Monday, August 1, 2011

HaTachana Train Station

HaTachana Tel Aviv
Today, HaTachana, located near the Mediterranean shoreline, is one of Tel Aviv's most happening outdoor destinations. Peppered with restaurants, cafes, interesting boutiques, outdoor markets and entertainment, it is hard to believe it was ever any other way.  However, HaTachana's revamped exterior is a relatively new addition to the country. Here's a little peek into how it used to look:

To the left is a photo of HaTachana circa 1892, when the location was used as the terminus station for the Jaffa to Jerusalem railway route. The train station was a monumental development, providing the first efficient mode of transportation between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. You can see in these images people from the late 1800s awaiting on the HaTachana platform. You can't help but wonder how different life must have been and how excited people must have been to have quick public transportation for the first time. 



Though the train station was in use for some years after its 1892 opening, the railway eventually closed, leaving the prime piece of real estate property to fall into decay. For nearly 60 years, the Tel Aviv-Yaffo terminus station, once a bustling meeting point, sat dwindling as a dilapidated ghost town. Lo and behold, to its rescue came the Tel Aviv Yaffo Municipality who made a bid to rehabilitate and restore the unused train station to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a vibrant art, shopping and entertainment complex.


Today, HaTachana's refurbishment is still quite young. However, the Municipality's project was an instant success, as HaTachana immediately became one of the more popular meeting spots in town with its 16 buildings, including busy restaurants, bars and cafes; art galleries and historical settings; and shops boasting local and international brands. It's the perfect place to spend a lazy day outdoors, to meet up with friends day or night, and to enjoy outdoor markets and planned entertainment activities.



The transformation into what has become one of the city’s hottest spots has not ignored the landmark's historical  heritage, and thus, the complex includes a jumble of refurbished rail cars, freight terminals and train tracks to nowhere. There’s even a disused cement factory, circa 1905, that has been repurposed as retail space.


Reopened in 2010, HaTachana has established itself as a leader of leisure in the local community. The entire complex, with its combination of carefully restored buildings, abides by a strict set of conservation rules applied by the Tel Aviv Municipality. Thus, the result of these uncompromising conservation rules has turned HaTachana into a very aesthetic place. Additionally, the proximity of the Old Train Station to the beach makes the complex a very special place to visit,  especially at sunset and at night.  If you haven't been yet, I highly suggest you make a visit, especially in the coming month since there's much ado on the agenda.


Here's a look at the Upcoming Events this month at HaTachana:

August 3, Basis Exhibition: Graduates of the Basis School of Sculpting and Drawing will present seven different exhibitions of individual interpretations through art and sculpture of inner peace.

August 11-13, Tu B’Av – The Holiday of Love: Restaurants and cafes will have special “romantic” menus, while the complex is decorated in the spirit of the holiday. Thursday and Saturday night will feature various concerts and stores will offer discounts on certain items.

August 18-20, Tel Aviv Fashion Weekend: 50 different designers will present their latest designs, including new and upcoming designers as well as renowned favorites. Various exhibitions throughout the weekend will present the works of top fashion design students, photography students, video art and fashion production collections, as well as musical performances such as jazz and acoustic freestyle.
Hours: Thursday, 17:00-23:00, Friday 10:00-19:00, Saturday 10:00-22:00

August 23 – September 3, “’Strangers’ an Exhibition”: A social photography project depicting the lives of 15 different families, all foreign workers in Israel. Over the course of three months, 15 photographers followed the families who each came to Israel from a different country. 

August 24, Negev Exhibition: Get to know artists, craftsmen and small business owners from the Negev Desert, located in the south of Israel. Throughout the day, local and international visitors of the Tachana complex will be exposed to the various goods the Negev has to offer – agricultural goods, artwork, tourist attractions, a farmers market, ecological and renewable energy products as well as several Negev inventions. 

August 25 – September 7, “From Jaffa to Tel Aviv” an Architectural Exhibition: Jaffa, one of Tel Aviv’s most diverse neighborhoods, is the inspiration for this year’s exhibition. A culturally diverse city in the center of Israel, Jaffa has become the center of attention for developers after years of neglect. Combining history, culture, and diversity, the exhibition leads the way to the renewal and economic growth of the old port city. 

Throughout August: street performances, sculptures, acrobatics and couple dancing.

And here's a look at the Weekly Happenings at HaTachana:

Every Wednesday afternoon: performances especially for children.

Every Thursday evening (19:00-24:00) – Design Station: 25 hand-picked designers will sell individual designs including industrial, jewelry, bags, accessories, flowers and even food. This outdoor market is accompanied by live music and entertainment.

Every Friday morning (8:00-15:00)
– Urban Ecologic Market: This would be your typical  food-based farmer's market with individual vendors offering fresh fruits, vegetables, pastas, pita, spices, sweets and other delicacies.

HaTachana is open daily from 10am to 10pm, but soon plans to be open around the clock. Situated midway between the cute port town of Jaffa and the busy beaches of Tel Aviv, it is an easy walk from either location. The complex's address is at the following: HaTachana Complex, 1 Koifmann St., Tel Aviv Yaffo.

As the NY Times put it, HaTachana is “like being on the fast track to Tel Aviv’s new-school cool.” Definitely sounds like it's worth it to make a visit back there soon. Looking forward to enjoying the August events.

Modern day HaTachana Station, Tel Aviv

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