Several cultural institutions are based in Santa Catarina, including the Geographic and Historical Institute of Santa Catarina, the Academia Catarinense de Letras and the Círculo de Arte Moderna. The most important libraries are the State Public Library, the Estreito Municipal Public Library and those of the various schools of the Federal University, in Florianópolis; the Municipal Public Library Dr. Fritz Muller, in Blumenau; the Municipal Public Library, in Joinville, and the Library of the Camargo Branco Foundation, in Lajes.
The most important museums in Santa Catarina are, in Florianópolis, the Historical Museum (installed in the Casa de Santa Catarina, with weapons, uniforms and objects belonging to the Companhia Barriga Verde), the Casa de Vítor Meireles, the Ethnographic, Ethnological and Botanical Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Indian, the Museum of the Geographic and Historical Institute and the Museum of the Man of Sambaqui. In Blumenau, the Dr. Fritz Muller Natural History Museum operates; in Brusque, the Archdiocesan D. Joaquim Museum; in Joinville, the Municipal Museum (of immigration, colonization and archeology); and, in Lajes, the Historical Pedagogical Museum.
When colonizing the current Florianópolis, the Azoreans built a system of fortresses that today have immense historical value. On the island of Anhatomirim is one of these fortresses, the fort of Santa Cruz, which, built in 1744, was recovered by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Service (SPHAN). From the ruins of the São José da Ponta Grossa fort (1740), at Praia do Forte, one has one of the most beautiful views in the region.
Other important monuments are the Public Market and the Customs building, constructions from the end of the 19th century, and the Hercílio Luz bridge (1926), one of the largest suspension bridges in the world, in Florianópolis; and the Princes’ Palace (1870), in Joinville. The ruins and buildings of the island of São Francisco do Sul and the city of Laguna are listed by the historical heritage.
Religious celebrations and folklore
Among the traditional Santa Catarina religious festivals, the following stand out: the procession of Senhor Jesus dos Passos, the festival of São Sebastião, the festival of Divino Espírito Santo (mobile festival, lasting three days) and the procession of Santa Catarina (patron saint of the state) ).
Of the folk festivals, the most important are held in the month of October in several cities: in Blumenau, Oktoberfest, a traditional German party, with distribution of draft beer, typical music and folk groups; in Joinville, Fenachopp; in Rio do Sul, Kegelfest, where the attraction, in addition to beer, is the bolão, a game similar to bowling and bocce ball; in Treze Tílias, Tirolerfest, which celebrates the anniversary of Austrian immigration; in Jaraguá do Sul, Schutzenfest, a mixture of shooting competition with food and beer festival; in Brusque, Fenarreco, the National Marreco Festival; in Pomerode, the Party at the Zoo; in Itapema, the Shrimp Festival; and, in Itajaí, Marejada, a party with typical Portuguese food.
Other important folk festivals in the state are the suit of kings, in January; the ox-of-papaya, in January and February, a kind of pantomime in which the figure of an ox of cardboard or wood predominates, followed by people in costumes, dancers and singers; and the ox spree, in the holy week. Of the typical dishes from Santa Catarina, the most well-known are bijajica (dumpling made of starch, eggs and sugar, fried in lard) and Ente mit Rotkohl (mallard with red cabbage), a specialty from the Brusque region.
The tourist flow to the state has steadily increased, coming mainly from São Paulo and the countries of the Prata. The main focus of attraction for visitors are the beautiful beaches on the island of Santa Catarina, as well as the resorts of Laguna, Camboriú, Porto Belo and Itajaí. Also a factor of attraction is the area of German colonization, with a center in Blumenau, but extending, on the outskirts, to Pomerode and Timbó and including, more to the north, Joinville. The municipalities in the region encourage the construction of traditional half-timbered houses (rafters crossed in order to support the clay that forms the walls).