New Taunus Information Centre at the Hohemark

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - front viewThe new Taunus-Informationszentrum, or TIZ for short, opened this weekend.

Located just across the road from the end of the U3 train line, it is on the grounds of what used to be… the end of the U3 train line (or tram line 24 as it used to be called) which places it at the foot of the Feldberg.

The centre combines a general information point for visitors, with a restaurant for walkers and a hands-on exhibition about the nature and geology of the Taunus area.

Inside the main reception area there is a wide selection of brochures and detailed information about the towns in the Taunus area, but also about the routes for walkers and cyclists.  Much of this information is free of charge, but behind the desk there is also a selection of literature that can be purchased.

I was surprised to find that the centre was designed to cover such a wide area and it was a good reminder of how far large the Taunus area is and to find information on places such as Idstein, Grävenwiesbach, Usingen and Kelkheim.

 

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - rear view and Waldtraud restaurant

The rear of the building and the Waldtraud restaurant

On the other side of the building is the walkers’ resturant “Waldtraut”.  The name is a play on words, a mixture of the German name “Waltraut” or “Waltraud” and the word for forest “Wald”.  It suggests someone who is brave enough to enter the forest: wer sich ins Wald traut.

For the opening, the guests were entertained by the Powerhouse Swingtett – a jazz group from Neu Anspach.

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - the tram track bed

Part of the old track bed from the tramline

Around the corner on one side of the building there is a climbing wall.  I am sure that children will love to climb there in future whilst their parents are in the restaurant, but I think that they have taken a brave step in leaving the area so open.  Basically, anyone can use the wall, which has its own opening hours, but apparently the grips are low enough so as not to need constant supervision.

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - the climbing wall

The climbing wall

Back inside, the first floor contains a meeting room that can be hired and the main attraction for children: the hands-on exhibition.

Part of the exhibition is more high-tech, with satellite photos of the area and a video quiz, but others delve more into the geology.  Visitors can take a stone in and use a microscope and a set of reference stones to identify it.  There are also smaller stones available that can be mixed and put in a hot oven to “make” a new stone.

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - stone identification

Identifying a stone

Linguists will be particularly interested in the dialect cabin, where there are recordings of different versions of the Hessian dialect.

In fact, when I asked which languages the guides spoke in addition to German, Hessian was the first answer!  This is reflected in the signs in the building and in particular in the exhibition – it is exclusively in German, although the guides speak English and French, I was told that their target audience is not the foreign visitors to Germany, but people from the wider area, eg. from Frankfurt and the Rhein-Main area.

Taunus Informationszentrum (TIZ) - the exhibition

The exhibition

Considering how many foreigners live in that area alone, I would have thought that at least the signs would have been in both languages.

The services on offer are rounded off by bicycle hire during the summer months – electrical bicycles called “Pedelecs”, that is – and a cashpoint.

The Taunus-Informationszentrum is open in the summer from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Friday, and 10am to 6pm at the weekend.  In winter it closes at 3pm on weekdays and 4pm at weekends.  Bicycles can only be hired between May and October.

The restaurant is open every day from 10am to 11pm, with the outside climbing wall open from 9am to 10pm.

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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