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São Marcelo Fort

São Marcelo Fort, formally known as Forte de Nossa Senhora do Pópulo e São Marcelo is located in Salvador in Bahia, Brazil. It is located in small bit of land off the coast in the Baía de Todos os Santos. Standing on a small bank of reefs about 300 metres (980 ft) from the coast, it is one of two forts separated by water from land in Brazil, the other being the Fort Tamandaré da Laje Tamandaré in Rio de Janeiro. It is the only cylindrical fort in Brazil. Its design follows those of Castel Sant'Angelo in Italy and São Lourenço do Bugio Fort in Portugal. It is popularly known as the "Forte do Mar" (Fort of the Sea). It was built to protect the important port city Salvador from threats; the city had the largest number of forts during the colonial period of Brazil.[1][2]

São Marcelo Fort
Forte de Nossa Senhora do Pópulo e São Marcelo
Salvador, Bahia in Brazil
Forte São Marcelo.jpg
View of fort from Bay of All Saints
São Marcelo Fort is located in Brazil
São Marcelo Fort
Forte São Marcelo
Coordinates12°58′16″S 38°31′04″W / 12.9712°S 38.517778°W / -12.9712; -38.517778
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1608 (1608)–1623
Reference no.155



The fort was designed and construction started in 1608 under Francisco Frias Mosque. The first documentary evidence of the fort is in a city plan of Salvador title Planta da Cidade do Salvador, na Baía de Todos os Santos, which dates to 1616. The fort was completed in 1623 during the rule of Governor General Diogo de Mendonça Furtado and was a primary target of the Dutch in 1624 during the Dutch–Portuguese War. It was constructed entirely of wood with 19 artillery pieces of various calibers. A reconstruction of the fort was ordered in 1650. This period of building saw the construction of a turret at the highest point of the sand bar. A further reconstruction in 1728 saw the appearance of a wall around the perimeter of the fort.[3][4][5][1][2]

In Popular CultureEdit

In 2008, the location served as the first pit stop of the 13th season of the American installment of The Amazing Race.

Protected statusEdit

The São Marcelo Fort was listed as a historic structure by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) in 1938. The structure was registered under the Book of Historical Works, Inscription 49 and Book of Fine Arts, Inscription 273-A. The directive is dated May 24, 1938.[6]


The fort opened to the public in 2006 after a long period of restoration.[1]



  1. ^ a b c Teixeira, Paulo Roberto Rodrigues (2008). "Forte de São Marcelo". Revista DaCultura (in Portuguese). 13 (7): 52–63.
  2. ^ a b "The Battery at a Fort in Bahia". World Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  3. ^ "Forte de São Marcelo". Portuguese. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  4. ^ "Forte de São Marcelo". Portuguese. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  5. ^ Frommer's ShortCuts (11 April 2012). Salvador and the Best of Bahia, Brazil: Frommer's ShortCuts. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-1-118-20183-1. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  6. ^ Carrazzoni, Maria, ed. (1980). Guia dos bens tombados. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: EXPED-Expansão Editorial. p. 51-52. ISBN 9788520800577.