European Quartet One Melody

 
Łódź, is a cultural phenomenon and a fascinating place inhabited by distinguished artists, scientists and industrialists. The city has a multicultural heritage of Poles, Germans, Jews and Russians. It is a city of the industrial revolution, shaped by the steam engine and the electrical era. The city also houses the world-famous Modern Art Museum and the Lodz Film School.
 
Łódź - Manufaktura shopping mall in an old textile factory / © Polish Tourist OrganisationŁódź / © Dariusz Zaród │Polish Tourist OrganisationPoznański Palace in Łódź - interior / © A.Olej – K.Kobus/TRAVELPHOTO │Polish Tourist Organisation
Łódź - shopping centre / © Mariusz Woźny │Polish Tourist Organisation
A Dialogue of Four Cultures
From the 19th century Łódź has been the Promised Land for many nations: Poles, Germans, Jews and Russians. The Festival of the Four Cultures, held annually in September, reflects this multicultural heritage.
 
The Jewish community here was estimated at 200,000 at the turn of the 20th century. Among that number were a number of great industrialists and creatives including the textile magnate, Izrael Kalmanowicz Poznański, the musicians Artur Rubinstein and Aleksander Tansman, the distinguished architect Dawid Lande and master of poetry, Julian Tuwim. The Holocaust, the darkest period in the history of Europe, took the lives of all members of the Jewish community in Łódź. But the material symbols of Jewish culture are still here. The cultural landscape of Łódź is contains historic Jewish buildings such as the Reicher Synagogue, and the largest cemetery in Europe which covers an area of 4,100 acres, and contains 160,000 graves and 70,000 Jewish headstones.
 
When in the 1830’s German weavers and cloth makers came to Łódź, the German industrial culture played a significant role in the development of the city. It has left priceless reminders of technical and urban history, the powerful textile empires created by industrialists of German origin such as Scheibler, Geyer, Grohman and Heinzel. The factories and the haughty residences of the manufacturers, machinery, historic tenements, Evangelical churches, theatres, schools, and a cemetery, remain.
The presence Russians in Łódź dates back 100 years to the time when Poland was partitioned between three countries: Russia, Prussia, and the Habsburg Empire. The remnants of that Russian culture can be seen in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, chapels, the headquarters of governing bodies and examples of sepulcher art in Łódź cemeteries. The most significant trace of those times however is the St. Alexander Nevsky’s Eastern Orthodox Cathedral.
 
City Within A City
The old textile districts illustrate the power and philanthropy of the outstanding industrialists that once resided here. The oldest industrial plant in the city is the Kopisch’s Bleachery and Ludwik Geyer’s White Factory, inside which the first steam powered engines were housed. Nowadays the building houses the Textile Museum and the International Fabric Triennial – the most important of its kind in the world. This city within a city, connected by a private railway network is comprised of residential houses, factory buildings, spinning mills, warehouses, workers’ houses, a hospital, a school, shops, a sports park, and a power station.
 
Pearls of European Art Nouveau
Leopold Kindermann’s Villa, built in the Art Nouveau style on Wólczańska Street, is the most beautiful example of this style in Poland. The picturesque, asymmetric building is topped by a high roof and is finely encrusted with floral and figural motifs and jewel-like stained-glass windows. Equally intriguing is the Art Nouveau building on Piotrkowska Street, which today houses the famous Esplanada restaurant. It distinguishes itself with its fine ornamentation and artistic, hand-wrought balustrades. Reinhold Richter’s Villa on Skorupki Street is worth seeing for the ornamentation of its front elevation. Łódź is a particular encyclopedia of the Art Nouveau style in its different functional variants: villas, governmental buildings, factories and outbuildings. The old Łódź cemetery contains many Art Nouveau tombstones and sculptures.
 
The Łódź Film School
Among the graduates of this school are world-famous directors, cameramen and actors, including Academy Award winners as well as winners of prestigious prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. They include: Krzysztof Kieślowski, Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi. The Karol Wilhelm Scheibler Palace contains the only museum of cinematography in Poland. It has a collection of exhibits relating to the history of film technology and production. Łódź has for years hosted the most important festival of camerawork in the world – the Camerimage. Other creators in cinema also hold their own festivals in Łódź Media School – including the International Festival of Film and Television Schools, Reanimacja – the Festival of Animation, the Festival of Nature films and the Forum of European Cinema. Cinema can also be found in the city landscape along the Alley of the Stars - the pavements of Piotrkowska Street – which features plaques with the names of stars of Polish cinema inscribed on them.
 
Industrial Buildings and Entertainment
The modern centre of art, trade and entertainment, Manufaktura, has been created inside the former ‘factory empire’, built of characteristic red brick, and which once belonged to one of the most prominent industrialists, Izrael Kalmanowicz Poznański. There are also plans to open a four-star hotel belonging to the Andels chain, in the five storey cotton factory (170m in length). The form and the quality of the adaptation of the building, the functionality program and the interior aesthetics are highly regarded and have been nominated for the international MIPIM award in the category of trade centres. Manufaktura contains an IMAX cinema, restaurants, bowling alleys, a climbing wall, a museum and a number of boutiques and shops. Just round the corner in Ogrodowa Street is the Poznański’s Palace, the biggest industrial residence in Europe. It now houses the Museum of the History of the City of Łódź. One of the symbols of the city is the avant-garde artistic group, Łódź Kaliska, renowned for their sophisticated happenings which draw attention to the artificiality of elitist art and mass culture.
 
City Street Salon
Piotrkowska Street is the cultural centre of Łódź. Among the street’s most interesting points is Liberty Square, which is in the shape of a regular octagon. The Town Hall here is one of the oldest historical buildings of industrial Łódź, and next to it, on the opposite side of Piotrkowska Street, is the Catholic Church of the Holy Ghost, together with the Archeological and Ethnographical Museum. In the centre of the square stands the characteristic monument of Tadeusz Kościuszko. On both of its sides there are numerous restaurants, artistic basements and clubs and an endless gallery of shops and boutiques with clothes produced by well-known Polish and European companies. Indeed, Piotrkowska Street never falls asleep. Many concerts, sports competitions and fairs take place along the street here – the cultural salon of the city. Piotrkowska Street is also a unique and rich gallery of urban architecture. The outstanding monuments are the Herman Konstadt Palace, the banking house of Maksymilian Goldfeder, the tenement house of Jan Peterslige the stonemason, with the statue of Jan Guttenberg on its façade, Juliusza Kindermanna’s house with the Venetian mosaic and the headquarters of the Krusche Ender Company. The tallest church in the city also stands on Piotrkowska Street – the St. Stanislaw Kostka’s Metropolitan Cathedral. Over the last few years Piotrkowska Street has started to play the role of a sculpture gallery with figural monuments incorporated into it and devoted to the people, events, and the monuments of the city. The Monument of the People is a special homage to the citizens of Łódź and was constructed at the turn of the millennia. It is made from 13,000 bricks with the names of the donors cut into them.
 
 

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Łódź - A City Full of Creative Energy : Location

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