Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Many Polish cities’ names you simply cannot translate as they derive from old Polish language or combination of some words that might have a meaning or might have been associated with legendary person. Therefore ‘Krakow’ would probably mean a place of Krak, and Warsaw would be combination of two names – Wars and Sawa. This city’s name you can simply translate in all the languages, as ‘Lodz’ simply means ‘a boat’. There has been no proof that it actually derives from the mean of transport (or family name etc.) but at least it is easy to translate what it means nowadays. Apart from that the coat of arms of the city contains a small boat.
Lodz is situated in central Poland (not far away from its capital – Warsaw). It is third biggest Polish city concerning population and fourth biggest city when it comes to area. Out of 18 (bigger or smaller) rivers that run through Lodz, the biggest one is called Ner. It used to be called Polish Manchester – because of textile industry that flourished there.
The first mentions of the city date back to 1332 year. It received municipal rights in 1423, along with the permission to organize markets. It developed as agricultural place. During the partition of Poland, Lodz was placed in Prussia.
The year that shaped the future of the city was 1820, when it was decided that Lodz would be placed among industrial settlements. It was designated to develop as weaving and cloth production center. New settlers – most of which were of German nationality – have arrived to Lodz. The city started to develop very quickly. Within 50 years it changed from small agricultural settlement to a big industrial metropolis.
During the WW II Lodz was a place where ‘intelligence action’ was organized by the Nazis. They murdered around 1500 people that were members of polish intelligentsia, clerks and clergy. They also created the ghetto for Jews.
During World War II the city has not been massively damaged – as for example Warsaw – therefore it played the role of temporary capital city of Poland. However, at the same time the population of Lodz decreased from 670 thousand to 300 thousand of people. The industry has been devastated. However, in 1945 the biggest after-war movie studio has been created in Lodz.
Although the city has interesting industrial architecture it has been forgotten by tourism industry. There are probably few Poles that would decide to visit Lodz as tourist attraction at all. You may simply visit Lodz when travelling or move there to study. But to decide yourself whether you like Lodz or not, you would need to visit it yourself.