One question you might ask in a moment of rare contemplation is where the name Łódź came from. Well, it means 'boat,' as in the kind that appears on the city’s coat of arms. But why the boat when there’s not a river in sight? It’s a question worth pondering. The fact is that prior to engineering breakthroughs this was very much a city on the water. In total the city has 18 rivers running through it, covering a staggering span of 123.9km. The most known is the Łódka (20km long, 15.6km of which is in the city itself) that follows the underground length of the current day ul. Północna, and even provided water for the Manufaktura Textile factory - the current day water fountain in the main square follows the old path of the river. But it was rivers such as the Ner (134km long, 22.5km in Łódź) and the Bzura (166km long, 6.5km in Łódź) that kept Łódź’s factories connected with the outside world, though over time chronic pollution led to a campaign to cover them. It was a process that lasted well into the 1920s, resulting in many of Łódz's rivers now being hidden underground!
Today, however, the buzzword is restoration. Already the Sokołówka (10.5km long) has been given the beauty treatment, as has the Jasień (12.6km long), and the Łagiewniczanka (4km long) that feeds into the pond in the Arturówek recreational complex in Łagiewnicki Forest. The environmental project has so far proved a success, with trout spotted in the Sokołówka, and even a crayfish – granted, it’s not the piranha that once appeared in the Wisła, but it’ll do for now.