Bahia is one of the 26 states in Brazil. It is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the 4th-largest Brazilian state by population (after São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro) and the 5th-largest by area. Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador (formerly also known as Bahia), located on a spit of land separating the Bay of All Saints from the Atlantic. Once a monarchial stronghold dominated by agricultural, slaving, and ranching interests, Bahia is now a major manufacturing center whose last three elections have been dominated by the Workers' Party.
Bahia is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, with its Bay of All Saints the largest in Brazil. Under the Brazilian Empire, it was bound on the north by the Rio Real and by the Jequitinhonha on the south, but Bahia now comprises an irregular shape bound by other states of Brazil, some of which were formed from it. In the north, it is now bordered (from east to west) by Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco and Piauí. In the west, it is bordered by Goiás in the north and Tocantins in the south. In the south, it is bordered (from east to west) by Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais.
The state is crossed from west to east by many rivers, but the most important is the São Francisco, which starts in Minas Gerais and runs through western Bahia before emptying into the Atlantic between Sergipe and Alagoas. Formerly plied by paddlewheel steamers, the river is only navigable to small modern craft but is still vital to the arid west since it continuously supplies water during seasons when many other smaller rivers dry out. The Sobradinho Dam created one of the largest reservoirs in the world; other major hydroelectric projects along its length include the Paulo Afonso Hydroelectric Complex and the Itaparica or Luiz Gonzaga Dam.
Salvador, with its Historical Center registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and with its coast clipped into many beaches and dozens of islands, has a varied receptive infrastructure, composed of 170 hostelry units (of which 20 are of international standard hotels) and 25 thousand beds, further to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping malls, theaters, crafts centers, Convention and Fairs Center, rental agencies, tourist agencies, and other equipment and services. In the last few years, the State Government promoted the total restoration of the Pelourinho, the biggest set of colonial style buildings in Latin America, today transformed into an important point for visitation by tourists, that will find there a synthesis of what best Bahia has to offer in specialized services, in regional and international cooking, in architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries and in music, with daily shows by the great artists of Bahia, famous in the country and abroad. The period of popular festivities in Bahia has its high point between December and March (summer months) and has in carnival its supreme point, with more than one million tourists in Salvador, Porto Seguro and other cities of the State's Tourist circuit.
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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.
Bahia has a tropical climate. With 68% of its territory located in the semi-arid zone, the state presents diversified climates and an average rainfall that varies from 363 to 2,000 mm per year, depending on the region.
Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport near Salvador serves as the main gateway for planes to and from the city. International flights include those to Miami, Madrid, Milan, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Montevideo, Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Asuncion. TAM and GOL have many flights to other Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia.
From Salvador airport there are connections throughout the state:
Coach services are comfortable and cheap. Very useful to get around the state. It is sometimes ill-advised to travel at night. Highway robberies are possible. Inquire before travel.
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