If Brazil had a center to its soul perhaps this place would be it.
Trancoso is not very far from where the first Portuguese officially stepped on Brazilian soil and if one believes in destiny, this was for a reason…
The region remained remote until the late nineteen seventies and in the meanwhile the church above was built as a mission to convert the natives of the Region, the Pataxos (pronounced Patashohs). Usually churches were built over sacred sites to, in a way, respect the old rituals while telling the natives that the universal white European God was stronger, more widespread and better than theirs.
The church “closes” a square of houses around a huge green that used to constitute the village. The people who live there call it the “rectangle” and behind it lay the tropical forest, the almost extinct Mata Atlantica. The view from behind it is fantastic, one sees the entire coast of the Porto Seguro area from the top of a cliff .
There is no doubt that the Pataxos celebrated their beautiful world at this very spot in their festivals long before the arrival of the white people.
I had the privilege to discover Trancoso when it was just a fishing village with no electricity, populated by locals and by hippies some 25 years ago. Now it has become an international attraction and is visited by tourists from all around the world.
It still preserves its magic though.
Lost Samba, the book, will give you a better description of how it was back in the day, the link to is just besides the article.