there is another called Salvador Shopping on Av. Tancredo Neves 2315 that has 464 stores spread in five floors. Both open from Monday till Saturday, from 10am till 10pm. On Sundays, it is open from midday till 10pm.
The stores revolve around fashion and fashion accessories, with most of the shops selling the latest Brazilian trends at prices that are easy on the pocketbook. Fashion is important in Salvador and the Iguatemi fashion week is a regular event every year. The clothes showcased here have both African and Brazilian nuances to them. The fashion in Salvador is known for follow many styles, and one of these influences is the African one and also we can see in the music and gastronomy. The African people in Bahia left a legacy of customs, culture and also their fashion, that as the trend has been evolving and acquiring new traits and styles.