"The Museum of the Factory is a place where you can discover the history of textile factory founded by Izrael Poznański in mid 19th century. In the times of its past glory the factory produced million of metres of cotton material. " from the Museum's website.
Although, the exhibition is quite small, it is full of information and multimedia (presentations, movies, chronicle etc.) The heart ot the museum are original 19th C. looms that are started for the visitors. Presentation gives strong impression - machines are very noisy. Descriptions are provided, in English, also the guides communicate easily in this language. If you're interested in guiding service in foreign language for the exhibition and Manufaktura, you can order in advance on spot or via mail, phone.
Since the museum is a part of huge Manufaktura complex, is not easy to find. The simpliest way to get to it is to find the cinema (Cinema-City) and take the lift (2nd floor), that is situated in a passage, in front of cimema's entrance.
To sum up, the place is for sure worth visiting. Starting your stay in Manufaktura with this exhibition will help you understand, how impressive Poznański's factory was and how it's changed till today.
Before you go, I also highly recommend this flash presentation of Manufaktura - full of information and photos; www.wirtualnafabryka.com
Plac Wolnosci or Freedom Square stands at one end of ulica Piotrkowska. Though it is called a square it is actually in the shape of an octagon. In the middle is a large roundabout with a statue of the freedom fighter Tadeusz Kosciuszko. To one side of the roundabout is an interesting underground museum of the Lodz sewer system. I noticed that at number 14 is the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, which is the largest museum in Lodz.
At the top of Park Staromiejski stands a statue called the Ten Commandments. It stands in a purpose built walled area looking down on Lodz. It was presented to the City of Lodz in 1995 to commemorate the Jews of Poland and is by the artist Gustaw Zemla.
The Old Market Square is the oldest square in Lodz and dates back to medieval times. I have seen some old photographs from 100 years ago when this was the centre of the Jewish District with market stalls around the square. Demolition started of the area during and after WW2 and the building facades received a Social-Realist look. Though it is still called the Old Market Square the whole area dates from after WW2.
Alexander Nevsky 1220 – 1263 was a Russian who defended the country against a number of surrounding countries and saved the country against invasion. He was later canonised by the Eastern Orthodox Church. There are a number of Catherdals in different countries around the world that are named after Alexander Nevsky. In Poland there are Catherdals in Warsaw and Lodz. The Alexander Nevsky Catherdal in Lodz was completed in 1884 when Poland was an annexed part of the Russian Empire.
This area is called Manhattan for the obvious reason. It has a number of high rise buildings two of which are 78 metres in height. Built during the communist era in the 1980s they are different design to the normal grey blocks of flats that you normally see in Poland.
The Museum of the Traditions of Independence in Lodz is housed in the former prison on Dluga and Gdanska Streets. The prison was opened in 1885 and closed in 1953. During most of its time as a prison it housed political prisoners. During WW2 it housed women political prisoners who usually ended up in concentration camps. Part of the museum’s exhibition is the cells where some are dressed to show the conditions for the inmates and various manacles to restrain prisoners. There are other displays of uniforms and weapons. The staff where very pleasant and a lady came to show me around. There are only a few explanations in English of the various displays. The musuem is open daily except Fridays.
Charles Anstadta was a German who built a brewery in Lodz. The family bought land around the brewery and the park was originally owned by his 3 sons. The park was named after Charles Jnr’s wife who was called Helen Louise Helenów. The park which is 12 hectares in area was opened to the public in 1885 but there was an entrance fee to enter. The park became the property of the city after World War 2 and became run down. In the 1990s the park was cleaned up and renovated. In 2003 the Monument to the Polish Army was unveiled in the park. The park has an unusual shape to fit into the surrounding streets.
This park’s origin is from the beginning of the 20th century and it was located in an ancient forest, originally it was further north. During World War 1 because of a shortage of food the park was dug up and vegetables grown. In 1938 a statue of Stanislaw Moniuszko was put up on one of the main paths but it was destroyed by the Nazis during World War 2 and the park was closed to Poles and Jews. Further damage was caused to the park with trees being cut down and the pond destroyed. Close to the centre of the park there are 2 cemeteries which contains the graves of Polish and Soviet officers and a mass grave of other ranks who lost their lives during fighting for the city in January 1945. As I have discovered with similar cemetries that are located in other parks that some owner of dogs are comfortable with leaving their pets running loose amongst the graves. The park has shrunk over the years and now stands at 41 hectares. Besides the nature beauty of the park with its gardens and pond the most recent addition is a BMX track.
If you visit the zoo in Lodz, across the road from the zoo is its largest park at 172 hectares. As someone who likes to find the obscure, I noticed as I was passing the park by tram, a large monument. The monument commemorates the largely forgotten 1905 insurrection in Lodz. Designed by Franciszek Karpiñski it was erected in the 1970s. The insurrection started in 1905 with disgruntled laid off workers and strikers taking to the streets and the police shooting and killing a number of demonstrators. The situation escalated during the funerals of those killed and more people were killed by the Cossacks. A full scale revolt followed and martial law was declared. Copycat demonstrations followed in other Polish Cities and the situation continued on and off for another 2 years. Though the insurrection was put down it meant the Russians had to keep a standing army of 300,000 soldiers in country. Though the insurrection was regarded as a failure, Poland eventually won its independence.
No visit to Lodz would be complete without a trip to Piotrokowska Street. Though described as a pedestrian zone it does have limited access to vehicles. The street is 4 km long and is said to be the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. If you feel lazy you can always take a ride in a rickshaw. The street gradually become run down after WW2 but was revitalised after 1990. It is lined with fine interesting buildings, restaurants, cafes, shops and clubs.
If you visit Radogoszcz Prison you should consider a visit to the cemetery which is close by. Just inside the cemetery gates are 2 mass graves located by the wall facing ul. Zgierska. The first is of the approximately 1,500 victims of the fire at Radogoszcz Prison on the night of 17/18th January 1945. The second mass grave contains the remains of 86 Polish resistance fighters who were killed by the Germans during 1943/4.
During WW2 Lodz had the second largest ghetto in Poland after Warsaw. Because of its good production record of supplying the Wehrmacht, the ghetto survived until 1944 before it was liquidated. A lot of the Lodz Ghetto public buildings and squares survived the war. You can follow the map which describes the location of the different sites but a lot of the buildings only have plaques on the wall and you can not see the inside. If you are pushed for time then it is probably better to visit The Radegast Station and The Jewish Cemetery. If you intend to walk around the whole route as per the map it better to start at the Radegast Station because it is disappointing starting the opposite way, as the area is run down. Not wanting to rush things as you can go off the route and visit other places such as the Survivors Park I spread it over 2 days.
I had considered putting this tip in the shopping section but this complex is so much more than just a shopping mall. The first cloth was spun here in1852 and this large complex was developed by Israel Poznanski. It reached its present size in 1910 when over 6,000 people were employed weaving cotton. As mirrored by mill towns in Lancashire, the mill went into declined after world war two. With the collapse of its main market in the Soviet Union it ceased trading in 1997. The whole site was bought up by a French Company in 2000 and after 3 years of planning and 3 years of construction Manufaktura opened its doors on the 17th May 2006. So what is there? Well the whole site covers an area of 27 hectares (nearly 60 football pitches) and it is said to be the largest shopping complex in Europe. The original red brick mill factory buildings have been kept. Having visited a number of shopping complexes in Warsaw and other countries I would have to agree with that statement. When there is an electric bus available to transport you around and the security guard move around on Segways, it is large. It has over 300 shops, a multiplex cinema, gymnasium, museum of modern art, numerous restaurants, tourist information office, bowling alley, museum of the factory, hotel and conference centre. Israel Poznanski’s wealth was so vast that he built a palace next to the mill and this is now the museum of the city of Lodz. There are places to sit and watch the fountains, which you will need to do after walking around this vast complex.
The red brick Radogoszcz Prison started life in the 1930s as a factory complex. It ended up in the hands of the German Army after the fall of Poland and became a barracks, before being turned into a transit camp. As the war went on, it gradually changed into a more sinister prison, with over 40,000 passing through it. The buildings were never constructed to act as a prison and the facilities crude and harsh. Added to this were beatings, executions and a lack of food. On the 18th January 1945 with the Soviets approaching the Nazis intended to execute the remaining 1,500 prisoners but lost their nerve when the prisoners started to fight back. The guards set fire to the prison with the prisoners still inside. Of the 1,500 prisoners who were in the prison only 30 survived. In the cemetery close by to Radogoszcz Prison is a mass grave to the victims of the fire. On the site now, there is a museum which documents the history of the prison plus the massacre at Katyn, exercise yard, watchtowers and a memorial.