Łódź and its surroundings

Łódź with its 850,000 inhabitants is the second largest city of Poland. In the 19th century, textile factories began developing here with unimaginable rapidity. A testimony of industrial architecture, they carry the same message as the superb palaces of their former owners and still well preserved workers’ housing estates.

Among the most glamorous residences are those of banker Maksymilian Goldfeder, publisher Jan Petersilge and factory-owner Juliusz Heinzel, all located in ul. Piotrkowska. In the same street stands the Grand Hotel, one of the largest and most modern European hotels erected at the turn of the 19th century.

Łódź developed around ul Piotrkowaska, its 4.5 km main north-south axis with many Art Nouveau buildings, elegant shops, restaurants, pubs, offices and the most popular city’s promenade. The city’s cultural offer is very rich in special events. The leading events include the Festival of the Dialogue of Four Cultures (September – October), Łódź Ballet Meetings held every second year in May-June (next in 2007). At the far end of ul. Piotrkowska stands the White Factory – today home to the Museum of Textile Industry. The mansion of Leopold Rudolf Kindermann at ul. Wólczańska 31 passes for one of the most stunning Art Nouveau masterpieces in Poland. The formerPoznański family palace at ul. Więckowskiego 36 is housing a most intriguing collection of Polish modern art. Another palace and a former property of the factory owner Israel Poznański at ul. Ogrodowa 15 is occupied by the Historical Museum of Łódź. In its side wing is a museum of Arthur Rubinstein, the famous pianist and composer born in Łódź. The residence known as Księży Młyn is a good example of the economic leap performed by 19th century Łódź. After the costly renovation, the palace, situated at ul. Przędzalnicza 72, was turned into a museum presenting life of the Łódź factory owners to an amazing detail. At ul. Bracka 40 stretches one of Europe’s largest Jewish cemeteries with as many as 180,000 graves.

The city is metamorphosing into a modern cultural metropolis. By young people, it is now mostly associated with techno culture. Around ul. Piotrkowska spreads the area of club life with its stock of bars, clubs and discos. Today Łódź is an important center of science and culture with many colleges, scientific and research institutes, opera, operetta, philharmonic hall, theatres and museums. After WW II, Łódź became the national center of cinematography. Roman Polański is a graduate of the city’s famous State High School of Film and Theater.

Łowicz is well-known for its multi-colour folk costumes on display in the museum at Rynek Kościuszki 4, and the famousCorpus Christi processions. The 18th and 19th century houses line both old town squares. It is worth to drop a glimpse at the neoclassical town hall and the 15th century collegiate church with a later Baroque overlay. In Nieborów stands one of the most famous Polish palaces. The very well-preserved twostoried construction was raised in 1690-96. Today, the palace is home to the Warsaw branch of the National Museum, presenting a valuable collection of masterpieces once belonging to the Radziwiłł family. In Tum, north of Łódź, there is a Romanesque collegiate church of great historical value. The three-nave basilica founded in 1141-61 is believed to be Poland’s largest Romanesque church.

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