All change here
A former station has travelled through time to arrive at a chic destination, finds Ann Goldberg
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Restored buildings add to the charm of the Tachanah
The Tachanah, the revamped old railway station at the southern end of Tel Aviv, is enjoying tremendous success since it reopened two years ago.
It is in a prime spot, between the newly renovated, yuppy area of Neve Zedek, replete with music and cultural centres and the beckoning Mediterranean Sea and just a few minutes' walk from Jaffa with its delightful old world charm.
From 1892-1948, this train station was a busy commercial centre, the main junction of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa train but after the State of Israel was declared, it lay neglected for decades until the latest restoration project was launched 10 years ago.
Now a cultural, leisure and entertainment centre, the Tachanah (don't try to translate it, if you ask for the "station", which would be a literal translation, you will be directed to the real bus or railway station) is an eclectic mix of the old and the new, traditional and modern.
Many of the old station buildings have been restored and two original carriages have been given a new lease of life and serve as a photographic exhibition of the restoration. Many other historical buildings have been carefully restored to form part of this 49-acre complex attesting to the various architectural styles that have left their imprint on Tel Aviv.
There is a charming mix of art, fashion, literature and music, in the form of shops, exhibitions and performances, as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants.
Each area has its own theme and children are well catered for. There is a delightful corner with children's toys and activities, toy shops which offer you a chance to try out some of the tricky puzzles, an arts and crafts corner and regular entertainment.
Gil Klein, the manager of the Tachanah, is bubbling with ideas for future projects, the most important of which he feels is putting the two very large old warehouses, which are currently sitting empty, to good use.
Klein says that one will be for children's activities, including skating and other sports and the other will be used for music and culture. Work is starting this month on adapting and redesigning the building slotted for children's enjoyment.
Last year saw a wide variety of activities, which attracted thousands of locals and tourists alike. Among the attractions was a beer garden, a festival of the Negev, a chefs' market at which several chefs prepared their speciality food, a festival of home and design, a musical festival and a fashion weekend - and there are weekly organic farmers' markets and arts and crafts fairs.
This coming year at the Tachanah promises another varied programme of amusements and culture for the whole family.