Raw and industrial, Łódź [pronounced like Woodge] is not a beautiful city. Located in the centre of Poland, it is little known and unlikely to appear on bucket lists. David Lynch came here to film Inland Empire. He found enough derelict buildings, crumbling plaster and smashed windows for his gloomy scenes.
In the 19th century, Łódź was Europe’s textile capital. Job seekers flocked to the city to find work and Łódź was soon called “the promised land”. Alongside with the textile industry, it became a cradle of cinematography. Famous directors such as Roman Polański and Andrzej Wajda graduated from the Łódź National Film School.
But there is more. Łódź has also amazing street art – muraly in Polish. I walked for hours through the city’s long, rectangular streets, discovering only a fraction of its plethora of murals.
Street art is nothing new in Poland. In communist times, it was used to advertise state-owned companies. The giant butterfly in ulica Sienkiewicza is an example.
In 2009, the Urban Forms Foundation invited artists from all over the world to paint large murals on the city’s concrete walls. Polish artists were also represented. The photographs below were taken during my visit in August 2020.
In 1940, Łódź was renamed Litzmannstadt by the Nazis who found the Polish name impossible to pronounce. More about this soon – in German.