In the porão (basement) of the Mercado Modelo in the Cidade Baixa area of Salvador, lies the senzala (slave quarters) where slaves, brought to Colonial Bahia from Africa, were chained to the walls until being sold. The Mercado Modelo, being the city’s third Customs House, had an area reserved for receiving shipments arriving from the open seas. One of the serious problems that faced the slaves was the fact that the porão lies below sea level and therefore would, from time to time, fill up with water and take many lives. These days, the area is open to visitation and offers raised slabs of concrete which allow the visitor to tour the basement even when the tide is high. Watching the short clip below, it’s easy to imagine the lights being lanterns and the sounds in the dead of the night being frightening for those that were held captive there.