Have you ever thought when was the first time when people used rails to ease the transportation? Well, it was in the ages of ancient Greece. Back then people used horse-drawn wagons on simple wooden rails. Wagon ways were popular in Europe from 1500s through 1800s. Mechanized train systems first appeared in England in the beginning of 19th century. England was the first in one other invention, the first train station in the modern meaning. The first train station opened in 1830 in Manchester – the Liverpool Road Station.
Now and then stations were and continue to be, not only starting or ending point of a journey. Stations are important part of the world’s architectural heritage. You can see breathtaking stations all over the world, beautiful examples of design, decoration and functionality. From rich baroque interiors to simple and modernistic pieces of architecture.
In our list we chose 10 of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
Antwerpen Central Station
Antwerpen Central Station is called “Railway Cathedral” with a reason. It is probably the most impressing train station in Europe. Built in the last decade of 19th century, even today it keeps its original spirit. The building was planned with a huge dome, 400 meters long building in neo-baroque style. The decoration inside is spectacular with more than 20 types of marvel. Above the platforms you see iron and glass ceiling which is now restored. Outside it is no less impressing! The façade reveals beautiful stained glass rosettes, little towers and carvings.
Gare du Nord in Paris
Gare du Nord is the pearl of French stations. It was finished in 1846. It is facing a huge number of travelers every year. It is the busiest train station in Europe. Gare du Nord is constructed in Beaux-Arts style. The station has monumental look. The main beam is made of cast iron with many supporting columns inside, also made of iron. The station is covered with huge glass windows illuminating the interior. The central hall is enormous – 216 feet wide and 600 feet long. At the cornice of the façade 23 allegorical female sculptures are placed. They represent the cities served by the railway back then. In the center we can see the figure of Paris. Gare gu Nord is painted by Claude Monet and this is one of his most famous paintings of stations.
Atocha Station in Madrid
Atocha Station is great example of functional symbiosis with its exotic garden inside. The station first finished in 1851 suffered devastating fire and was rebuilt into the building we see now. Brick and iron structure with steel and glass roof over the platforms. In 1992 the station changed its purpose as a terminal and was transformed into a shopping center. The botanical garden covers 4000 square meters and contains more than 260 species and 7000 plants. The roof is 27 meters high and some of the palms inside almost reach it.
St Pancras International in London
St Pancras station opened doors in 1868 and since then it has been famous worldwide for its Victorian architectural style. Pure, symmetric and harmonic gothic building and firm façade. With its red colored bricks and towers, St Pancras might have been constructed as a station, but looks more like small castle. The station has long history of more than 20 years of reconstruction. Part of the building was designed as a hotel, attached transversely to the head of the station. In the time St Pancras was finished it was the largest enclosed space in England. Now under the station’s roof you can find many shops, coffees, restaurants and bars.
Estacao de Sao Bento in Porto
Portugal is famous with its fine ceramics and this is the reason the station Sao Bento to be such an interesting place. The architecture of the building is not object of admiration, but once you get inside you will see high walls, covered with more than 20 000 pieces of ceramic tiles. The blue and white ceramic murals depict scenes from Portugal’s history. The author of the murals is Jorge Colaco and he spent 14 years of hard work to complete the interior. The façade is made of stone and is inspired by Parisian architecture.
Hungerburg Station Innsbruck
Hungerburg is funicular station and has long history. Although today’s look is relatively new – since 2002, thr funicular exists since 1906 and went through many reconstructions. But in 2002, the architect Zaha Hadid designed the new vision of the station. It is futuristic and abstract with soft forms of glass and light. Zaha Hadid idea was to build artificial landscape with shapes, which remind ice and recall to scenes from real nature in the mountain.
Hunderburg station is not the only station designed by the architect and by her own words – “Shell and Shadow” are the two contrasting elements, which generate formal logic. When you get inside the station you have the feeling of floating space.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai
Get ready for complex words and even more complex architecture. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Station is designed by Frederick Stevens, a structure influenced by Victorian Gothic architecture. It was finished in 1887 and now is one of the busiest railway stations in India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is great example of colonial architectural Revival design, the point where the east meats the west. The station is considered as one of the greatest engineering achievements.
Victorian elements are softly mixed with traditional Indian palace architecture- this style is sometimes called “Bombay Gothic”. The ground plan, the arches and the skylines, or in other words – the significant elements are closer to the Indian visual tradition. In close up, the building has rich ornaments of flowers and animals. The central dome is octagonal structure and in its center is placed the statue of Progress. In 2008 the station became target of terrorist attack and more than 50 people died.
Sirkeci Station in Istanbul
One more strange, but beautiful union of eastern and western artistic visions. Sirkeci Station is constructed in oriental Art Nouveau style. It brings us the feeling of Middle East spirit, but it still has major European traces. The combination of bright colours of the walls, red bricks and stone makes the station something more than just a terminus. You can see stained glass windows, which allow the light to reach the interior with colourful tones. The station was built in 1890 as an ending point of the Orient Express route. Except the façade, the platforms are one the most beautiful places in the station. The interior is still a little bit plain, although it has its coziness.
Kuala Lumpur Station
Kuala Lumpur Station is one of the main sightseeing points in the city. It looks like a fairy tale castle with its white exterior and oriental domes. The building is designed by A.B. Hubbock in 1910 under the influence of British colonial style, but the final result was astonishing piece of art. It might seem as an eclectic mix of styles, but actually the dominating style is Islamic Moorish Revival architecture – different styles of arches, calligraphy, vegetative design, and decorative tiles, combined with European traditions in construction and engineering.
Arches and repeated motifs can be seen all over the façade. One more interesting tendency can be found in Kuala Lumpur architectural design – it uses verandas and colonnades with renaissance look. Now the station serves only commuter trains.
Kazansky Station in Moscow
Typical example of imperial Russian building, the Kazansky Station is very interesting to visit and observe. It is tall building, which mixes several types of architectural styles – Art Nouveau, typical Kremlin style and Rococo interior. The Kremlin style is difficult to describe, as it brings old Slavic elements into new vision, combined with Italian renaissance decorations of the facades and multiple towers. The Imperial Russian style is often described as eclectic, but it’s still beautiful and most of all monumental.
The interior of the station is bright, rich decorated with golden floral reliefs, murals and ornaments. Inside you can see murals, white cornices and colorful marble. Inside the hall, the station Is magnificent and a person feels like a tiny part of one big idea.
If you find yourself in hurry to for your train, keep in mind our London train station transfer service is what can save the day!