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Welcome to Łódź

Welcome to ŁódźPhoto courtesy of Łódź City Council
2013 was a tricky year for Łódź and it can probably be best described by taking one of the cheap and popular bicycle rickshaw trips along at least part of the city centre's main drag, ul.Piotrkowska - a bumpy ride!

In true Polish tradition, when the local authorities decide to undertake major renovations and changes they insist on doing everything at once, therefore throwing the city into maximum chaos. Things are improving as we drift into 2014 but much of ul.Piotrkowska's 5kms of pavement remains a difficult to navigate building site, the main central railway station, Łódź Fabryczna, is still closed and roadworks and changes in the traffic system mean that getting from A to B can be a tricky experience. One, rather the worse for wear, local businessman we encountered in the splendid Irish Pub sadly informed us that he no longer knows how to get to work in the mornings!

While some businesses have suffered to the point of closure due to the slowdown in passing custom on ul.Piotrkowska, others have seen it as an opportunity to start something new. We've been keeping up with all the latest openings - all hoping to become well-established fixtures in the city after all the works are completed. Pop into the friendly and sports crazy Magazyn 82 or some of the new ventures in the constantly expanding number of venues in the trendy OFF Piotrkowska complex. If it's really freezing outside try Daleko Blisko, a café for travellers and people interested in the world; their unusual hot drinks and ambience of warmer climates will warm the cockles of your heart.

Obviously, vast amounts of indoor time can also be spent in the stunningly restored factory spaces of Manufaktura. Shopping addicts, culinary critics, bar flies, film buffs and culture vultures will all find something to occupy their time in this epicentre of Łódź society.

Once your keyboard-tapping finger has defrosted please like our Facebook page (/lodzinyourpocket) or follow us on Twitter (/lodziyp) to keep up with what's happening in the city. Thoughts and musings regarding your time and experiences in Łódź can be added here to our website, or you can write directly to Mr. Ed (he should be out of hibernation soon) at editor_poland@inyourpocket.com.

A Bit About Łódź to Begin


Your first lesson in Polish: Łódź may look like it’s pronounced Lodz, but it most certainly isn’t. You are now in Woodge, and 300 years ago the bar or cafe you find yourself sitting in would probably have been a wooden hut with a leak in the roof. In terms of age Łódź is one of the youngest cities in Poland, and a direct product of the Industrial Revolution, which explains its oft-used nickname, ‘The Manchester of Poland’. Now, you may be wondering why anyone would go on holiday to Manchester; and why in heaven's name would anyone go to Poland’s version of Manchester(?!)...but while Łódź may not boast the postcard panoramas of Prague and Kraków, a scratch of the surface rewards the intrepid traveller with a city stuffed with wacky stories, dark history and some of the country's finest after-dark venues.

First mentioned in the 14th century, it was the industrial revolution that saw the population balloon and Łódź emerge as Poland’s youngest metropolis. The birth of the textile industry saw Łódź dubbed 'The Promised Land', with thousands flocking from central Europe, England and even Switzerland to make their fortunes. WWII saw the city's rich ethnic balance destroyed, the Jewish population butchered, the Germans exiled and the Russians heading back whence they came. Now, in spite of massive unemployment, Łódź remains an important cog in the Polish wheel, and the Manufaktura project ranks as one of the most impressive urban regeneration projects in Europe. More surprisingly, the city is also at the heart of Polish art and counter-culture. The famous film school, founded in 1948 as a pet project of Stalin, has nurtured the talent of Polański, Wajda and Kieślowski while ul. Piotrkowska, Europe’s longest pedestrian street, rates as one of Poland’s most famous party streets. Whatever your pleasures, enjoy the city.

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