The concrete -- or stone rather -- reason for this neighborhood's name was taken down and away on September 7th, 1835. But the metaphor remains, echoing through Pelourinho's byways like the doleful remonstances of aggrieved spirits.
"Pelourinho" means pillory. And Salvador's pelourinho last stood at the top of the sloping Largo do Pelourinho, final point in a journey which began in the city's first open market in the Praça da Feira (today known as Praça Municipal -- the open square at the top of the Elevador Lacerda). The pelourinho stood at the market's center.
Then sometime between 1602 and 1607 -- period of the Governorship of Dom Diogo Botelho -- the pelourinho was moved by governor's decree to the Terreio de Jesus.
But the Terreiro de Jesus was the site of the Jesuits' church and school, and the screams and groans interfered with church services and teaching. So it was removed again and repositioned at the bottom of the Ladeira de São Bento (where Praça Castro Alves is now located).
Again it was removed, for the penultimate time, in 1807, and taken to the largo which would come to bear its name. It would stand there for another 28 years.
Pelourinho Rises Again! Viva!
...Rescued for the second time (now!) the first being when the area was rebuilt beginning in 1993. Ironically, the seeds of the area's second phase of decline were planted with the first rescue. That reconstruction was done under the aegis of Antônio Carlos Magalhães, at various stages of his career mayor of Salvador, governor of Bahia, federal senator, and minster of communications. Sr. Magalhães ruled Bahia like an old-time South American coronel, and upon his death in 2007 his chafing political enemies abandoned Old Salvador as if it had been Sr. Magalhães' personal fiefdom...never mind that Brazil's first capital was born centuries before its rescuer. It would be like (and excuse my American take on this) Bloomberg happy to see Times Square in New York City go back to hell just to spite Guiliani! But the world goes 'round and every four years the World Cup comes 'round. And with the 2014 taking place in Brazil, Salvador being among the host cities, the old quarters are being repainted...entire streets are being re-cobbled...policing has become vastly more effective, and some brilliant Bahian music is being presented, almost better than in the glorious old days!
In the pink! An elementary school in Pelourinho gets a rosy-cheeked facelift! All buildings are going back to their centuries-old original colors (as determined by scrapings and analysis)!
(Much more to be moved here!)