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Touring Industrial Lodz

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The history of Lodz is closely related to the development of the textile industry. The origins of Lodz as an industrial city can be traced to the year 1820 . It was that that Rajmund Rembielinski put forward an idea of establishing a clothiers' settlement in Lodz. Hence, upon the state directive of 1820, Lodz became an industrial town.

The first settlement, inhabited by clothiers, was situated to the south of the old agricultural part of Lodz. It was called Nowe Miasto (New Town) – today's Plac Wolnosci. The first settlers, skilled in weaving, dyeing and spinning, were given a plot of land and timber necessary for house building. The loans and temporary duty exemptions were addional incentives attracting people from Silesia, Bohemia, Prussia and of Jewish origin, making Lodz a multinational town. The clothier industry flourished.

The 19th century was a crucial period for the further development of Lodz and its industry. With free trade opportunites, Izrael Poznanski, Karol Scheibler and the famous families of manufacturers (the Grohmans, the Kindermanns, the Biedermans, the Heinzles, etc) made vast fortunes on cloth production and trade, contributing to the further development of Lodz as an industrial town and making the city known all over Europe. Their industrial buildings have become huge complexes with owners' residential palaces, most of which have been preserved till the present day. Most of them are historical monuments, thus, they are worth seeing while sightseeing Lodz.

Here comes a list of historical sites which are associated with the industrial origins of Lodz. Take the tour of industrial Lodz to learn more about Lodz and those who have contributed to making the city a thriving industrial centre.

1. Izrael Poznanski's Complex in Ogrodowa Street

Ogrodowa Street is among the city's most significant streets as it abounds in historical buildings. All of them, form the so-called Izrael Poznanski's complex, which consists of Poznanski's industrial-residential edifices with his monumental palace, the most elegant of all the palaces of Lodz. The whole complex is also one of the three best preserved industrial-residential edifices of Lodz. The other two belonged to the Scheibler and the Geyer families.This complex of buildings is a magnificent example of the thriving textile industry of the 19-th century Lodz. A part of the buildings, once one of the largest textile factories run by Izrael Poznanski, has been refurbished recently and turned into ''Manufaktura'' – one of the largest commercial centres in Europe.

It is also here in Ogrodowa Street that the wooden Church of St.Joseph - the oldest church in the city centre and the Old Cemetery, the oldest necropolis of Lodz are situated.

The most splendid edifice is Izrael Poznanski's Palace, which is also regarded as the most impressive of all the palaces owned by the manufacturers of Lodz. Due to its architectural beauty and lavish ornamentation, it is often referred to as ''the Louvre of Lodz.'' Eclectic in style, the palace is full of chambers which should be seen, especially the renowned Dining Hall where the most famous ball parties are still held.Since 1975, the building has served as the History Museum of Lodz seat. Thanks to the recent renovation of its facade, the palace can be admired in its full splendour nowadays. The garden, adjacent to the palace, is also worth a visit. What makes it attractive is the courtyard with a driveway, a gallery of sculptures, exotic shrubs and trees. Come in spring when the azalias are in full bloom.

2. Priest's Mill (Ksiezy Mlyn)

The name of this extensive complex is associated with the history of the site which originally belonged to the rector of the parish of Lodz. Then, it was incorporated into the newly-established linen-cotton settlement, called Lodka. In 1870 the grounds were purchased by the city's largest manufacturer, Karol Wilhelm Scheibler, who developped a huge industrial-residential complex here. It comprised a factory, a spinning mill, shops, a school, a hospital, the owners' residence and workers' housing estate. Over the years, as Scheibler purchased new grounds, the whole area he owned exceeded 500 ha, which made one seventh of the whole city size. As most buildings of the Priest's Mill have been preserved till the present day, it is often regarded as one of the most valuable complexes of post-industrial architecture.

3. Kopisch's Bleachery (Bielnik Tytusa Kopischa)

Kopisch's bleachery, dating back to 1826, is the oldest preserved structure connected with textile Lodz. It is named after Tytus Kopisch, the building owner, who arrived in Lodz from Lower Silesia. After a painstaking renovation, Kopisch's bleachery houses a bank nowadays.

4. Karol Scheibler's Palace (Palac Karola Scheiblera)

The palace, dating back to 1855, was originally a manufacturer's one-storey house. Over the centuries it was expanded to become a Neo-Renaissance residential villa. The Scheiblers were a family of well-off manufacturers, whose factories were among the largest ones in Europe. They owned a lot of villas and estates in Poland and abroad. The simple exterior of Karol Scheibler's Palace stands in contrast to its interiors which are rich in varied architectural styles and lavish ornamentation. Of all the rooms of note are the mirror room, concert hall, Mauretanian-styled palm house, etc. Though so modest, when seen from the outside, it was one of the most imposing palaces of Lodz at that time. The palace served as location for ''the Promised Land'' and other films. Nowadays the building houses the Cinematography Museum, the only of this kind in Poland.

5. White Factory of Ludwik Geyer (Biala Fabryka Ludwika Geyera)

The White Factory is a three-story spinning mill, a part of a large industrial complex once owned by Ludwik Geyer, one of the most famous entrepreneurs of the 19th-century Lodz. This Classicist building, modelled on the English industrial structures of that time, was expanded over the years to house the first steam engine in Lodz. It is also here that the first industrial chimney was erected. The name of the edifice is connected with the elevation of the factory which stands in contrast to the red brick walls of other industrial complexes in Lodz. Nowadays it is a seat to the Central Museum of the Textiles. Not far from here Ludwik Geyer established a park, nowadays called W. Reymont Park. The Geyer family's residence is within the park boundaries as well.

6. Priest's Mill Residence (Rezydencja ''Ksiezy Mlyn'')

Priest's Mill Residence, also known as Edward Herbst's mansion, was the first residence in Lodz which consisted of a villa and a garden. Erected in 1876 for Karol Scheibler's daughter and her husband Edward Herbst, who after his father-in-law's death took over the Schiebler's enterprise. One of the most distinctive features of this originally Neo-Renaissance villa is a statue of a weaving woman in the niche on the first floor – a symbol of the industrial actvity of the Scheibler and Herbst families. The Renaissance and Rococo-styled interiors, encompassing Mirror, Flower, Eastern Chambers and a Ball room, are beautifully decorated. Nowadays the building houses the Museum of the Manufacture Interiors and Art Gallery, a branch of the Museum of Art in Lodz.

7. The Old Cemetery (Stary Cmentarz)

The Old Cemetery established in 1856, is situated at 38 Ogrodowa Street. It is a complex of the oldest Christian graveyards in Lodz and comprises the tombs of Catholics, Evangelicans and Orthodoxians. A lot of prominent manufacturers, priests, artists, merchants, lawyers, etc., including the first generation of industrial Lodz, were buried here. Their tombs are unrivalled works of art, of which Karol Scheibler's burial place is the most valuable one. It is a pearl of Neo-Gothic architecture. The other notable families whose impressive tombs can be found in the Old Cemetery include the Kindermanns, Grohmans, Geyers and Biedermans. The Catholic and Orthodoxian parts of the cemetery are not so abundant in monumental tombs. The former one is significant for Polish history as a lot of national hereos were laid to rest here. The Heinzel family tomb, modelled on Italian Renaissance, is worth of note for its artistic merits. Nowadays it serves as a Catholic cemetery chapel. The Orthodoxian part is the most modest. It comprises mostly the tombs of people of Russian origin who lived in Lodz since the second half of the 19th century. The whole cemetery is a historical monument. This serene site, full of magnificent tombs surrounded by shrubs and trees, is perfect for a stroll!

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