Fodor's Expert Review Catedral Basílica
Recognized as one of the richest examples of baroque architecture in Brazil, this 17th-century masterpiece is a must-visit. The masonry facade is made of Portuguese sandstone, brought as ballast in shipping boats; the 16th-century tiles in the sacristy came from Macau. Inside, the engravings on the altars show the evolution of architectural styles in Bahia. Hints of Asia permeate the decoration, such as the facial features and clothing of the figures in the transept altars and the intricate ivory-and-tortoise shell inlay from Goa on the Japiassu family altar, third on the right as you enter (it is attributed to a Jesuit monk from China). The altars and ceiling are layered with gold—about 10 grams per square meter.