Lodz is an amazing, postindustrial metropolis situated in the very center of Poland. It’s the country’s second largest city and the centre of the Polish film industry. At first glance Lodz may seem to be sad and grey but when you start to penetrate it, you will surely discover its hidden beauty. There were four cultures that had great influence on the history of Lodz through ages: Polish, Jewish, German and Russian. Its fast development started with the industrial era in 19th century when Lodz became a centre of the textile industry. Many old postindustrial factory buildings survived and nowadays some of them are being restored and converted into museums, apartments, hotels, shopping malls (eg. Manufaktura) and centers of entertainment. Usually nearby factories their owners built magnificent palaces. Many of them, such as Poznanski Palace or Scheibler Palace are beautiful examples of the Art Nouveau style.
Lodz is sometimes called Hollylodz which in polish language is pronounced similarly to “Hollywood”. In 1948 Lodz Film School was established there and Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieslowski were its students. Lodz is also home to a prestigious Camerimage Festival that is organized every November – December since 2000. There is also another festival worth mentioning and it’s The Dialogue of Four Cultures Festival. Its program includes musical concerts, art exhibitions, theatrical performances and film screenings. It usually starts early Autumn.
Especially Jewish influences used to be very strong in Lodz. Before the Second World War Jewish community was the second largest in Poland. Unfortunately during the German occupation Nazi established Ghetto in the northeastern part of Lodz where thousands of Jews died of disease and starvation. Many of those who survived horrible conditions in ghetto were later deported to extermination camps in Chelmno and Auschwitz. Three cattle truck at the Radegast Station are reminder of these terrible times.
While in Lodz, sooner or later your feet will bring you to the Piotrkowska Street. City’s main promenade with its 4,5 km is said to be the longest commercial street in Europe. You will find there numerous restaurants, clubs and galleries but also banks and institutions. Lodz is a place where past and future meet.