children with blue eyes and a strong regional accent make
you wonder: Am I really in Brazil? This is the south. Since
it was colonized mainly by German, Italian, and Polish immigrants,
the facial features and cultural preferences of this region's
inhabitants create a markedly European atmosphere. In the
state of Paraná, besides the city of Curitiba, a
model in urban planning and lifestyle, you will be enamored
by the Iguassu Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the
world. In the state of Santa Catarina, you will witness
the industrial progress and savor the regional delicacies
of the Itajaí Valley's cuisine. In Florianópolis,
on Santa Catarina Island and along the entire coastline,
the beaches are themselves a feast for the eyes, with waters
and sands to suit all tastes. The northern coast of the
island, in Joaquina, hosts international surfing competitions.
In October, the city of Blumenau attracts enthusiatic tourists
from all over the country and even abroad for the Oktoberfest,
a beer festival. Pomerode in Santa Catarina, as well as
Gramado and Canela, in Rio Grande do Sul, bear a striking
resemblance to Bavaria, with their colonial cafés
serving delicious German delicacies. The ruins of São
Miguel, close to Santo Angelo, also in the state of Rio
Grande do Sul, remind us of the 210 years of the Jesuit
Missions presence in Brazil. The strong regional spirit
in this state makes for a rich folklore of music and dance
coupled with the traditional "churrasco", (barbecue)
and the "chimarrão (mate tea).
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an area the size of Portugal and a population similar to
that of Norway, the state of Santa Catarina is a land of
contrasts: in terms of landscape, the mountain ranges are
in contrast with the coastline, punctuated with beaches,
bays and inlets and dozens of islands; in terms of architecture,
cities such as Blumenau and Joinville have retained the
same typical building style from the time the first immigrants,
mainly Germans, colonized the state, contrasting with the
capital, Florianópolis, which is a young, modern
city with water sports championships running all year round.
The colonization process began on the coast with the arrival
of Portuguese from the Azores in the middle of the eighteenth
century, sent by the Portuguese king to complete the take-over.
After them came the Italians, who settled mainly in the
south and west of the state, and last of all the Germans,
who chose to go north and north-east and founded the cities
of Blumenau in the Itajaí Valley, and Joinville.
Santa Catarina is made up of a mixture
of nationalities that are reflected in the culture and historical
heritage of the state. Tourists can enjoy the state's attractions
all year round. In the summer, when temperatures reach 35º
C, they can visit the state's beautiful beaches, whereas
in winter, when temperatures go down and snow occasionally
falls, tourists can enjoy the highlands country.
Known as a piece of Europe set in the southern hemisphere,
Santa Catarina has one of the highest economic development
indices in Brazil, based on diverse industries including
cattle-rearing and mineral extraction. The most important
industries are in the agroindustrial sector covering metals,
textile, ceramics and electrical and electronic machinery
The main industrial activity takes place in the Joinville
area with the textiles industry being centred on Blumenau
in the Itajaí Valley. The ceramic and porcelain industries
are mainly in the south of the state and export to more
than sixty countries. The cities of Tubarão, Criciúma
and neighbouring administrative districts have economies
that are based on mineral extraction, particularly coal.
Twenty five per cent of the state is involved in agriculture
with plantations growing rice, garlic, onions and apples
which when harvested in Fraiburgo and São Joaquim,
represent more than half Brazil's total production which
amounts to 480 tons. To the west, Santa Catarina has some
of the country's largest abattoirs such as Sadia in Concórdia,
Perdigão in Vidreira and Chapecó in the town
of the same name.
Exports leave via three ports: São Francisco do Sul
on the northern coast, Itajaí near Camboriú,
and Imbituba, Brazil's first privately owned port in the
south of the state.
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by forty two beaches, Florianópolis is a wonderful
sight for the visitor. Situated on the Island of Santa Catarina,
the capital of the state of Santa Catarina has a landscape
sprinkled with lakes, sand dunes and small islands all along
the coast. The inviting waves on beaches such as Joaquina
have encouraged successive national and international surfing
championships to be held here. Beaches such as Canasvieiras
and Jurerê with hotels and sophisticated restaurants,
compete with the rustic charm of beaches such as Campeche,
Ponta dos Naufragados and Solidão.
Along the coast, a series of fortresses
built to withstand invasion by the Spanish and Dutch during
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are a relic from
the colonization of the state. Amongst them are the Fortress
of Santa Cruz on the Island of Anhatomirim, the Fortress
of São José da Ponta Grossa between the beaches
of Daniela and Jurerê, registered as Historical Heritage,
and Santo Antônio, on the Island of Ratones Grande.
In Pântano do Sul, also on the coast, is the capital's
most authentic fishing village.
Originally colonized by the Portuguese of the Azores, Florianópolis
retains many traces of its early years. The small village
of Santo Antônio de Lisboa is an example of architecture
of that period and in Ribeirão da Ilha, the oldest
part of the capital, the inhabitants still speak the Azorean
dialect which is difficult to understand at first. In Ribeirão
da Ilha is the church of Our Lady of Lapa do Ribeirão,
built in 1806. Lagoa da Conceição, with its
many sand dunes, restaurants and seaside night life and
where women make lace to sell in the street, has also managed
to retain many traces of its colonial architecture.
The centre of Florianópolis, with its alleys, rows
of typical houses, churches and museums, contains many examples
of colonial architecture. Amongst these are the former government
palace, nowadays the Cruz e Souza Museum (which took its
name from the famous poet from Santa Catarina who formed
the symbolist movement) and the Public Market built in 1898
which sells food and local handicrafts under the shade of
a one hundred year old fig tree. Close to the centre is
the house where Victor Meirelles was born, one of the authors
who devised the first mass spoken in Brazil. The building
is registered by the Institute of Historical and Artistic
Heritage and houses the Victor Meirelles Museum.
South of the city of Florianópolis one finds the
Sonho, Pinheira, Guarda do Embaú and Pedras Altas
beaches, apart from some of the most popular beaches for
surfing: Garopaba, Rosa, Imbituba and Farol de Santa Marta.
Pedras Altas is a nudist beach and is part of the natural
reserve within the Parque Florestal da Serra do Tabuleiro
(The Serra do Tabuleiro Park).
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