Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Promised Land

Hi there, long time no see! Let me spam the InterWeb again with some random facts and photos from the Promised Land. "Eh? Promised Land?" - well, yes, that's what this city used to be called back in the late nineteenth century, when the future Nobel prize winner for literature, Władysław Reymont, wrote a novel of this title. The city's population grew from less than 1000 in 1815 to 600 000 in 1915 - a growth of 60000% in 100 years, which is absolutely unique in Europe.
So, why people came here? To seek work, of course. The city was a big textile hub and offered a lot of jobs and opportunities. Of course the term "Promised Land" might sound sarcastic for thousands of cheap workers trying to make ends meet doing several shifts a day and living in apalling conditions. However many industrialists tried their luck here and became insanely rich - so rich, that they owned much of the land in the city and could afford lavish palaces, which they built next to their impressive textile mills.
One of the richest industrialists, Karl Scheibler, who came here from Germany, was the "lord" of Księży Młyn - a huge industrial complex, a unique city within a city, with its own residential quarter for mill workers, a school, a hospital, a fire station, railway system, a park and beautiful palaces. Now, after 100 years, the mills no longer serve their purpose, but the area is being turned into a modern office, industrial and residential complex, with old factories made of red brick brought back to life, old palaces housing art & cinematography museums, and green parks.
You can still see the might of Scheibler's fortune in the giant mills now being turned into luxurious lofts or class A office space. Don't forget to check out the site of his tomb - a monument one the kind, a beautiful gothic revival chapel.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


For the last few days a part of the main Piotrkowska Street was closed and turned into a construction site of a stage which hosted a big pop concert last night.
I won't delve into the details of the so-called stars taking part in this carnival-ending event, as it's not really my kind of entertainment. This post is supposed to be about culture, anyway. And, believe it or not, we've got plenty of it here in Lodz. We've got so much culture, that we have decided to compete for the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2016.

There are many cultural events taking place in Lodz throughout the year, among them many festivals. Let me list just a few. There's the Festival of Dialogue of Four Cultures in September, focusing on the multicultural past of the city, when Poles, Jews, Germans and Russians lived and built the city together, presenting music, theatre and other arts related to those cultures. The film traditions of Lodz are cultivated by Camerimage (November/December) - the one and only international festival honouring the art of cinematography, attended by international movie stars & directors. For photography fans there's the International FotoFestival in May. As we're talking about "-graphy" festivals, let's not forget about the International Festival of Comics - great place for all comic books fans. There's even more visual goodness at the Lodz Design festival.

I could go on and on and on about all those cultural events, as there's a host of other theatre, music, performance, and other art-related thingies happening all year round in Lodz. I'll update this post with more details when I feel like it.

Friday, February 13, 2009


It's still a cold February, but I swear that a few days ago I could smell Spring in the air - so I cleaned the dust off my bicycle, and promised myself to ride it to work every day from now on.

So I thought I might post something about biking in Lodz. Saying that Lodz is a bicycle-friendly city would be a serious overstatement - especially in the dense city center - however things are beginning to change. Not only there are lots of people using this two-wheeled, muscle-propelled vehicle, (riding their bikes with style, depicted on Lodz Cycle Chic photoblog) , but there are also a few NGOs fighting their way through the hard heads of City Office clerks to improve the quality and quantity of bike lanes in the city.
And let us not forget about the popular transport on the main Piotrkowska street - the rickshaws! Fearless rickshawmen ride up and down the street even in the worst weather conditions. There's even a nice catchy song about them - "Lodzer Rickshaw Man" by Ziemowit Kosmowski sung in English.

Finally, the city is planning to introduce city bikes that you can rent in numerous stations located all over the city - a great idea for tourists who like to do some sightseeing on two wheels.

Oh, I forgot - I had to break my own promise, winter struck back, and I'm not such a cycling fanatic to ride a bike in a blizzard.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Art nouveau

Hey dudes and gals (all two of you), time for some more rambling about the one city of its kind, the city of Lodz. Actually, it's the City of Łódź, and if you've been wondering how to pronounce it, check out this cool promotional clip with a catchy tagline.

So, would you? I hope so, I don't want you to miss all the Art Nouveau goodness. Łódź is the only Polish city listed in the Réseau Art Nouveau Network, next to Barcelona, Vienna and La Habana. Neat, huh? We've got loads of art nouveau (or "Secession" as we call it) elements all over the city centre. Some of them are not so obvious and easy to find, so it's a great idea to take a stroll around the downtown and scan the building facades in search of the gorgeous detail.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Industrial stuff

In my last post I mentioned something about the New City Centre. Imagine old industrial and railway station area turned into a new shiny centre of art, commerce and who knows what else. Add to that David Lynch and his film studio planned somewhere around this magnificent place:
EC-1EC-1 chair
...and you'll get a pretty nice outlook on the future of this area, which was once the first coal power plant in the city ("EC-1"), built in 1907.

However, if you're not really into such industrial-artsy-fartsy scenery, there's still the old city centre (which was once itself called "the New City" - long story) , full of charming vistas. More about that soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009


As today I'm on my way to the capital city of Warsaw, I thought it might be good to kill one and a half hour of train ride by composing a new post on my shiny new blog. For all those who thought Poland is all about polar bears, wooden huts, dense forests and vodka here's the news for you - as any other Central-European country we have trains, laptops and mobile Internet, so we can spam the InterSpace almost anytime and anywhere we want.

As you might probably have guessed, I expect the readers of this blog to be foreign (non-Polish) and planning to visit Poland, hence the basic important information stuff.

Did I write the word: "Warsaw"? Well, this blog is about Łódź, so I will not say anything more about that other city, other than that Łódź is located some 130km south-west of the capital, which means that on maps issued outside of Australia Łódź can be found to the lower left of Warsaw (If you haven't bothered to take a look at a map yet then here's a shortcut.). It takes about 1,5h to get here by train and about 2h or more if you use a car and don't get confused by the ridiculous road network that joins the two cities.

If you get here by train, you'll most probably end up here:
Łódź Fabryczna
Take a good look at this old station building, because it might be the last time you'll be seeing it! The area around the station is destined to be the New City Centre and is soon supposed to turn into a big hole in the ground. What will happen to the old station? It will be either turned into rubble and replaced with something new and shiny or, if the Forces of Good prevail, saved and restored.

Don't forget that Łódź has its own international airport, so if you're lucky to find yourself in one of the destinations Łódź has a direct regular connection with, getting here will be easy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First post thingy

Okay, so I made a few clicks and whoo - a new blog pops out in the infinite abyss of the InterWeb.
I wonder if the people who made the Net so accessible and easy to use ever feel the weight of what they've done. Everybody is equal! The ultimate democracy! My word can be as important and easy to find as the word of a real journalist or a 12-year old fan of ninja turtles. What? There are no adolescent ninja turtles fans nowadays? Anyway, it took me about ten minutes to write these few sentences which just have wasted a few seconds of your life. I'm not good at writing. nevertheless I've decided to waste a few bytes of the InterThing with this blog, which, to avoid humiliating myself too much, will hopefully consist mostly of photos. Photos of the city I live in, the city of Łódź.

Yay, I finally got to the point. This blog is dedicated to anybody who knows nothing, or very little about Łódź or wants to forget what he/she's been told about it. There might be some practical info here, but more often there won't. Mostly I plan just to ramble about things that get into my attention during my every day life here. Things concerning this city of course. The city of Łódź. The city of Łódź. Yes, I'll say it again, folks - the city of Łódź.

And, hopefuly, this is not the last post of this blog.