Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brazil, the city is one of the oldest in the Americas. For a long time, it was simply known as Bahia, and appears under that name (or as Salvador da Bahia, Salvador of Bahia so as to differentiate it from other Brazilian cities of the same name) on many maps and books from before the mid-20th century. Salvador is the third most populous Brazilian city, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The city of Salvador is notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, and its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil's Northeast. The African influence in many cultural aspects of the city makes it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture. This reflects a situation in which African-associated cultural practices are celebrated. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through 19th centuries and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Salvador is located on a small, roughly triangular peninsula that separates Todos os Santos Bay from the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The bay, which gets its name from having been discovered on All Saints' Day, forms a natural harbor. Salvador is a major export port, lying at the heart of the Recôncavo Baiano, a rich agricultural and industrial region encompassing the northern portion of coastal Bahia.
A particularly notable feature is the escarpment that divides Salvador into the Cidade Alta ("Upper Town" or rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa ("Lower Town" or northwest region of the city), the former some 85m (279 ft) above the latter, with the city's cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. An elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades.
Salvador features a tropical rainforest climate with no discernable dry season. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, featuring warm and humid conditions. Salvador’s driest month of the year is February, where the city receives on average 11 cm of precipitation. Salvador’s wettest months are between May and July, and 21 cm of rain falls during these 3 months.