Atlantis and Santana
Destination Florianópolis, capital of the state of Santa Catarina.
The eternally locked sanitary museum, Atlantis and Forte Sant’ana.
Museu do Saneamento
Vítor and I left the cathedral and continued our walk in the center of Florianópolis towards the quay. We were eager to see more and get to know more of this interesting city. To taste more of the rich history. It was our plan to visit fortresses, which were built to defend the city against invaders. One fortress, Santa Barbara was a bit too far for us to walk to. We did not visit that fortress, in order to save time. Another fortress, Santana, was located on our route, and was our next destination. First, we went to the quay, and we approached a small, rectangular building, with yellow tiles. It was a museum. Museu do Saneamento. The Sanitary Museum. Unfortunately, this building was locked. When I was trying to find out more about this museum through internet, I quickly discovered, that this museum NEVER opens. Welcome to the Island of Magic…
Near this particular museum was the rodoviária (bus station), where numerous buses arrived and departed. Even on Sunday, there was a lot of movement. The buses were painted in turquoise, and appeared to be quite new. The big difference with, for example, the buses from Rio de Janeiro is, the temperature control. In Rio, the air conditioning is working hard, and when you leave the bus, you are really shivering from the cold. In contrast, the air conditioning in the buses in Florianópolis, in the ‘cold’ South, is working hard too, and you will sweat heavily, when you leave the bus. On our right was a large square, with a colonnade. Was it a ruin? We took a closer look. There were information boards near the arc. “Memorial Miramar”. As a memory of the old quay, which was drained. At this quay was a famous bar, with the name ‘Bar Miramar’. In 1974, this bar was demolished because of drainage works. The colonnade looked quite new, and gained the nickname ‘Atlantis’. Another peculiarity on this Island of Magic. Did we land in the World of Oz?
There was a large, rectangular building on the top of a hill. Vítor was interested to have a closer look at this building, and we went there. It took bout fifteen minutes before we arrived there. In front of this building was a mosaic, in the honor of Santa Catarina. The island and the state are named after her. Saint Catherine was queen of Alexandria and lived in the 4th century. When she was converted to Christianity, she received a vision in which he had a mystical marriage with Jesus. She was tortured on a device that consisted of four wheels with nails. However, before she was about to be tortured, a lightning destroyed the device. Thereafter, she was beheaded. Saint Catherine is considered as the patron saint of education and science, of millers and wheelwrights. The building appeared to be a hospital. Hospital da Caridade, one of Brazil’s oldest hospitals. We did not enter the hospital.
Back to the quay. We came along the sambódromo, the site of the carnival parades; the convention center, and the statue of the founder of Florianópolis, Francisco Dias Velho. Curiously, his statue is located along the highway from Curitiba to Porto Alegre. The island of Santa Catarina – also called ‘Ilha da Magia (Island of Magic)’ – is not that small: from the center to the northernmost point is about 25 km, and to the southernmost point about 30 km. We approached the bridge, which connects the island with the mainland. The Ponte Hercílio Luz. It is quite weird, not to be on the immense mainland, but on a tiny island. Florianópolis is – together with Vitória (ES) and São Luís (MA) – one of the three Brazilian state capitals that is located on an island.
We finally arrived at Forte Santana (Santa Ana…). We almost had missed it, since it was not very visible from the wide avenida. Only large letters in the grass field indicated the location of an interesting fortress and weapon museum…
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
Original text in Dutch, translation with help of Google Translator
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