Stories of Salvador neighborhoods: Ondina

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From animals to revelry: Ondina brings together carnival, zoo and squares

The neighborhood connects Barra and Rio Vermelho

Novo Normal. Passeio de bicicleta na orla nova de Ondina. Salvador Bahia. Foto Tércio Campelo.

Ondina rhymes with Carnival. The alternative circuit of the Salvador revelry, the Dodô Circuit, begins in Barra and ends in the streets of Ondina. Despite the vocation for revelry, Ondina brings together experiences that go far beyond carnival parties. The neighborhood is home to the city’s zoo, the main weather station and the governor’s official residence, the Ondina Palace, which is located in the upper part of the neighborhood.

Neighbor of Rio Vermelho, Barra, Jardim Apipema, Chame Chame and Federação, its main avenue, Adhemar de Barros, divides the neighborhood into two areas. On the stretch of Avenida Oceânica, Ondina has large hotels overlooking the sea that, during Carnival, have a privileged view of the “trios elétricos” passing by.

In addition to having many residential buildings, the neighborhood also has one of the Campus of the Federal University of Bahia, clinics, monuments and the beach, which is very popular on weekends. During low tide, the natural pools that are formed become an attraction for a more peaceful sea bath. From animals to revelry: Ondina brings together carnival, zoo and squares. Know more about the neighborhood.

Squares and bike path

Ondina has a history linked to the squares. In 1998, the neighborhood had the first multi-sports square in Brazil equipped for people with disabilities.

Praça Bahia Sol (Bahia Sol Square), which is in front of the Bahian Institute for Rehabilitation (IBR), has even undergone a recent renovation promoted by the City of Salvador, and works as a complement to the therapeutic activities of the unit’s patients. The space has sports courts, leisure and recreation areas that can be used by anyone.

In 2019, the neighborhood gained the square of the Camaleão carnival block. The traditional carnival association presented the city with a square, located in front of UFBA, which has the “chameleon’s paw” as its central element. It quickly became a point of fun and also a setting for carnival lovers to take pictures and update social media.

A great option for walking around the neighborhood, the bike path goes through the neighborhoods of Barra, Ondina and Rio Vermelho. There is still a wide view of the sea, which makes everything more beautiful and light.

Historical monument

At the end of Adhemar de Barros Avenue, there are the famous “Gordinhas de Ondina”, one of the main tourist points of the Bahian capital. The “Monumento Meninas do Brasil” (Girls of Brazil Monument), created by artist Eliana Kertész (1945-2017) is very close to Ondina beach and pays homage to the female presence in the formation of Bahian cultural identity, regardless of its origin: the native India, represented by Catarina; the European white, by Mariana; and the African black woman, by Damiana. Each of them is positioned with a look at her point of origin: Damiana to Africa; Mariana to Portugal and Catarina to the interior of Brazil

Live the nature

It is in this neighborhood that the Salvador Zoo, which began to be built in the 19th century, is located. The history of the city’s zoo is linked to the Independence of Bahia. Swiss Frederico Meuron received Fazenda Areia Preta (formerly Ondina’s neighborhood name) as compensation for the losses in the Battle of Pirajá.

After a locomotive from Campo Grande towards Rio Vermelho was constructed, some zoobotanical activities began around the farm, which later started to house the orchidarium in the Ondina Park. In 1958, the Getúlio Vargas Zoobotanical Park was opened, the Salvador Zoo, which is currently considered a reference center in the preservation of wild animals with more than 1,400 species of fauna and flora.

For those who enjoy a sea bath, Ondina beach follows Praia do Cristo. This beach starts after the restaurant known as Barravento, next to Morro do Cristo, going to Clube Espanhol and passing through the region of hotels and the facilities of the Air Force.

Although not very extensive, the beach offers structure for visitors, selling drinks and food. Going towards Rio Vermelho neighborhood, there is a cove that, at low tide, is great for swimming. The sea is usually crystalline, with the possibility of diving. At low tide, there are some natural pools.

Orla de Ondina. Salvador Bahia. Foto Abel Baião.

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