UNESCO City of Music

since 2015

About the Creative City: 

With a population of 2.9 million inhabitants, Salvador is the third largest city in Brazil. Capital of the State of Bahia, Salvador lives by the rhythm of music and uses it successfully to convey a great sense of social cohesion within a rich multicultural city. Home to the renowned composers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, Salvador has been the birthplace of many music genres including tropicalismo, axé, bossa nova and samba. It was also in Salvador that the “trio elétrico”; a truck popularly used as a mobile stage for large outdoor music events due to its high power sound system, was created.

In Salvador, public spaces are ideal stages to promote culture, and music in particular. Salvador is best known for its Bahian Carnival, which is the largest parade in the world with 2 million people celebrating throughout 25 kilometres of the city’s streets, avenues and squares for an entire week. It is estimated that this massive event represents over $248 million dollars of financial transactions. As a result, the Bahian Carnival has been responsible for promotingthe local music industry on an international scale, with a significant increase of multilevel partnerships, as well as employment opportunities.

The city, whose creative economy largely relies on the music sector, has placed it at the core of its social and economic development plans. In particular, the Sound Incubator project supports the emergence of music businesses and the promotion of local music bands on the international stage. In the framework of the network Brasil Criativo, setup by the Ministry of Culture, Salvador steps up its efforts through a wide range of capacity building programmes based on creative competences to make creativity a key enabler of inclusive and sustainable urban development.


As a Creative City of Music, Salvador envisages:

  • establishing the Music Museum to showcase the diversity of Brazilian music from the Bahian music to contemporary popular music, and will also serve as an open, creative space for musicians and music professionals;
  • fostering access and participation to cultural life and social cohesion by supporting outdoor music events held in public spaces through the Music Spaces initiative based on public-private cooperation;
  • promoting Afro-Brazilian culture through the multidisciplinary Afródromo project aimed at creating synergies between music, performing arts and media arts;
  • nurturing the mobility of artists within the Network through training programmes and artist residencies; and
  • supporting all stakeholders of the music industry through the Salvador Capital of Music Forum, which will also serve as a dialogue platform for Creative Cities of Music to exchange knowledge, best practices and organize joint-events.


Soraya Pessino
International Adviser


Facts and Figures

Salvador is the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. With 2.9 million people it is the largest city proper in the Northeast Region and the 4th-largest city proper in the country.

The Pelourinho district of the upper town, still home to many examples of Portuguese colonial architecture and historical monuments, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

693 km²

Population (City)

Population (Metro)