MID-3. Łódź – the Promised Land – multicultural landscape of industrial town

The history of Łódź dates back to the Middle Ages, when it became an urban settlement but its proper development and increasing importance was only in the 19th century when cloth workshops were established and cotton weavers settled in the town. Newly arrived German, Russian, Czech and Jewish industrialists contributed to an unprecedented urban development of Łódź. For all, this new place of life tasted of the Promised Land. On the initiative of industrialists, merchants, doctors, lawyers and other members of the Łódź community, it was possible to create banks, cultural and educational institutions as well as medical aid centers. Gas and power plants were established, a railway was installed and distant districts were connected with electric tram lines. There was a great development of urban architecture. The dynamic development of Łódź was interrupted by the First and Second World Wars.

After the wars, it was time to rebuild the devastated industry and expand the city. Further, for many years, Łódź has served as the Polish film center; there are film studios and the internationally known the Leon Schiller National Film School. In recent years the city has changed significantly; the economic transformation led to the collapse of many old textile factories and new areas of activity were created e.g. trade, restaurants, and banking. Moreover, the extensive revitalization works carried out in Łódź make many places regain their shine. In 2015 the multicultural landscape of industrial town has been placed under protection as a historical monument by the Polish president. It includes urban layouts of the main streets (Liberty Square, Moniuszko and Piotrkowska Streets) together with the factory-residential complexes of Ludwik Geyer, of Karol Wilhelm Scheibler, and of Izrael Poznański and two necropolis (the Old Christian cemetery and the Jewish cemetery). This excursion will focus on revitalization projects that bring the degraded part of the city back to life and supplement it with new functions that satisfy social needs.