On a hill similar to others from a more industrial time in Germany’s history, you will find a rollercoaster which functions as a staircase. Now this may be hard to comprehend, however, with a little explanation of its name, the idea comes to life. The designers wanted to create something both iconic and also as an attraction to the area. This is typical of many coal hills left in Nord-Rhine Westphalen, to have an obscure attraction constructed at the summit, whether it be the Tetraraeder in Bottrop or the Sonnenuhr in Herten. Instead of removing the hills at great cost or selling the land, the authorities have decided that these remnants of industry would be better suited as attractions that are to be embraced.
The name stems from the potential speed of a tiger, in that a rollercoaster is usually incredibly quick, but that travelling by foot is the only way to do so, in comparison a turtle-like approach. Despite this, if it was a rollercoaster (admittedly that would be great if it were), the appreciation of the curves and sights from it would be nowhere as enjoyable. It may look small to walk around, but there are 249 steps, at some points the inclines get to over 45°, and the highest point of the walkable track is 45 metres above ground level at the bottom of the hill.
Needless to say there are amazing views across the Ruhr from the top. At night the track lights up using 880 LEDs for an after dark turtle-speed rollercoaster experience. The track has been immaculately designed, in my opinion, there are so many angles that this sculpture creates amazing alignment, not just with itself, but with the surrounding landscape. Not least when looking towards the centre piece of the track; the loop. This not only creates an incredibly focal point of the piece and a great frame to taking photos, but also what you are probably thinking is a great challenge; to walk the loop.
Needless to say, walking this mammoth of engineering certainly is an experience, and one of the best ways to view the ever changing urban landscape around. A lot can be taken away from the design of the Tiger & Turtle Magic Mountain, and from the installations atop similar coal hills. Don’t bury the past, build from it.
A print of the Tiger & Turtle is available from my print shop here.