26 lip 2010

Łódź



I visited Łódź for the second time and would like to recommend you a short trip there. From Warsaw it's easy to go there by train (interRegio is the cheapest option).

Firstly, Łódź means "a boat" and it's feminine (ta Łódź, jadę do Łodzi).

It's a city known by the textile industry which grew in the XIXth century. Immigrants from all over Europe came there allured by the vision of the possible wealth. Poles, Jews, Germans and Russians lived in Łódź together, did business and often went bankrupt. Some manufacturers were very rich and built beautiful residences and tenement houses (kamienica) but the mass was struggling and starving. I don’t have to write what working conditions you could face in the early capitalism. Russian authorities weren’t keen on investing in Łódź – for example the first sewage system was built in the 1920s so life wasn’t very pleasurable in this wild city.

Łódź wasn’t destroyed during the WW II so you can visit old factories and see different architecture. Many buildings are renovated but many aren’t so you will feel more like in the East then West. The main street is called Piotrkowska and it’s almost nice – the main problem is the same as everywhere in Poland – authorities don’t control the number and shape of banners and ads so we have an ugly and chaotic colourful mix which spoils the view. I really can’t stand it, in Warsaw it’s the same.



In the beginning of the XXth century Łódź was one of the biggest Jewish city in the world (240 000 inhabitants). There is the biggest Jewish cemetery in Europe. When you go there it’s good to see the old Radegast Station – from where Nazis deported Jews to the extermination camps. Today’s Łódź is only Polish but you can see many signs of the multicultural past.

So what to see in Łódź? It depends how much time do you have. If not much – Piotrkowska, the Museum of Łódź with the exhibition about famous inhabitants and unique interiors, Manufaktura – the great shopping, entertainment and cultural complex in the old factory. Oh and the perfect hotel... You don’t need any transport, everything is very close. But if you don’t like to walk you can always take a cycle rickshaw (Polish riksza) or a Segway.



If you have more time there’s also a good-looking museum of contemporary art, the little sewage canal museum, the old building museum, famous Film School museum and many other places to visit.

Where to eat? I encourage you to visit a Jewish-Polish restaurant to try a local cuisine.

And I really recommend you one of the best Polish movies ever “Ziemia obiecana” (“The Promised Land” - 1974) by Andrzej Wajda based on the novel of Władysław Reymont (1899) about a Pole, German and Jew who do business together in Łódź. Fantastic actors, plot, pictures. Here you will find the movie.

And last but not least a nice but a bit too long video about Łódź in English:

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