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Łódź (pronunciation: Missing image
Ltspkr.png
Image:Ltspkr.png

[[Media:Lodz.ogg|]]) is the second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004) of Poland, located in the centre of the country. It is the capital of the Łódź Voivodship.

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Contents

History

Agricultural Ł骴ź

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

After the partitions of Poland Ł骴ź came under Prussian administration and was renamed 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 the Duchy of Warsaw and in 1815 was given to the Russian-controlled Congress Poland.

Industrial Ł骴ź

In 1820 Stanisław Staszic started a campaign of turning the small town into a modern centre of industry. A constant influx of workers, businessmen and craftsmen from all over the continent turned Ł骴ź into the main textile producton 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 the city's nickname) 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's population was composed mostly of three groups that contributed the most to the city's development: Poles, Germans and Jews.

In 1850 Russia abolished a customs border between the Congress Poland and Russia proper so the industry in Ł骴ź 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.


Ł骴ź 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 World War I, the city grew constantly until 1914. In 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 aftermath of World War I, Ł骴ź lost approximately 40% of its inhabitants, mostly owing to draft, diseases and the fact that after 1918 a huge part of the German population moved back to Germany.

After 1918

Polish 1931 census
City of Ł骴ź - population (according to language criterion)

Total 604 470

  • Poles 315 622 (52,21%)
  • Jews 202 497 (33,49%)
  • Germans 86 351 (14,28%)

In 1922 Ł骴ź became the capital of the Ł骴ź 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 Ł骴ź was defended by the forces of the Ł骴ź Army of General Juliusz R髆mel. However, the city was captured by the Wehrmacht on September 8. Despite plans for the city to be made into a Polish enclave, attached to the Generalgouvernement, the Nazi givernment respected the wishes of the local governor of Reichsgau Wartheland, Arthur Karl Greiser, and the many of the ethnic Germans living in the city, and annexed it to the Reich in November 1939. The city was renamed of Litzmannstadt after the German general Karl Litzmann who was killed after capturing the city during World War I. Nevertheless, 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 200 000 Jews from the Ł骴ź area. Only approximately 900 people survived its liquidation in August 1944. Several concentration camps and death camps were set up in the city's 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 Ł骴ź 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 bombardment and the fighting, Ł骴ź had lost most of its infrastructure. The city was liberated by the Soviets on January 18, 1945.

After 1945

In early 1945 Ł骴ź had fewer than 300 000 inhabitants. However, soon the number began 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 had been totally destroyed during and after the Warsaw uprising and most of the government and country administration resided in Ł骴ź. 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.

Ł骴ź today

The city is home to the University of Łódź (Uniwersytet Łódzki) and Technical University of Łódź (Politechnika Łódzka).

Ł骴ź for tourists

The main attraction of Ł骴ź is Piotrkowska Street, stretching from North to South for a little over 4 kilometers. Recently renovated, it has many beautiful buildings dating back to the XIX century, in the architectural style of the Secession. Well worth visiting from late spring to early fall, strolling from one pub to another on Piotrkowska Street allows one to immerse oneself into the friendly atmosphere of this unique Polish city.

Although Ł骴ź does not have any hills nor any big body of water, it is still possible to get close to nature in one of the many parks lying in the city. The most notable are Łagiewniki (the bigest "park in a city" in Europe), Zdrowie, and Poniatowskiego. Ł骴ź Zoo, and Ł骴ź Botanical Gardens, are also nice places to spend a lazy afternoon.

Ł骴ź has one of the best museums of modern art in Poland. The art of all important contemporary Polish artists can be found there. Even though the exhibition space is lacking (and many very impressive paintings or sculptures are hidden in the basement), there is still a lot on display to look at.

The Ł骴ź Film School

For cinema lovers Ł骴ź has another place worth visiting - the Ł骴ź Film School. The school has been an important education centre for the greatest Polish film-makers and a pivotal cultural centre for the entire country. At the end of the Second World War Ł骴ź was the only large Polish town besides Krak體 that war had not destroyed, unlike Warsaw. The creation of the National Film School gave to the town a role of higher importance from a cultural point of view, which before the war had belonged exclusively to Warsaw and Krak體. Among the first students who attended the School were the directors Andrzej Munk, Andrzej Wajda, Janusz Morgenstern - who at the end of the Fifties became famous as one of the founders of the Polish Film School of cinematography, together with Jerzy W骿cik, Witold Sobocinski, Mieczyslaw Jahoda, Wieslaw Zdort and Adam Holender. Immediately after the war Jerzy Bossak, Wanda Jakubowska, Stanislaw Wohl, Antoni Bohdziewicz and Jerzy Toeplitz were the first teachers. The internationally renowned film director Roman Polanski was among the many talented students who attended the School in the 1950s.

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 Ł骴ź

Well-known people born or working in Ł骴ź include:


Others include:

Economy

Before 1990, Ł骴ź's economy was focussed on the textile industry, which in the nineteenth century had developed in the city owing to the favourable chemical composition of its water. As a result, Ł骴ź grew from a population of 13,000 in 1840 to over 500,000 in 1913. Just before World War I, Ł骴ź was one of the most densely populated industrial cities in the world, with 13,280 people per square kilometre. The textile industry declined dramatically in 1990 and 1991, an no major textile company survives in Ł骴ź today. However, countless small companies still provide a significant output of textiles, mostly for export to Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.

Education

See also: Education in Ł骴ź

Currently Ł骴ź is home to three major state-owned universities and a number of smaller schools of higher education. The universities with the most students in Ł骴ź are:

Politics

L骴ź constituency

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from ł骴ź constituency

  • Krzysztof Baszczyński, SLD-UP
  • Mirosław Drzewiecki, PO
  • Elżbieta Jankowska, SLD-UP
  • Zbigniew Kaniewski, SLD-UP
  • Ewa Kralkowska, SLD-UP
  • Urszula Krupa, LPR
  • Leszek Miller, SLD-UP
  • Alicja Murynowicz, SLD-UP
  • Krzysztof Rutkowski, Samoobrona
  • Iwona Śledzińska-Katarasińska, PO
  • Elżbieta Więcławska-Sauk, PiS

Mayors

Sports

Widzew Ł骴ź, Polish football club

See also

Template:Commons


 
Poland
Flag of Poland
Voivodships of Poland
Greater Poland | Kuyavia-Pomerania | Lesser Poland | Ł骴ź | Lower Silesia | Lublin | Lubusz | Masovia | Opole | Podlachia | Pomerania | Świętokrzyskie | Silesia | Subcarpathia | Warmia and Masuria | West Pomerania
Principal cities
Warsaw | Ł骴ź | Krak體 | Wrocław | Poznań | Gdańsk | Szczecin | Bydgoszcz | Lublin | Katowice | Białystok | Częstochowa | Gdynia | Gorz體 Wlkp. | Toruń | Radom | Kielce | Rzesz體 | Olsztyn
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