Revitalization rescues part of Salvador’s history and culture
After 20 years closed, Palácio da Sé, located in the Historic Center of Salvador, returns to the daily lives of residents and tourists after the revitalization process. This is another important space for popular visitation in the city, now as a Cultural Center, either because of all its historical content, or because of its privileged location. Commanded by the Human Development Institute (HDI) and Father Abel Pinheiro, the restoration process took five years.
The visitation is wonderful and we recommend the guided tour, so you won’t miss any information and end up learning even more about your city, enjoying rare and beautiful pieces, since the time of discovery. The team will tell you every detail. The photographic tip is to choose one of the “big windows” that provide an incredible view of the All Saints Bay.
The Palace’s ground floor now has an area available for traveling exhibitions and corporate events, allowing the sustainability of the place. The first floor houses the permanent exhibition “The Church and the formation of Brazil”, with its own collection and historical goods remaining from other religious buildings, such as the old Sé Cathedral, demolished in 1933 to make way for the current Praça da Sé .
The first floor also houses the room of the Conservation and Restoration Laboratory Reitor Eugênio Veiga (LEV), exhibiting important historical documents restored with the mission of preserving, researching and disseminating the documentary collection of the Catholic Church in Brazil. The collection has more than 16 thousand documents, among those restored and not restored.
On the second floor, the Administrative Center of the São Salvador da Bahia Archdiocese will soon be working, with a permanent collection, the old Igreja da Sé chest, the gallery of the Bishops and Archbishops of Bahia and Primates of Brazil. The space will also have an area dedicated to Archbishop Sebastião Monteiro da Vide, responsible for the Palace construction.
The archbishop’s services and hearings will also be held at the place, as well as secretaries of the Archdiocese’s administration, an episcopal chapel, a library and a conference room.
The former Cathedral of Bahia was one of the most important churches in the state. Despite its historical importance, the old Cathedral building was demolished in 1933, during a redevelopment of the city center. The building stood where the Monument to the Fallen Cross (Monumento da Cruz Caída) is today. Remember the pulpit you saw at Ajuda Church? Well, it used to be in this church, where Father Antônio Vieira delivered the most famous sermons of his career.
The church and the Archbishop’s Palace were connected by a kind of bridge and much of this history is part of the cultural center’s collection. It has a room full of detailed photos of the Cathedral façade, and through a model, you can get an idea of the imposing construction. It also has columns and caryatids from the altar of “Senhor Morto” (Lord who died); a set of ornaments; fragments of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament ceiling; torches in cast, beaten, drawn and chiseled silver.
Other curiosities of the Palácio da Sé Cultural Center
The “Terra Nova” room contextualizes the encounter with the new. In it, the 16th-century mark of city limits demarcation stands out. At another point on the tour, you will come across the model of the “passarola”, a creation of Father Bartolomeu de Gusmão, also known as “the flying priest”. One of the most beautiful and delicate pieces of furniture in the collection is in the Chapel: an 18th century altar-cabinet, all hand-painted in bright colors, with beautiful drawings and secular objects.
In the “A Devoção” room, visitors will experience a little of what Bahia’s popular festivals are like. There are records made by great photographers during the Festivities of Santa Bárbara, Conceição da Praia, Lavagem do Bonfim, Iemanjá, Bom Jesus dos Navegantes, among others. A “procession of sacred images” that reflects the search of the Bahian people for the sacred, through dedication, sacrifice and commitment to the divine.
Palácio da Sé Cultural Center
Address: Praça da Sé, 203-47 – Centro Histórico, Salvador – BA, 40020-210
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Phone #: (71) 3838-9987
Palácio da Sé. Centro Histórico. Salvador Bahia. Foto Max Haack. Secom.