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Lodz was once a small village that first appears in written records in 1332. In 1423 it was granted town rights, but it still remained a rather small and insubstantial town. It was the property of Kuiavian bishops until the end of the 18th century, when Lodz passed to Prussia as a result of the second partition of Poland. After spending about ten years within the borders of the independent Duchy of Warsaw, the city joined the Russian-controlled Polish Kingdom.

The 19th century brought with it constant industrial development for Lodz. The first cotton mill was opened in 1825 and soon the city grew into being the most powerful textile centre in the Russian Empire. Workers came from all over Europe, creating a multinational population with three dominating groups: Poles, Jews and Germans (in the 1930s the proportions of these nationalities was approximately 50%, 30% and 15%). During Lodz’s peak of prosperity its population was doubling every ten years. Due to the industrial background of the city it became one of the main centres of the socialist movement.

After World War I Lodz was assigned to the Polish administration, becoming the centre of a province. It retained its industrial nature, but the period of intense development was already at an end, mainly because of the loss of the huge Russian market.

Following the failure of the Polish September Campaign in 1939, Lodz was attached to the German Reich and called Littzmannstadt, named after a German general. The local ghetto established by the Nazis as a prison for 200,000 Jews was eventually liquidated in 1944. Most of its inhabitants were murdered in the camps of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

War did not ruin the tissue of the city but it completely destroyed the earlier diversity in its population. The pre-war Jewish and German inhabitants were soon replaced by Polish refugees from all over the country. For a few years after the war ended, Lodz effectively took the role of state capital as Warsaw had been completely destroyed. There were some ideas about moving the capital permanently to Lodz, although they came to nothing in the end.

The next decades under communist rule witnessed a rebirth of the textile industry. After the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989, most of the factories passed into private hands, but few managing to survive the new conditions brought about by capitalism.

Now Lodz is a crucial educational and cultural centre. There are 11 schools at the university level and the highly regarded Film School. The city host to two important festivals: the Festival of Dialogues of Four Cultures (festival of art) and the Camerimage film festival. Although it is rarely considered to be a tourist destination, it is popular for its specific industrial ambience, interesting architecture and friendly atmosphere.

coat of arms
Population: 725055 #3
Province: Lodz
Telephone: +48 42
Museums: 20
Districts: 5
Theatres: 31
Mayor: Hanna Zdanowska
Higher Education: 28