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Lodz travel guide — Lodz tourism and travel information

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about Lodz

Łódź (read:) is the second largest city (population 781,900 in 2003) of Poland, located in the centre of the country. It is the capital of the Łódź Voivodship.

Lodz history

Agricultural Łódź

The first written source mentioning Łódź is a document giving the village of Łodzia to the bishops of Wrocław in 1332. In 1423 king Władysław Jagiełło granted the village of Łódź with city rights. Since then until 18th century the town was but a small settlement on a trade route from Masovia to Silesia. In 16th century the town had less than 800 inhabitants, mostly working on the nearby grain farms.

After the partitions of Poland Łódź came under Prussian administration and was renamed to Lodsch in 1793. In 1798 the town was nationalized and lost its status as a town of the bishops of Kuyavia. In 1806 it joined Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815 was given to the Russian-controlled Congress Poland.

Industrial Łódź

In 1820 Stanisław Staszic started a campaign of turning the small town into a modern centre of industry. Constant influx of workers, businessmen and craftsmen from all over the continent turned Łódź into the main textile-productons centre of the whole Russian Empire. The first cotton mill was started in 1825, and 14 years later the first steam-powered factory in both Poland and Russia was opened.

The immigrants were coming to the Promised Land (Polish Ziemia obiecana, the term being a city nick-name) from all over Europe. Mostly from Southern Germany and Bohemia, but also from countries as far as Portugal, England, France or Ireland. However, the city population was composed mostly of three groups that constituted the city's development the most: Poles, Germans and the Jews.

In 1850 Russia abolished a customs border between the Congress Poland and Russia proper so the industry in Łódź could develop freely with a huge Russian market at a close distance. Soon the city became the second largest city of the Congress Poland. In 1865 the first railroad line was opened (to Koluszki) and soon the city became linked to Warsaw and Białystok. In the 1823-1873 period, the city's population doubled every ten years. The years 1870-1890 marked the period of most intense industrial development in the city's history.

Łódź soon became a major centre of the socialist movement. In 1892 a huge strike paralyzed most of the factories. During the 1905 Revolution more than 300 workers were killed by the Tsarist police. Despite the great crisis preceding the World War I, the city grew constantly until 1914. On that year it was one of the most densely populated industrial cities in the world (13 280 people per sq. kilometre).

In 1915 the city came under German occupation, but in November 1918 was liberated by the local population who disarmed the German troops. In the effect of World War I, Łódź lost approximately 40% of its' inhabitants, mostly due to draft, diseases and the fact that after 1918 a huge part of the German population moved back to Germany.

Polish 1931 census City of Łódź - population (according to language criterion)

In 1922 Łódź became the capital of the Łódź Voivodship, but the period of fast growth was over. The Great Crisis and the Customs War with Germany closed western markets to Polish textiles while the Bolshevik Revolution and the Civil War in Russia put an end to the most profitable trade with the East. The city became a scene of a series of huge workers' protests and riots in the interbellum.

World War II

During the Polish September Campaign Łódź was defended by the forces of the Łódź Army of gen. Juliusz Rómmel. However, the city was captured by the Wehrmacht on September 8. The city was annexed to Reichsgau Wartheland under a new name of Litzmannstadt after the German general Karl Litzmann who was killed after capturing the city during World War I. Many Łódź Germans refused to sign Volksliste and become Volksdeutsche, instead being deported to the General Government. Soon a Jewish ghetto was set up in the city and was populated with more than 300 000 Jews from the Łódź area. Only approximately 900 people survived its' liquidation in August 1944. Several concentration camps and death camps were set up in the city vicinity for the non-Jewish inhabitants of the regions, among them the infamous Radogoszcz prison and the several minor camps for the Roma people and Polish children.

Until the end of the war Łódź lost approximately 420 000 of its' pre-war inhabitants: 300 000 Jews and approximately 120 000 Poles. In January 1945 most of the German population fled the city for fear of the Red Army. The city also suffered tremendous losses due to German policy of requisition of all factories and machines and transporting them to Germany. Despite relatively small losses due to aerial bombardement and the fighting, Łódź has lost most of its' infrastructure. The city was liberated by the Soviets on January 18, 1945.

After 1945

In early 1945 Łódź had fewer than 300 000 inhabitants. However, soon the number became to grow and the city was populated with refugees from Warsaw and territories annexed by the Soviet Union. Until 1948 the city was a de facto capital of Poland since Warsaw has been totally destroyed during and after the Warsaw uprising and most of the government and country administration resided in Łódź. There were even plans of moving the capital there permanently, but the idea was abolished and in 1948 the reconstruction of Warsaw started.

After World War II, under the Polish Communist regime, many industrialist families lost their fortunes when the authorities nationalised all private companies. The city was once again turned to a major centre of industry. After the period of economic transition in the country during the 1990s most of them were privatised again, but were in such a desolate state that few survived in the new capitalist reality.

Łódź today

The city is home to the University of Łódź (Uniwersytet Łódzki).

Historical population

1793: 190 1806: 767 1830: 4,300 1850: 15,800 1880: 77,600 1905: 343,900 1925: 538,600 1990: 850,000 2003: 781,900

Famous people from Łódź

This is a list of famous people born or working in Łódź.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lodz".

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