Elevador Lacerda

Gautier Houba / © TripSavvy

Elevador Lacerda, one of the best-known man-made attractions in Brazil, connects Lower and Higher Salvador. In its current configuration, the 191-foot-high landmark with four cabins overlooking Baia de Todos os Santos and listed by IPHAN (the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute) dates back to 1930. The original project was called Elevador Hidráulico da Conceição and built between 1869 and 1873 thanks to the visionary entrepreneurship of Antonio de Lacerda and to his brother, engineer Augusto Frederico de Lacerda.

The elevator was renamed in 1896.

  Gautier Houba / © TripSavvy

In Lower Salvador (Cidade Baixa), the elevator is close to Mercado Modelo; to the south, a sculpture by Mario Cravo Junior pays homage to the market's history.

In Upper Salvador (Cidade Alta), the elevator's entrance is at Praça Tomé de Souza, a square which is one of the gateways to the Pelourinho area and the site of the historical Palácio Rio Branco and Câmara de Vereadores (or Paço Municipal) as well as Palácio Tomé de Souza, the contemporary City Hall. The elevator shaft is not panoramic; the top landing stage and the square are your vantage points to this amazing view.

To the original tunnels (one horizontal and one vertical) dug through rock for the first two cabins, the front tower and access bridge with a span of 71 meters were added. The new structures were built in less than a year and inaugurated in 1930. The expansion and renovations, which also gave the elevator its art-déco look, involved Otis Company and Danish architect Fleming Thiesen and reinforced concrete construction specialists Christian-Nielsen.

Other improvements through the elevator's history include the transition from hydraulic to electrical power in 1906, major revisions of the concrete structure and the electronic and electrical system, and the installation of its external lighting system.

The elevator was preceded by solutions for the transportation of people and loads dating back to colonial times. According to IPHAN, there are early 17th-century references to Guindaste da Fazenda, an inclined plane improved during the Dutch occupation of Salvador in 1624-1625 and which was used for transportation between the port and the city's first customs at current-day Praça Tomé de Souza.

In September 2011, the city administration announced the privatization of Elevador Lacerda. Among the changes is a raise in the fare from R$0,15 to R$0,50.

Elevador Lacerda:

Location: Praça Cayru (Cidade Baixa) and Praça Tomé de Souza (Cidade Alta)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Read more about Salvador attractions in the Official Salvador Guide.