Set atop a hill as the Itapagibe Peninsula extends into the bay, Salvador's iconic Igreja de Nosso Senhor do Bomfim is well worth the 8-km (5-mile) detour from the Centro Histórico and marks a crossroads between the Christian and native African religions. Its patron saint, Oxalá, is the father of all the gods and goddesses in the Candomblé mythology. Built in the 1750s, the church has many ex-votos (votive offerings) of wax, wooden, and plaster replicas of body parts, left by those praying for miraculous cures. Outside the church, street vendors sell a bizarre mixture of figurines, from St. George and the Dragon to devils and warriors. The morning mass on the first Friday of the month draws a huge congregation, most wearing white, with practitioners of Candomblé on one side and Catholics on the other.
Praça do Senhor do Bonfim, Salvador, 40415–475, Brazil