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Florianopolis, Santa Catarina

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Area: 437 km²
Population: 369 102 inhab. (est. 2004)
Check out map of Santa Catarina.

Florianópolis is often referred to as Floripa.
Florianópolis was built on the island called Island of Santa Catarina; there are other two capitals in Brazil built on islands: São Luís and Vitoria.
The name Florianopolis was meant to be a tribute to marshall Floriano Peixoto, second President of Republic of Brazil (1891 - 1894); until 1894, the city was called Nossa Senhora do Desterro (Our Lady of Banishment). There are groups of citizens who wish to change the name, alleging that Floriano was a dictator who ordered the death of hundreds of people from Santa Catarina; read more about this issue here.

Bathed 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.
Florianopolis beachThe inviting waves on beaches such as Joaquina have encouraged successive national and international surfing championships to be held here; read more about surfing in Florianopolis.
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 16th and 17th 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, fortressand 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.

Florianopolis map
Florianopolis in Brazil

Roughly saying, the island can be divided in two sectors: in the north is the most visited side by tourists and because of that, the busiest and with the best services infrastructure. In some quarters notice a strong influence in the population architecture and customs. The most ancient livers of Florianópolis still have in the way they speak, in the craftwork activities and in the popular parties, the heritage left by immigrants from Portuguese islands from Azores. The south of the island preserved intensely Azorean customs that arrived there from the XVIII century.

The cookery is also based on seafoods - fishes, shrimps, mussels that are served in simple restaurants near the sea or in well-equipped establishments. Many Brazilian of other states and foreigners that arrived to live in the island, brought sophistication and a cosmopolitan atmosphere to Florianópolis. The city also offers resorts and good hotels.

Read more:
Florianopolis. Information in Portuguese.
Florianopolis official site. Maintained by the City Government.
Florianopolis Convention Bureau. Organizes and hosts important events in the city.
Viva Floripa. Highly commercial site. Bring images and maps of every beach of the island.
Guia Floripa. General information about the city.
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. The Federal University of Santa Catarina, campus of Florianópolis.

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