History in Arraial da Ajuda

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Sacred Fountain

Sacred Fountain


The name of the village was given because of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, a catholic character. The church was built on the top of the hill from where there is a sacred fountain which water is said to do miracles.

Locals say that once you bathe yourself in those waters, you´ll always come back to Arraial.

In 1549 a Portuguese Navigator named Tome’ de Souza arrived here with his three ships: Conceicao, Salvador, and Ajuda. The first Jesuits were on the ship called Ajuda and they founded Arraial.

Father Francisco Pires began building a church here in Arraial but had great difficulties because of the lack of water. After many prayers a spring of water began to run in the side of the mountain directly below the church. It became one of the most well known springs in the world. They named it Our lady of Ajuda (which means help, or charity) and was completed in 1551

Various other legends regarding miracles attributed to the water from this spring exist. They say that if you bath in this water you will someday return to Arraial. The church still standing is the oldest building in the area. The buildings surrounded the church began to spring up around the same time so the Jesuits would have a place to stay when they arrived from their missions.

N.S.de Ajuda first began to be worshipped here August 1556 after the fame of the miraculous fountain spread. The Jesuits began to offer a free place to stay for the people who came here on pilgrimage. During the 1970’s hippies began to show up. Many decided to stay and other Europeans began to arrive. The current culture, therefore, is a mixture of a variety of cultures.

After awhile the church housing was no longer sufficient to accommodate all the pilgrims that arrived. This is how the first pousadas began, many of them without running water or electricity. Today Arraial offers a large variety of housing options, cuisine and entertainment.

November 24, 2005 new by tull
December 15, 2006 change by giorgio

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