What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Poland? Vodka? Pierogi? Warsaw? Cracow? Unless you have already visited Lodz, I would dare to say that you have probably never heard of it. And there is nothing weird about it – despite it being fairly 100 kilometers from Warsaw, it's not the most popular place to visit. You won't find here any famous museums or important landmarks, and yet Lodz is what your Instagram (and your followers) need ASAP. So when you get off your plane in Warsaw, buy a super cheap train ticket (40 zloty = 10 euro) and come visit one of the coolest cities in Poland. So what is so special about Lodz? Everything. Whatever you want to see, just name it. You want to sight see? You can visit our Old Town, Ksi??y M?yn or the Orthodox Church. You want to go shopping? Manufaktura is what you're looking for. You want to party? Visit Piotrkowska Street, which is the main and the most popular street in Lodz. You need some totally amazing and hipster photos that your Instagram and Facebook will love? Here are some ideas that will make your social media profile absolutely unique.
Manufaktura is one of the biggest shopping malls and leisure complexes in Poland. It occupies the space between Zachodnia, Ogrodowa, Drewnowska, and Karskiego Streets. Built between 1877 – 1878 by Izrael Poznanski, a Polish- Jewish businessman who developed the textile industry in Lodz, making it the Polish textile powerhouse. The original industrial buildings were designed by Hilary Majewski in 1872. The revival was aimed at conserving the place’s ancient atmosphere, and Manufaktura is now dominated by legitimate industrial architecture, with red brick buildings. Right now Manufaktura holds over 300 stores, restaurants, cafes, pubs and a cinema. You could spend a whole day there without getting bored – you will even find a cultural center, including an industrial museum and an art gallery. If you’re more of a sport enthusiast, you can spend your time there bowling or at the gym. But most importantly, you should be able to really feel the atmosphere of the late 19th century in Lodz in a bit more modern way.
Piotrkowska Street is the main artery of Lodz. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city. It begins at the Liberty Square (Plac Wolnosci) and finishes at the Independence Square (Plac Niepodleglosci). It has a function similar to a market square of old towns in other cities. Nowadays the town-planning,buildings, restaurants, clubs and pubs situated next to this street, create its special atmosphere, reaching even outside of Lodz. Once you're there make sure to find all the sculptures of famous Lodz's inhabitants like Wladyslaw Reymont, Julian Tuwim (both of them were writers) or Artur Rubinstein (a composer). You will also be able to find more attractions that I will write about below, like Off Piotrkowska, Rose Passage or some examples of Lodz's famous street art.
A tenement house at Piotrkowska 3. In this building in 1853 Antoni Engel built the very first Hotel de Pologne. After II World War it was transformed into an apartment house. It wasn't until 2013 that a local renovation program took care of this historical building and renewed the elevation. The author, Joanna Rajkowska created a truly magical space by putting small pieces of glass on the walls of the buildings which gives a stunning impression. The name ''Pasaz Rozy” can be translated literally into “Rose Passage” which has a double meaning. First of all, the elements of this collage are formed in the shape of roses. The other meaning is a tribute to the author's daughter, Rose, who despite the eye cancer, didn't lose her sight. The pieces of glass reflecting the daylight are supposed to remind the visitors of the miracle that it is to be able to see.
PARK SLEDZIA AND THE OLD TOWN
A park situated between Zachodnia and Franciszkanska Street with a small Old Town on the side of Zachodnia Street. The name can be translated as “The Herring Park” because before the I World War there used to be a fish market and herring being the cheapest fish, became also the most popular one. You will find a beautiful sundial there, as well as a small fountain and a pond. If you visit Lodz in spring or summer, you will be astonished by the flower garden in there. It's a perfect spot for a stroll or for a quick game of chess (you will find a couple of chess tables there as well).
One of the most iconic part of Lodz is its street art, or as we call it in Polish “murale”. They are basically huge paintings on the buildings and those in Lodz are one of the most famous in Europe. The main organization that takes care of it is Urban Forms. They collaborate with artists from all over the world and invite them to Lodz to create a piece of urban art. Thanks to them in our city you can find over 50 different murales painted by artists from for example Brazil, Portugal or USA. Of course, not all of Lodz's street art is founded by Urban Forms. You can find the works of many other independent artists almost everywhere and each of them has their own, unique style.
A small space at the very end of the Piotrkowska Street. It's the best place to go grab a drink on a Friday night. You will find there a lot of bars, nightclubs, restaurants but also a few boutiques where you can buy clothes or accessories created by local designers. Once again you will be able to feel the industrial ambiance, the buildings are the same style as Manufaktura ( red brick = Instagram jealousy). Created in 1889, it was a part of the textile factory complex, owned by Franciszek Ramisch. Once you get there, make sure grab a cold beer (or a hot wine) and just relax, contemplating one of the most creative part of Lodz.
Either in winter, or in summer Lodz will always have something to offer and I guarantee that you will find something here that will make you fall in love with this place.