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Destination Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná.
The former railway station has been transformed into a modern shopping mall with museums.
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We arrived on the campus of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), in the heart of Curitiba, late in the afternoon. A small group decided not to stay, but to find a pousada. I joined this group. A little while later, our group of seven found a nice pousada near the center, within walking distance of a major shopping mall, Shopping Estação.
A train as museum piece
The railway line between Curitiba and Paranaguá – a city 120 km east of Curitiba, on the Atlantic coast – was inaugurated in 1883. Two years later, the construction of the station in Curitiba was finished. More railway lines operated from this station to different parts of Paraná. Only in 1909, Curitiba’s isolation came to an end with the opening of the railway between the city and the northern cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and, one year later, it was possible to travel by train to the more southern city of Porto Alegre. In the sixties of the past century the highway to São Paulo became a faster alternative than the train, and caused the decline of the railway. The lines were finally shut down in the nineties. A steam locomotive on the last piece of track that has been preserved is clearly visible in the present building – now a multifunctional shopping mall – as memory of this period.
Closer view of the train
In 1997 the refurbished station reopened, and the huge building now houses an indoor shopping with 170 shops, two theaters, four museums, and ten cinemas. It also houses a vast open space surrounded by several dozen bars and restaurants, there is room for 1700 guests. It is very interesting to notice that one may draw long-sized plastic bags to store a folded wet umbrella inside.
Small-scale model of the shopping
The shopping hosts no less than four museums. The biggest and most interesting for me was the railway museum, with a nice overview of the history of the railways in Curitiba and surroundings. The second museum that drew my attention was the perfume museum, with a large collection of antique and modern perfume brands. Number three was the pharmacy museum, which housed a replica of an antique pharmacy. The fourth museum, which I have not visited, was a small museum about nature and environment. This museum was, in contrast to the other three museums, not free to visit and had limited opening hours.
Entrance of the railway museum
We had visited this multifunctional shopping several times: for a quick snack, for making photographs, for a visit to its museums, and for some small purchases.
|Shopping Estação, Curitiba, Brazil
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007