The Staircase Experts

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Germany’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Turtle External Staircase


Do you want a roller coaster-like experience without the white-knuckled hurl factor that will allow you to walk the twists at a turtle’s pace?

One of the staircases today that really have a lasting impression is the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Turtle, Magic Mountain in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Situated at the Heinrich Hildebrand Heights, it is a piece of landscape art that was designed by the sculptors, Ulrich Genth and Heike Mutter for the Duisburg’s Capital of Culture project. The sculpture is a roller coaster inspired work of art without the unpleasant hurl factor. This external spiral stairs allow visitors to walk the twists and turns at a turtle’s pace, hence the Hidden Turtle part in the name. Visitors will not only experience this unique staircase but also the Ruhr landscape of the surrounding area as well.


The title embodies the potential speed, agility and power from a crouching tiger about to leap on its prey while the turtle aspect refers to the slow speed at which the viewer can appreciate the sculpture and the experience. This beautiful staircase is constructed from steel and zinc, paying homage to the spot where it sits, which used to be a zinc mining site and as a tribute to Duisberg’s steel manufacturing company, Krupp Mannesmann before it was turned into a recreational space. The sculpture took eight weeks to assemble and it costs €1.7M.


The design intrigued locals and tourists especially the loop, which is the only inaccessible part of the sculpture. The design is true to its roller coaster form and the stairs go up and down. Prepare yourself, as your sense of vertigo and gravity will come into play. At some points, it stands at eleven meters high, delivering a rush of different emotions.  These types of sculptures are typically called phenomenology, which began in Germany in the early twentieth century as philosophers coined the term, which is inherently focused on man’s existentialist, the body’s engagement to his surroundings. In art, it began with artists such as Cezanne and Picasso, who liberated this art form from former conventions by focusing on colour and form. The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Turtle has its multi-sensory approach, which visitors should experience as they traverse this unique art.


If you happen to visit Daisburg, you should visit this roller coaster without a roller coaster. This staircase sculpture art is open to the public. A ticket costs €1.7 or $2.30. During the holidays, expect to wait in a long line as many tourists visit to feel the unique experience it offers and the beautiful Ruhr landscape.

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2014 by in Famous Staircases and tagged , , , , , .
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