Salvador ’s Centro encompasses a somewhat loosely defined neighborhood that more or less consists of the old “downtown” of the Cidade Alta, which follows Avenida Sete de Setembro  (the main drag) from its beginning at Praça Castro Alves to Campo Grande  and the sweeping tree-lined Corredor da Vitória . The latter is where Salvador’s wealthy live in soaring high-rise apartments overlooking the sea.
Chaotic, crowded, and oddly provincial for such a major city, the Centro is nonetheless an interesting place to walk around if you want to get an authentic feel for the city. Filled with museums, churches, shops, markets, and ambulantes (street vendors selling every kind of item imaginable), by day it hums with activity, but at night becomes abandoned, and therefore fairly dangerous to stroll around.
From the Praça Municipal, the once elegant Rua Chile still displays some grandiose buildings that formerly housed department stores and hotels. Although sadly abandoned, restoration projects are underway in an attempt to regain at least some of its former glory. Rua Chile leads onto the Praça Castro Alves, a semicircular plaza where Bahia’s famous Romantic poet (Alves) stares out at the Bay of All Saints . Celebrated for his smoldering good looks, passionate prose, abolitionist views, and tragically untimely death at the age of 24, Alves was Bahia ’s answer to John Keats.
Although the square offers little more than magnificent sea views, it plays an important role in municipal life and for years was the traditional meeting point for all the trio elétricos (gigantic truck-driven stages) that brought Carnaval to a close on the morning of Ash Wednesday.