Łódź - with the population of over 770,000 - is the second largest city of Poland, yet foreigners are likely to have never met its name before. Indeed, its specific values remained largely unnoticed for several decades of the second half of the twentieth century. Only in the very recent years, Łódź has been discovered by tourists, artists and entrepreneurs. We highly recommend our favourite photogallery (in Polish) and an excellent film: Łódź-the City of Culture, presenting various faces of contemporary Łódź.
The name of the city contains three characters (looking similar to l, o and z, respectively) which are
specific to Polish language. Foreigners may simply use: Lodz. Łódź is pronounced as:
wootch and means
a boat in Polish, therefore both the coat of arms of Łódź and the conference logo contain a boat.
Łódź developed rapidly in the early 19th century into an industrial metropolis. The city attracted immigrants from different regions of Europe; various ethnic groups, most notably Poles, Germans and Jews, lived in Łódź till the Second World War. The co-existence of their diverse cultures and religions created the unique identity of the city.
After 1945 Łódź remained the major center of the textile industry in Poland until 1990,
when the collapse of the Warsaw Pact destroyed the market for its textile products.
The Łódź industry declined dramatically for a decade, resulting in a strong economic recession
of the city. Nowadays, Łódź managed to attract investments from
international companies and it again became
one of the most dynamically developing cities in Poland.
At the same time, Łódź rebuilds links with its multi-cultural tradition.
Numerous cultural events are organized in the city, under the common slogan
Łódź - the City of Four Cultures.
The process of rapid industrialization of Łódź and the mixing-up of different cultures in the 19th century are vividly pictured in two masterpieces: the novel
Promised Land (which was the nickname of
Lodz at the time) by the Nobel Prize laureate Wladyslaw Reymont and its movie adaptation
by Andrzej Wajda under the same title (nominated for an Academy Award in 1976).
Piotrkowska Street - a seven-kilometre promenade and commercial centre (the longest such street in Europe) - is the best known symbol of Łódź. The street and its surroundings - with a large number of pubs, restaurants, clubs, discos - is famous for its non-stop nightlife and Łódź is often considered to be the Polish clubbing capital.
Łódź is also an academic city, with seven state universities - including the biggest: University of Łódź and the world-famous Film School - and a dozen private ones.
More specific information about Łódź may be found starting from Virtual Łódź