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by Andy Jarozs
There may have been some controversy about who should've hosted the future football (aka soccer) World Cup (there usually seems to be). Few people, however, were surprised when Brazil was awarded the honor of staging what is arguably the ultimate global sporting event. For the 2014 World Cup Brazil will host 32 of the world’s leading soccer nations in an event that will be watched by millions of people in the stadiums and billions more on TVs around the world. For many of the nation’s soccer fanatics, Brazil 2014 can’t come quickly enough.
World Cup in 2014
Twelve stadiums have been selected and the authorities in each of these cities are now racing to get everything ready in time. Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, is one of the lucky host cities and will be keen to show its best features to the watching world. It is expected that the city will be packed with soccer fans from around the world and accommodations in Salvador are already getting booked up, almost three years before the World Cup kicks off.
Visiting Salvador da Bahia
Local tourism officials hope that soccer fans who come to Salvador will experience far more than just a sporting spectacle. The city is historically very significant and was the first to be established by the conquering Portuguese back in 1549 as Cidade de São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos (“City of the Holy Savior of the Bay of all Saints”) – a lovely name, to be sure, but happily shortened in the years since. As the main entry port into the New World, Salvador became an important center for slave trading. That legacy is seen today in the city’s multi-cultural population, with 80% of people having African roots, while the architecture of the city itself is distinctly Portuguese.
Think of Brazil and one of the first images you’ll paint in your mind is probably that of a beautiful beach. Salvador da Bahia is particularly attractive for those who value golden sand ahead of all else for their vacations. Thirty miles of beach stretch along the coast here, and the Porto da Barra beach was rated the 3rd best in the world by the British newspaper The Guardian.
Biggest ever Brazilian carnival?
Salvador is already popular with tourists and is Brazil’s most visited destination after Rio de Janeiro. For one Brazilian winter (June and July 2014), there will be another reason to visit this north-east corner of the country. To witness the annual Carnival is, according to locals, to see an unforgettable mix of color, noise and passion. I suspect that even this will pale in comparison to the party that Salvador will stage if Brazil wins the World Cup on its own soil.