The Federal University of Bahia, known as UFBA, is a large institution in the Bahia State capital of Salvador. It is situated within walking distance of the coast, and a bus ride from the city’s historic old town.
In 1808 Brazil’s first higher education institution, the School of Surgery, was established in Salvador. Over time other schools, such as an Academy of Fine Arts and a Faculty of Philosophy, developed in the area. In 1950 these different schools were integrated and became UFBA.
The university has a broad spectrum of courses on offer, and its faculties range from the School of Veterinary Medicine to the Centre for Afro-Oriental Studies.
Sporting students can join teams for football, basketball, volleyball or handball, or take classes in capoeira, Brazil’s acrobatic martial art form.
UFBA has its own Museum of Sacred Art, housed in a former convent. It contains an important collection of religious paintings and sculptures dating back to the 1600s.
Notable alumni include the award winning geographer Milton Santos, a pioneer of urban planning for developing nations. The bossa nova duo Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil met and began their musical collaboration at the university.
Bahia is one of Brazil’s most culturally rich states, with a wealth of music, art and folklore. Tourists are drawn to the white sand beaches fringed with coconut trees. Salvador, in particular, is a UNESCO heritage site with spectacular colonial architecture.
Salvador’s yearly Carnival lasts for six days and draws two million people to the city. Parades and bands of Afro-Brazilian musicians pack the streets along the sea front and the historic town centre.