Radio Canada International and its partners collaborated to bring you soundscapes and images of similar places in each of our countries: Canada, Poland, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Romania.
2nd episode: Train stations
Montreal Central Station (Québec, Canada)
Central Station opened in 1943. It is the second-busiest rail station in Canada, after Toronto's Union Station (Ontario, Canada).
The station is adorned with art deco bas-relief friezes on its interior and exterior walls. The east and west interior walls of the station feature two large bas-reliefs depicting Canadian life, arts and industry. Included in the bas-reliefs are some of the lyrics of Canada's national anthem, O Canada. The lyrics are in French on the east side of the station and in English on the west side.
The North Station in Bucharest, Romania
The North Station in Bucharest is the biggest railway station in Romania. Approximately 300 trains are arriving in and departing from this station every day. The station was built between 1868 and 1872, the building being included on the list of historical monuments in Bucharest. Even if it was not designed to be the main station in Bucharest, it has become the main railway node of the Capital City and of Romania, but it was already too small to accommodate the growing flow of traffic as early as 1880. The communist period saw a spectacular growth in railway transport, but the number of passengers has plummeted all across Romania since 1990. Among other issues, the precarious state of the station also led to the reduction of rail traffic. As early as 1906, when the famous Orient Express train was inaugurated, the North Station in Bucharest was included as a stop on this route. At present, the Orient Express is running twice a year.
Main station in Zurich, Switzerland
Switzerland is known around the world for having a dense and well-organized railway network, where the trains run on time and to all corners of the country. That’s no small feat considering the Alps spread over about 60% of Switzerland’s geographical area. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is the largest railway company and handles the majority of national and international traffic. According to the SBB, there are about 10,600 trains and 1.26 million passengers per day. Furthermore, there are about 800 railway stations and stops in Switzerland. Zurich main station is the largest of these: it has multiple platforms, facilities and shops above and below ground.
Railway station in Warsaw, Poland
Warszawa Centralna is the main railway station in Warsaw, Poland. It construction began in 1972 and was a flagship project during the Communist-era. The station is located in the very center of the city. Some years ago the grey concrete building had a refurbishment and the main hall has more light and a more friendly atmosphere. 2017 Warszawa Centralna was used by 15,1 Million passengers. Every day nearly 1000 trains run through. You can catch a direct train to capitals like Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Kiev or Moscow.
Main railway station in Prague, Czech republic
The main railway station in Prague is the largest passenger railway station in the Czech Republic. The historical building above the railroad is also the largest Art Nouveau monument in the country. Work on it started in 1869 and its present-day appearance is the result of a recent reconstruction made according to the original design by architect Josef Fanta.
The station handles 27 million passengers annually.
1st episode: Churches
Mass at the Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha in Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada
Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), a Mohawk woman from Kahnawake − an Indigenous community near Montreal (Quebec, Canada) −, was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2012. On October 21st 2018, a special mass was celebrated for the 6th anniversary of her canonization at the St. Francis Xavier Mission, in Kahnawake, which also houses her shrine. The choir sings in Mohawk and some of the prayers are also in that language.
Churches in Romania
86.5% of the Romanians have declared themselves Orthodox Christians, in the latest census. What's the sound of an Orthodox mass in Romania, in a centuries-old monastery with World Heritage frescoes in the region of Bukovina, in a district church, in the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest or in a small wooden church in Maramures County?
A Church in Arlesheim, Switzerland
The majority of Swiss people are Christians, most of them Roman Catholics. A 2016 report showed that about 70% of Swiss visited a place of worship at most five times a year. The number of believers has dropped in the past few years. In October 2018, Arlesheim Cathedral community welcomed their new pastor Sylvester Ihuoma in a solemn mass. The cathedral was built in the 1680s and is known for its impressive late Baroque architecture.
A church in Warsaw, Poland
About 93% of Poles declare themselves to be Catholics. But even in Poland is the number of church service attendees falling. By 2016, the figure had dropped to 36.7%. Despite the fall, the Sunday mass remains for many Poles a very important part of life.
A church in Prague, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in the world. The number of believers has consistently been dropping and has halved in the course of the last two decades. Only a fifth of Czech citizens claim to belong to a faith. Only a tenth of believers go to church regularly, at least once a month. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of followers.