TextandPhotos: Rapha Aretakis
Pomerode, a small town that belongs to the touristic circuit “European Valley” in the state of Santa Catarina, is a piece of German heritage in Brazil. There we find the largest collection of half-timbered buildings outside Germany, a style called Enxaimel in portuguese. Around 300 buildings are scattered all over the city, but 50 of these are found along the touristic “Enxaimel Route”. These houses, along with the rural area of Pomerode, since 2011, are recognized as Brazilian Cultural Landscape by IPHAN(a governmental Institute responsible for preservation of Brazil’s historical and artistic heritage).This style of construction has its origin uncertain, but it’s usually attributed to the Germans. The half-timbered (or Fachwerk, in German) is the result of woods docked together with their spaces filled by bricks or stones.
We chose to drive the 16 kilometers of Enxaimel Route, but this path can be done by bike – what would be really nice – or even by walking. In fact, asPomerode has a large countryside, the focus there is the ecotourism, therefore, it’s a great place to practice horseback riding, trekking, canoeing, mountain biking and fishing. The route is bucolic and full of green, we can see widgeons and ducks crossing the street, huge plantations of cabbage, flowers and, for a moment, you forget you are in Brazil.
I wonder how many other beautiful surprises like this are now hidden in this country. As a native of the Northeast of Brazil, I’m familiar with a coast side landscape – also beautiful – but totally different. I’m happy to see all this diversity with my own eyes and share it all here. This route is a contemplation ride and should be ridden slowly, in the rhythm of the city. The signalization of this route is not perfect, so the tourist may get confused, but not bad enough to get lost, however the scenery is so beautiful that we forget this detail. I was absolutely dazzled by the strong presence of Germany within Brazil.
During the month of January the trace of German immigration is even stronger. Over 10 days of summer the Pomeranian Party or «Festa Pomerana«takes place, resembling – in a minor scale – the Oktoberfest from Munich.Around 40,000 people, tourists and locals, gather to toast, sing and keep the traditionalive passing from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting clubs, folk dancing groups and traditional Easter (Osterfest) and Christmas (Weihnachten) celebrations are some of the many other legacies of these immigrants. By visiting Pomerode is also possible to dive in German culture through gastronomy: there are many restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and beer gardens where visitors can taste typical German delights (eisbein, kassler, breads, sweets, pies and sausages), and, nowadays, thecraft breweries of the region offer an excellent beer quality, respecting the Reinheitsgebot, which is the ‘GermanBeer Purity Law’.
All that said, visit Pomerode is like travel to Germany without leaving Brazil.
Rapha Aretakis is a travel writer and creator of the travel websiteRaphanomundo. Born in Recife – northeast of Brazil, believes that the world is too big to stand at one place only. She lives now in Curitiba after spending some springs in Stuttgart, Berlin and Sao Paulo.