Don’t go to Łódź if you want to explore a beautiful city. Łódź is everything which beauty is not… at least in the stereotypical sense of the word.
But you should go to Łódź if you want to get your creativity ticking through film, art and history. Moreover, you should go if you want to explore a city that wears its experiences on its sleeve. For Łódź, modernisation doesn’t mean starting afresh and producing something minimal; instead its design stems from what is already there and available. Its process of urban development is built upon an ethos for preserving history: two areas which struggle to usually go hand in hand, yet in Łódź it does with an ease that feels organic.
Street art covers dilapidated buildings, and makes the city full of surprises and more exciting to explore.
The art work definitely makes any block of flats look less depressing- you can thank street artist Sainer, for the one below.
Every factory tells a story of its industrial age, and every corner of the city is etched with scars of hardship from the occupation of Nazi Germany, a time when most of its infrastructure was lost and rebuilt with communist tower blocks. But what is fascinating about this city is that you can see it morphing into a place that deserves attention – because attention is something it doesn’t receive. This lack of attention was never more felt during Euro 2012 when Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Poznan served as host cities, while Łódź (which is Poland’s 3rd largest city) was completely overlooked. But to be honest, this is one of the attractive points about Łódź – it doesn’t attract the football, cheap booze kind of crowd, it attracts someone who wants to discover all the unique idiosyncrasies of a city, something Łódź has in abundance.
Although this city doesn’t receive attention like some of Poland’s other cities, people are slowly but steadily starting to gain interest, but what’s the reason for this? Well, what’s not to love about street art flourishing over abandoned buildings, new boutique shops cropping up around the place, and the likes of David Lynch using Łódź as the setting for scenes in Inland Empire. The latter in particular has knocked the city up as a unique tourist destination for those wanting to explore Lynch’s eccentric footsteps.
I was in Łódź, Poland. It’s spelled L-O-D-Z, but it’s pronounced “Wootch.” There’s a famous film school there, and it was the textile capital of the world, so there are huge old factories that were built in the 1800s… It has beautiful winter light, low-hanging grey clouds. The architecture and factories and leafless trees—it’s beautiful. ~ David Lynch
Is this the beautiful winter light and leafless tree setting that captivates the world’s most unique film director?
Exploring the setting of David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ is worth being paralysed by the cold… and he’s right – winter in Łódź is beautiful. Just make sure you’re fully equipped – Hat. Check. Big Coat. Check. Gloves.Check.
But unlike its neighbour Warsaw, which was completely rebuilt after the war, Łódź was left to piece back its own pieces – a slow and tiring process. But now, after a long period the city seems to be coming together through a dedicated display of street art, sculpture and its people – down the main shopping street Piotrkowska, you’ll find a mini ‘walk of fame’ with the likes of director Roman Polanski and pianist Arthur Rubinstein being immortalised.
The man behind such classics, China Town, The Tenant, The Pianist and my favourite, Rosemary’s Baby.
This is the biggest street art in Łódź, located at the bottom of Piotrkowska street, which at 4.9 kml long, is one of the longest shopping streets in Europe.
Adding to the list of reasons why you should visit Łódź is The Manufaktura – a shopping and leisure complex. But wait! This is no ordinary shopping complex, in fact I think it has more to do with architecture than it does shopping! Opening in 2006, it’s a huge cotton mill turned into a complex where people can shop, eat and entertain themselves from morning till night – it even includes a contemporary art museum which sees the likes of Picasso and Max Ernst adorning its walls. So whilst Łódź may be well known for its cotton mill roots, there is nothing run-of-the-mill about this city. Nothing at all.
A huge cotton mill has now been transformed in the Manufuktura – it is considered the second biggest development plan ever made in Poland following the rebuild of Warsaw after world war II.
Inside the Manufaktura… definitely more than just a shopping complex.