Łódź

Łódź
Lodz
Manufaktura, an arts centre, shopping mall, and leisure complex
Poznański Palace, seat of the Museum of the City of Łódź
Masa 2013 07.jpg
Światłowski Villa in the Wooden Architecture Skansen near the White Factory
Łódź Fabryczna railway station
Winter in Helenów Park
Motto(s): 
Ex navicula navis ("From a boat a ship")
Łódź is located in Łódź Voivodeship
Łódź
Łódź
Location of Łódź in Łódź Voivodeship
Show map of Łódź Voivodeship
Łódź is located in Poland
Łódź
Łódź
Łódź (Poland)
Show map of Poland
Coordinates: 51°46′37″N 19°27′17″E / 51.77694°N 19.45472°E / 51.77694; 19.45472Coordinates: 51°46′37″N 19°27′17″E / 51.77694°N 19.45472°E / 51.77694; 19.45472
Country  Poland
Voivodeship  Łódź
County city county
City Rights 1423
Government
 • Mayor Hanna Zdanowska (PO)
Area
 • City 293.25 km2 (113.22 sq mi)
Highest elevation
278 m (912 ft)
Lowest elevation
162 m (531 ft)
Population
 (31 December 2020)
 • City 672,185 Decrease (3rd)[1]
 • Density 2,320/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
1,100,000
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
90-001 to 94–413
Area code(s) +48 42
Car plates EL
Website www.uml.lodz.pl

Łódź,[a] also rendered in English as Lodz,[b] is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial centre. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 672,185 (2020).[1] It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is located approximately 120 km (75 mi) south-west of Warsaw.[8] The city's coat of arms is an example of canting, as it depicts a boat (łódź in Polish), which alludes to the city's name.

Łódź was once a small settlement that first appeared in 14th-century records. It was granted town rights in 1423 by Polish King Władysław II Jagiełło and it remained a private town of the Kuyavian bishops and clergy until the late 18th century. The Second Industrial Revolution brought rapid growth in textile manufacturing and in population owing to the inflow of migrants, notably Germans and Jews. Ever since the industrialization of the area the city has struggled with multinationalism and social inequalities, as documented in the novel The Promised Land by Nobel Prize-winning author Władysław Reymont. The contrasts greatly reflected on the architecture of the city, where luxurious mansions coexisted with red-brick factories and dilapidated tenement houses.[9]

The industrial development and demographic surge made Łódź one of the largest cities in Poland. Under the German occupation during World War II Łódź was briefly renamed Litzmannstadt in honour of Karl Litzmann. The city's large Jewish population was forced into a walled zone known as the Łódź Ghetto, from where they were sent to German concentration and extermination camps. The city became Poland's temporary seat of power in 1945.

Łódź experienced a sharp demographic and economic decline after 1989. It was only in the 2010s that the city began to experience revitalization of its neglected downtown area.[10][11] Łódź is ranked by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network on the “Sufficiency” level of global influence[12] and is internationally known for its National Film School, a cradle for the most renowned Polish actors and directors, including Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski.[9] In 2017, the city was inducted into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and named UNESCO City of Film.[13]

History

Sigillum oppidi Lodzia - seal dating back to 1577

Łódź first appears in the written record in a 1332 document of Duke Władysław the Hunchback, which gave the village of Łodzia to the bishops of Włocławek. In 1423 King Władysław II Jagiełło officially granted city rights to the village of Łódź. From then until the 18th century the town remained a small settlement on a trade route between the provinces of Masovia and Silesia. In 1496 Polish King John I Albert confirmed the establishment of two annual fairs and a weekly market in Łódź. In the 16th century the town had fewer than 800 inhabitants, mostly working on the surrounding grain farms.

With the second partition of Poland in 1793, Łódź became part of the Kingdom of Prussia's province of South Prussia, and was known in German as Lodsch. In 1798 the Prussians nationalised the town, and it lost its status as a town of the bishops of Kuyavia. In 1806 Łódź joined the Napoleonic Duchy of Warsaw and in 1810 it had approximately 190 inhabitants. After the 1815 Congress of Vienna treaty, it became part of the Congress Kingdom of Poland, a client state of the Russian Empire.

Century of partitions: 1815 Congress of Vienna

Synagogue
The Great Synagogue was the main prayer house for the local Jewish community. It was destroyed during World War II
Tenement house of Mieczysław Pinkus in Łódź, ca. 1986
Many tenement houses often reflected the social status of owners and industrialists

In the 1815 treaty, the renewal of the dilapidated town was planned. After a decree by the Czar in 1816, a number of German immigrants received territory deeds and other incentives to clear the land and to build factories and housing. These incentives for settlement included: exemption from tax obligations for a period of six years, free materials to build houses, perpetual lease of land for construction, exemption from military service, or duty-free transport of the immigrants’ livestock.[14] In 1820 Stanisław Staszic aided in changing the small town into a modern industrial center. The immigrants came to the Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana, the city's nickname) from all over Europe. Mostly they arrived from Saxony, Silesia and Bohemia, but also from countries as far away as Portugal, England, France, and Ireland.[citation needed] The first cotton mill opened in 1825, and 14 years later the very first steam-powered factory in both Poland and the Russian Empire commenced operations. In 1839, over 78% of the population was German,[15] and German schools and churches were established.

A constant influx of workers, businessmen, and craftsmen from all over Europe transformed Łódź into the main textile production centre of the Russian Empire spanning from East-Central Europe all the way to Alaska. While the town was small, the majority of the town's population was German speaking.[16] Three groups then dominated the city's population and contributed the most to the city's development: Germans, Poles, and Jews, who started to arrive from 1848. Many of the Łódź craftspeople were weavers from Upper and Lower Silesia.

In 1850, Russia abolished the customs barrier between Congress Poland and Russia proper and therefore industry in Łódź could now develop freely with a huge Russian market not far away. Eventually, the city became the second-largest city of Congress Poland. In 1865 the first railroad line opened (to Koluszki, branch line of the Warsaw–Vienna railway), and soon the city had rail links with Warsaw and Białystok.

Izrael Poznański Factory
Izrael Poznański Factory in 1895
Liberty Square in Łódź during World War II
Liberty Square pictured during the Second World War. The statue of Tadeusz Kościuszko was later dismantled by the German army

One of the most important industrialists of Łódź was Karl Wilhelm Scheibler.[17] In 1852 he came to Łódź and with Julius Schwarz together started buying property and building several factories. Scheibler later bought out Schwarz's share and thus became sole owner of a large business. After he died in 1881 his widow and other members of the family decided to pay homage to his memory by erecting a chapel, intended as a mausoleum with family crypt, in the Lutheran part of the Łódź cemetery on ulica Ogrodowa (later known as The Old Cemetery).[18]

Between 1823 and 1873, the city's population doubled every ten years. The years 1870–1890 marked the period of most intense industrial development in the city's modern history. Many of the industrialists were of Jewish ethnicity. Łódź also soon became a major centre of the socialist movement. One of the first strikes broke out in the Scheibler's factory in 1872, followed by the so-called Łódź rebellion(pl) in 1892, that paralyzed most of the factories and manufacturing plants and was ended by a military intervention.[19] According to the Russian census of 1897, in which Łódź figured as the fifth-largest city of the Russian Empire,[20] out of the total population of 315,000, Jews constituted 99,000 (around 31%).[21] In 1899, brothers Władysław and Antoni Krzemiński from the Polish noble family of Krzemiński of Prus III coat of arms founded the first cinema in Poland (Gabinet Iluzji) at Piotrkowska Street.[22] During the 1905 Revolution, in what became known as the June Days or Łódź insurrection, Tsarist police killed hundreds of workers.[23] By 1913, the German population had fallen from 78% in 1839 [15] to 14.8%, the Poles constituted almost half of the population (49.7%), and the Jews made up 34%, out of some 506,000 inhabitants.[15]

Despite the air of impending crisis preceding World War I, the city grew constantly until 1914. By that year it had become one of the most densely populated as well as one of the most polluted industrial cities in the world—13,280/km2 (34,400/sq mi). A major battle was fought near the city in late 1914, and as a result the city came under German occupation after 6 December[24][25][26] but with Polish independence restored in November 1918 the local population liberated the city and disarmed the German troops. In the aftermath of World War I, Łódź lost approximately 40% of its inhabitants, mostly owing to draft, diseases, pollution, and primarily because of the mass expulsion of the city's German population.

Restored Poland after the First World War

In 1922, following the establishment of the Second Polish Republic, Łódź became the capital of the Łódź Voivodeship, but the period of rapid growth had ceased. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the Customs war with Germany closed western markets to Polish textiles while the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and the Civil War in Russia (1918–1922) put an end to the most profitable trade with the East. The city became a scene of a series of huge workers' protests and riots in the interbellum.

On 13 September 1925 a new airport, Lublinek Airport, began operations on the outskirts of the city. In the interwar years Łódź continued to be a diverse and multicultural city, with the 1931 Polish census showing that the total population of roughly 604,000 included 375,000 (59%) Poles, 192,000 (32%) Jews and 54,000 (9%) Germans (determined from the main language used). By 1939, the Jewish minority had grown to well over 200,000.[27]

Occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany

Invading German troops in Łódź in September 1939

During the invasion of Poland, the Polish forces of General Juliusz Rómmel's Łódź Army defended the city against initial German attacks.[28] The Wehrmacht nevertheless captured the city on 8 September.[28] The German Einsatzgruppe III entered the city on 12 September.[29] On 16 September, the local German head of administration took over, and afterwards German attacks on local Poles and Jews intensified.[30] Already in September 1939, the Germans carried out first arrests of Poles as part of the Intelligenzaktion and established first prisons for arrested Poles, and in November 1939 the Radogoszcz concentration camp was established, which would be soon converted into the infamous Radogoszcz prison.[31]

Despite plans for the city to become a Polish enclave attached to the General Government, the Nazi hierarchy respected the wishes of many ethnically German residents and of the Reichsgau Wartheland governor Arthur Greiser by annexing the city to Nazi Germany on 9 November 1939. The Germans then destroyed the monument of Polish national hero Tadeusz Kościuszko.[30] As part of the Intelligenzaktion, many Poles arrested in Łódź, Pabianice and other nearby settlements were imprisoned in the Radogoszcz camp and then deported to other German concentration camps or mostly murdered in the forests in the present-day district of Łagiewniki and the nearby village of Lućmierz-Las.[31] Hundreds of Poles were massacred there in late 1939 and early 1940, including teachers, activists, local officials, journalists, lawyers, parliamentarians, etc.[31] Many Germans in the city, however, refused to sign the Volksliste and become Volksdeutsche; they were deported by the General Government. The city was given the new name of "Litzmannstadt" after Karl Litzmann, the German general who had captured it during World War I.

Łódź Ghetto, Ghetto Litzmannstadt, was the second-largest ghetto in all of German-occupied Europe

The Nazi authorities soon established the Łódź Ghetto (Ghetto Litzmannstadt) in the city and populated it with more than 200,000 Jews from the Łódź area.[32][33][34][35][36][37] As Jews were deported from Litzmannstadt for extermination, others were brought in.[35][37] The secret Polish Council to Aid Jews "Żegota", established by the Polish resistance movement, operated in the city.[38] Due to the value of the goods that the ghetto population produced for the German military and various civilian contractors, it was the last major ghetto to be liquidated, in August 1944.[37]

Several other German camps arose in the city and its vicinity for non-Jewish people, including a camp for the Romani people deported from abroad, who were soon exterminated at Chełmno,[32][35] a penal "education" forced labour camp in the present-day district of Sikawa,[39] four transit camps for Poles expelled from the city and region, and a racial research camp for expelled Poles.[40] In the latter, Poles were subjected to racial selection before deportation to forced labour in Germany, and Polish children were taken from their parents and sent to Germanisation camps.[41] Most of the children never returned.[41] In 1942–1945, the German Sicherheitspolizei operated a concentration camp for kidnapped Polish children of two to 16 years of age in the city.[42] It served as a forced labour camp, penal camp, internment camp and racial research center.[42] The children were subjected to starvation, exhausting labour, beating even up to death and diseases,[32] and the camp was nicknamed "little Auschwitz" due to its conditions.[42] Many children died in the camp.[32]

While occupied, thousands of new ethnic German Volksdeutsche came to Łódź from all across Europe, many of whom were repatriated from Russia during the time of Hitler's alliance with the Soviet Union before Operation Barbarossa. In January 1945, most of the German population fled the city for fear of the Soviet Red Army. The city also suffered tremendous losses due to the German policy of requisition of all factories and machines and transporting them to Germany. Thus, despite relatively small losses due to fighting and aerial bombardment, Łódź was deprived of most of its industrial infrastructure.

Prior to World War II, Łódź's Jewish community numbered around 233,000 and accounted for one-third of the city's total population.[36][43] The community was almost entirely wiped out in the Holocaust.[36][43] By the end of the war, the city and its environs had lost approximately 420,000 of its pre-war inhabitants, including approximately 300,000 Polish Jews.[36][43][44]

Izrael Poznański's tomb at the New Jewish Cemetery in Łódź is one of the largest of its kind in the world

On 1 August 1944 the Warsaw Uprising erupted, and the fate of the remaining inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto was sealed. During the last phase of its existence, some 25,000 inmates were murdered at Chełmno; their bodies burned immediately after death.[45][46] As the front approached, German officials decided to deport the remaining Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau aboard Holocaust trains. A handful of people were left alive in the ghetto to clean it up.[47] Others remained in hiding with the Polish rescuers.[48] When the Red Army entered Łódź on 19 January 1945, only 877 Jews were still alive, 12 of whom were children.[34] Of the 223,000 Jews in Łódź before the invasion, only 10,000 survived the Holocaust in other places.[43]

The Soviet Red Army entered the city on 18 January 1945. According to Marshal Katukov, whose forces participated in the operation, the Germans retreated so suddenly that they had no time to evacuate or destroy any of the factories, as they had in other cities.[49] Łódź subsequently became part of the Polish People's Republic.

After World War II in the Polish People's Republic

Fountain on Dąbrowski Square

At the end of World War II, Łódź had fewer than 300,000 inhabitants. However the number began to grow as refugees from Warsaw and territories annexed by the Soviet Union migrated. Until 1948 the city served as a de facto capital of Poland, since the Warsaw Uprising and the planned destruction of Warsaw by Germany, and most of the government and country administration resided in Łódź. Some planned moving the capital there permanently; however, this idea did not gain popular support and in 1948 the reconstruction of Warsaw began.

Under the Polish Communist regime many of the rich industrialist and business magnate families lost their wealth when the authorities nationalised private companies. Once again the city became a major centre of industry. A number of extensive panel block housing estates (including Retkinia, Teofilów, Widzew, Radogoszcz and Chojny) were constructed between 1960 and 1990, covering an area of almost 30 square kilometres (12 sq mi) and accommodating a large part of the city's population.[50] In mid-1981 Łódź became famous for its massive hunger demonstration of local mothers and their children.[51][52][53] In 1988 the population of the city peaked to 854,261, gradually dropping ever since.[54] After the period of economic transition during the 1990s, most enterprises were again privatised.

Geography

Climate

Łódź has a humid continental climate (Dfb in the Köppen climate classification).


Districts

Łódź was previously subdivided into five boroughs (dzielnica): Bałuty, Widzew, Śródmieście, Polesie, Górna.

However, the city is now divided into 36 osiedla (districts): Bałuty-Centrum, Bałuty-Doły, Bałuty Zachodnie, Julianów-Marysin-Rogi, Łagiewniki, Radogoszcz, Teofilów-Wielkopolska, Osiedle Wzniesień Łódzkich, Chojny, Chojny-Dąbrowa, Górniak, Nad Nerem, Piastów-Kurak, Rokicie, Ruda, Wiskitno, Osiedle im. Józefa Montwiłła-Mireckiego, Karolew-Retkinia Wschód, Koziny, Lublinek-Pienista, Retkinia Zachód-Smulsko, Stare Polesie, Zdrowie-Mania, Złotno, Śródmieście-Wschód, Osiedle Katedralna, Andrzejów, Dolina Łódki, Mileszki, Nowosolna, Olechów-Janów, Stary Widzew, Stoki, Widzew-Wschód, Zarzew, and Osiedle nr 33.

Demographics

Textile factory employees in Łódź, 1950s

Łódź was Poland's second largest city until 2007, when it lost its position to Kraków.[57] This is because alongside the entire region of Łódź Voivodeship,[58] the city is experiencing substantial population decline.[59] Since the population peak of 1988, when the number of inhabitants reached 854,261,[54] Łódź has lost almost 180,000 residents. Such a dramatic change results mainly from low fertility rates and lower life expectancy than in other parts of Poland on the one hand, and a negative migration balance on the other.[58] A major factor behind the shrinkage of the city was the transition from socialist to market-based economy after 1989 and the resulting economic crisis,[60] but the economic growth following Poland's accession to the European Union in 2004 has not reversed the trend.[61] The process of suburbanization also contributes to it, with a number of non-urban areas in counties surrounding Łódź steadily increasing in population. While the 'fringe area' around Łódź is expected to register an insignificant growth of less than 2,000 people until 2050, the population of the city proper by the middle of the 21st century is estimated to drop below the level of 500,000.[59] The ongoing ageing and depopulation of Łódź is a major challenge for the future development of the city, putting strain on social infrastructure and medical services.[57]

Łódź has one of the highest feminization rates among Poland's major cities, a legacy of the city's industrial past, when the textile factories attracted large numbers of female employees.[57] The rising age of the population, coupled with a longer life expectancy among women, further exacerbates the disproportion.[57]

Places of interest

Sculpture of Artur Rubinstein and his childhood home at Piotrkowska Street

The most notable and recognizable landmark of the city is Piotrkowska Street, which remains the high-street and main tourist attraction in the city, runs north to south for a little over five kilometres (3.1 miles). This makes it one of the longest commercial streets in the world. Most of the building façades, many of which date back to the 19th century, have been renovated.[62] It is the site of most restaurants, bars and cafes in Łódź's city centre.

Many neglected tenement houses throughout the entire city centre have been renovated in recent years as part of the ongoing revitalization project run by the local authorities.[63] The best example of urban regeneration in Łódź is the Manufaktura complex, occupying a large area of a former cotton factory dating back to the nineteenth century.[64] The site, which was the heart of Izrael Poznański's industrial empire, now hosts a shopping mall, numerous restaurants, 4-star hotel, multiplex cinema, factory museum, bowling and fitness facilities and a science exhibition centre.[65] Opened in 2006, it quickly became a centre of cultural entertainment and shopping,[65] as well as a recognizable city landmark attracting both domestic and foreign tourists.[64] The city is also likely to receive a large boost in terms of tourism once the massive revitalization project of the city's downtown (worth 4 billion PLN) is completed.[11] The local government's efforts to transform the former industrial city into a thriving urban environment and tourist destination formed the basis for the city's failed bid to organise the 2022 International EXPO exhibition on the subject of urban renewal.[66]

Light Move Festival in Łódź

Łódź has one of the best museums of modern art in Poland. Muzeum Sztuki has three branches, two of which (ms1 and ms2) display collections of 20th and 21st-century art. The newest addition to the museum, ms2 was opened in 2008 in the Manufaktura complex.[67] The unique collection of the Museum is presented in an unconventional way: instead of a chronological lecture on the development of art, works of art representing various periods and movements are arranged into a story touching themes and motifs important for the contemporary public. The third branch of Muzeum Sztuki, located in one of the city's many industrial palaces, also has more traditional art on display, presenting works by European and Polish masters such as Stanisław Wyspiański and Henryk Rodakowski.[68]

Muzeum Sztuki, ms2 branch, a museum and gallery of modern art

Among the 14 registered museums to be found in Łódź,[69] there is the independent Book Art Museum, awarded the American Printing History Association's Institutional Award for 2015 for its outstanding contribution to the study, recording, preservation, and dissemination of printing history in Poland over the last 35 years.[70] Other notable museums include the Central Museum of Textiles with its open-air display of wooden architecture, the Cinematography Museum, located in Scheibler Palace, and the Museum of Independence Traditions, occupying the building of a historical Tsarist prison from the late 19th century.[67] A more unusual establishment, the Dętka museum offers tourists a chance to visit the municipal sewer designed in the early years of the 20th century by the British engineer William Heerlein Lindley.

Las Łagiewnicki (Lagiewniki Forest), part of the Łódź Hills Landscape Park

Łódź also provides plenty of green spaces for recreation. Woodland areas cover 9.61% of the city, with parks taking up an additional 2.37% of the area of Łódź (as of 2014).[71] Las Łagiewnicki (Łagiewnicki Forest), the largest forest within city limits, is referred to in scholarship as "the largest forested area within the administrative borders of any city in Europe."[72] It has an area of 1,245 ha[71] and is cut across by a number of hiking trails that traverse the hilly landscape on the western edge of Łódź Hills Landscape Park.[73] A "natural complex which has remained nearly intact as oak-hornbeam and oak woodland,"[72] the forest is also rich in history, and its attractions include a Franciscan friary dating back to the early 18th century and two 17th-century wooden chapels.[74] Out of a total of 44 parks in Łódź (as of 2014), 11 have historical status, the oldest of them dating back to the middle of the 19th century.[75] The largest of these, Józef Piłsudski Park (188,21 ha),[71] is located near the Łódź Zoo and the city's botanical garden, and together with them it comprises an extensive green complex known as Zdrowie serving the recreational needs of the city. Another notable park located in Łódź is the Józef Poniatowski Park.

Herbst Palace, designed by Hilary Majewski, an art gallery within a historical mansion, which holds paintings from all over Europe

The Jewish Cemetery at Bracka Street, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, was established in 1892. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, this cemetery became a part of Łódź's eastern territory known as the enclosed Łódź ghetto (Ghetto Field). Between 1940 and 1944, approximately 43,000 burials took place within the grounds of this rounded-up cemetery.[76] In 1956, a monument by Muszko in memory of the victims of the Łódź Ghetto was erected at the cemetery. It features a smooth obelisk, a menorah, and a broken oak tree with leaves stemming from the tree (symbolizing death, especially death at a young age). As of 2014 the cemetery has an area of 39.6 hectare. It contains approximately 180,000 graves, approximately 65,000 labelled tombstones, ohels and mausoleums. Many of these monuments have significant architectural value; 100 of these have been declared historical monuments and have been in various stages of restoration. The mausoleum of Izrael and Eleanora Poznanski is perhaps the largest Jewish tombstone in the world and the only one decorated with mosaics.[77][78]

Economy and infrastructure

High-rise buildings in central Łódź

Before 1990, the economy of Łódź was heavily reliant on the textile industry, which had developed in the city in the nineteenth century owing to the abundance of rivers used to power the industry's fulling mills, bleaching plants and other machinery.[79] Because of the growth in this industry, the city has sometimes been called the "Polish Manchester"[80] and the "lingerie capital of Poland".[81] As a result, Łódź grew from a population of 13,000 in 1840 to over 500,000 in 1913. By the time right before World War I Łódź had become one of the most densely populated industrial cities in the world, with 13,280 inhabitants per km2, and also one of the most polluted. The textile industry declined dramatically in 1990 and 1991, and no major textile company survives in Łódź today. However, countless small companies still provide a significant output of textiles, mostly for export. Łódź is no longer a significant industrial centre, but it has become a major hub for the business services sector in Poland owing to the availability of highly skilled workers and active cooperation between local universities and the business sector.[82]

The city benefits from its central location in Poland. A number of firms have located their logistics centres in the vicinity. Two motorways, A1 spanning from the north to the south of Poland, and A2 going from the east to the west, intersect northeast of the city. As of 2012, the A2 is complete to Warsaw and the northern section of A1 is largely completed. With these connections, the advantages of the city's central location should increase even further. Work has also begun on upgrading the railway connection with Warsaw, which reduced the 2-hour travel time to make the 137 km (85 mi) journey 1.5 hours in 2009. As of 2018, travel time from Łódź to Warsaw is around 1.2 hours with the modern Pesa SA Dart trains.[83]

Recent years have seen many foreign companies opening and establishing their offices in Łódź. The Indian IT company Infosys has one of its centres in the city. In January 2009 Dell announced that it will shift production from its plant in Limerick, Ireland to its plant in Łódź, largely because the labour costs in Poland are a fraction of those in Ireland.[84] The city's investor friendly policies have attracted 980 foreign investors by January 2009.[84] Foreign investment was one of the factors which decreased the unemployment rate in Łódź to 6.5 percent in December 2008, from 20 percent four years earlier.[84]

Transport

Major road network in the city
Łódź tram network

Łódź is situated near the geographical centre of Poland, only a short distance away from the motorway junction in Stryków where the two main north–south (A1) and east–west (A2) Polish transport corridors meet, which positions the city on two of the ten major trans-European routes: from Gdańsk to Žilina and Brno and from Berlin to Moscow via Warsaw.[85] It is also part of the New Silk Road,[86] a regular cargo rail connection with the Chinese city of Chengdu operating since 2013.[87] Łódź is served by the national motorway network, an international airport, and long-distance and regional railways. It is at the centre of a regional and commuter rail network operating from the city's various train stations. Bus and tram services are operated by a municipal public transport company. There are 193 km (120 mi) of bicycle routes throughout the city (as in January 2019).[88]

Major roads include:

  • A1: Gdańsk – Toruń – Łódź – Częstochowa – Cieszyn (national border)
  • A2: Świecko (national border) – Poznań – Łódź – Warszawa
  • S8: Wrocław – Sieradz – Łódź – Piotrków Trybunalski – Warszawa – Białystok
  • S14: Pabianice – Konstantynów Łódzki – Aleksandrów Łódzki – Zgierz
  • DK14: Łowicz – Stryków – Łódź – Zduńska Wola – Sieradz – Złoczew – Walichnowy
  • DK72: Konin – Turek – Poddębice – Łódź – Brzeziny – Rawa Mazowiecka
  • DK91: Gdańsk – Tczew – Toruń – Łódź – Piotrków Trybunalski – Radomsko – Częstochowa

The city has an international airport: Łódź Władysław Reymont Airport located 6 kilometres (4 miles) from the city centre. Flights connect the city with destinations in Europe including Turkey.[89] In 2014 the airport handled 253,772 passengers.[90] It is the 8th largest airport in Poland.[91][circular reference]

Piotrkowska Centrum tram station, also known as "The Unicorn Stable"

The Municipal Transport Company – Łódź (Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne – Łódź), owned by the Łódź City Government, is responsible for operating 58 bus routes and 19 tram lines.[92][93]

Łódź has a number of long distance and local railway stations. There are two main stations in the city, but with no direct rail connection between them—a legacy of 19th-century railway network planning. Originally constructed in 1866, the centrally-located Łódź Fabryczna was a terminus station for a branch line of the Warsaw-Vienna railway,[94] whereas Łódź Kaliska was built more than thirty years later on the central section of the Warsaw-Kalisz railway. For this reason most intercity train traffic goes to this day through Łódź Kaliska station, despite its relative distance from the city centre, and Łódź Fabryczna serves mainly as a terminal station for trains to Warsaw. The situation will be remedied in 2021 after the construction of a tunnel connecting the two,[95] which is likely to make Łódź Poland's main railway hub.[96] The tunnel will additionally serve Łódź Commuter Railway, providing a rapid transit system for the city, dubbed the Łódź Metro by the media and local authorities.[97] Two new stations are to be constructed on the underground line, one serving the needs of the Manufaktura complex and the other located in the area of Piotrkowska Street.[97]

In December 2016, a few years after the demolition of the old building of Łódź Fabryczna station, a new underground station was opened.[96] It is considered to be the largest and most modern of all train stations in Poland and is designed to handle increased traffic after the construction of the tunnel.[98] It also serves as a multimodal transport hub, featuring an underground intercity bus station, and is integrated with a new transport interchange serving taxis and local trams and buses.[99] The construction of the new Łódź Fabryczna station was part of a broader project of urban renewal known as Nowe Centrum Łodzi (New Centre of Łódź).[100]

The third-largest train station in Łódź is Łódź Widzew. There are also many other stations and train stops in the city, many of which were upgraded as part of the Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna commuter rail project. The rail service, founded as part of a major regional rail upgrade and owned by Łódź Voivodeship, operates on routes to Kutno, Sieradz, Skierniewice, Łowicz, and on selected days to Warsaw, with plans for further expansion after the construction of the tunnel.[101]

Education

Łódź University of Technology rector's office (formerly Reinhold Richter Villa, 1904)

Łódź is a thriving center of academic life. Currently Łódź hosts three major state-owned universities, six higher education establishments operating for more than a half of the century, and a number of smaller schools of higher education. The tertiary institutions with the most students in Łódź include:

In the 2018 general ranking of state-owned tertiary education institutions in Poland, the University of Łódź came 20th (6th place among universities) and Lodz University of Technology 12th (6th place among technical universities). The Medical University of Łódź was ranked 5th among Polish medical universities. Leading courses taught in Łódź include administration (UŁ - 3rd place), law (UŁ - 4th place) and biology (UŁ - 4th place).[102]

There is also a number of private-owned institutions of higher learning in Łódź. The largest of these are the University of Social Sciences (Społeczna Akademia Nauk) and the University of Humanities and Economics in Łódź (Akademia Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna w Łodzi). In the 2018 ranking of private universities in Poland the former was ranked 9th, and the latter 23rd.[102]

National Film School in Łódź

National Film School at Oskar Kon Palace

Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź (Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Filmowa, Telewizyjna i Teatralna im. Leona Schillera w Łodzi) is the most notable academy for future actors, directors, photographers, camera operators and TV staff in Poland. It was founded on 8 March 1948 and was initially planned to be moved to Warsaw as soon as the city was rebuilt following the Warsaw Uprising. However, in the end the school remained in Łódź and today is one of the best-known institutions of higher education in the city.

At the end of the Second World War Łódź remained the only large Polish city besides Kraków which war had not destroyed. The creation of the National Film School gave Łódź a role of greater importance from a cultural viewpoint, which before the war had belonged exclusively to Warsaw and Kraków. Early students of the School include the directors Andrzej Munk, Andrzej Wajda, Kazimierz Karabasz (one of the founders of the so-called Black Series of Polish Documentary) and Janusz Morgenstern, who at the end of the 1950s became famous as one of the founders of the Polish Film School of Cinematography.[103]

Culture

Museum of Art in Łódź, the city's primary cultural institution
Central Museum of Textiles located in Ludwik Geyer's White Factory

Museums in Łódź

Łódź in literature and cinema

The contrast between the living conditions in industrial Łódź were often mentioned in arts and literature. A notable example is The Promised Land, a novel by Władysław Reymont

Three major novels depict the development of industrial Łódź: Władysław Reymont's The Promised Land (1898), Joseph Roth's Hotel Savoy (1924) and Israel Joshua Singer's The Brothers Ashkenazi (1937). Roth's novel depicts the city on the eve of a workers' riot in 1919. Reymont's novel was made into a film by Andrzej Wajda in 1975. In the 1990 film Europa Europa, Solomon Perel's family flees pre-World War II Berlin and settles in Łódź. Scenes of David Lynch's 2006 film Inland Empire were shot in Łódź. Paweł Pawlikowski's film Ida was partially shot in Łódź. Sections of Harry Turtledove's Worldwar alternate history series take place in Łódź, and, in John Birmingham's Axis of Time alternate history trilogy, Łódź gains the unfortunate historical notoriety of becoming the first city to be destroyed by an Atomic Bomb when the USSR destroys the city on 5 June 1944.

Sport

The city has experience as a host for international sporting events such as the 2009 EuroBasket,[104] the 2011 EuroBasket Women, the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship and the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, with the opening and final of the latter taking place at Stadion Widzewa. Łódź will also host the sixth edition of the European Universities Games in 2022.[105]

Under communism it was common for clubs to participate in many different sports for all ages and sexes. Many of these traditional clubs still survive today. Originally they were owned directly by a public body, but now they are independently operated by clubs or private companies. However they get public support through the cheap rent of land and other subsidies from the city. Some of their sections have gone professional and separated from the clubs as private companies. For example, Budowlani S.A is a private company that owns the only professional rugby team in Łódź, while Klub Sportowy Budowlani remains a community amateur club.

In Ekstraklasa of Polish beach soccer Łódź have three professional clubs: Grembach, KP and BSCC [pl].

Horticultural Expo 2029

Łódź bid for the Specialized Expo 2022/2023 but lost out to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Łódź was planned to host the Horticultural Expo in 2024. However, multiple Expo events were delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic, a Horticultural Expo in Doha, Qatar from 2021/22 to 23/24 among them.[108] As a result, the Horticultural Expo in Łódź has been rescheduled to 2029 to maintain a required time interval between them.[109]

International relations

Łódź is home to nine foreign consulates, all of which are Honorary. They are subordinate to the following states main representation in Poland: French, Danish, German, Austrian, British, Belgian, Latvian, Hungarian and Moldavian.

Twin towns – sister cities

Łódź is twinned with:[110]

Łódź belongs also to the Eurocities network.

Notable residents

Arthur Rubinstein, one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, was born in Łódź
Daniel Libeskind, notable architect and designer
Andrzej Sapkowski, best known for The Witcher book series
Marcin Gortat, former Polish NBA player
Julian Tuwim, poet, a major figure in Polish children's literature
Jerzy Kosiński, Polish-American writer
Bat-Sheva Dagan, a pioneer in children's Holocaust education

Gallery of sights

See also

Copyright