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Once known as “The Manchester of Poland” on account of its numerous brick and cast iron factory buildings, Lodz (pronounced “woodge”) is a place that offers something for everyone. It has long been the centre of the vibrant Polish film industry – it is sometimes affectionately known as “Holly-lodz” – and is one of the country’s cultural and industrial centres. A mere 96 miles from Warsaw, Lodz is centred around Ulica Piotrkowska, the city’s main pedestrianized boulevard – the longest pedestrianized street in Europe, in fact – which stretches nearly four kilometres from Plac Wolnosci in the north to Aleja Pilsudskiego in the south. Lined with shops and museums, it also contains dozens of grand Baroque, Art Nouveau and Secession-style buildings which once belonged to the city’s wealthy industrialists. It is also the location for most of the city’s tourist sights as well as many of its better cafés, restaurants, bars and night spots. Other central streets proffer some of the most impressive and opulent palaces and manor homes, especially along ul. Ogrodowa, ul. Gdanska and plac Zwyciestwa. Lodz is also an incredibly green city, holding over 30 municipal parks. The best one is the verdant Lagiewniki Forest, the largest city park in Europe and a perfect spot for an afternoon stroll.
Lodz is known for its cultural attractions and art galleries, like the Modern Art Museum which houses one of the best collections of contemporary art works in Poland. You will also find plenty of museums displaying the city's rich heritage and history like the Historical Museum of Lodz and Museum of Ethnography And Archaeology.
Given its sizable and cosmopolitan population, it comes as little surprise that Lodz has an excellent selection of dining establishments. The majority of places serving great Polish food are situated along ul. Piotrkowska, but if you venture just off this main drag, you’ll find some interesting and unique food offerings, including several popular ethnic restaurants ranging from Balkan to Cuban to French.
Lodz’s selection of drinking establishments ranges from gritty student pubs for downing pints to fashionable and trendy places to sip a cocktail and people-watch the nouveau riche and fashionable. The greatest majority are placed around the most central blocks of ul. Piotrkowska. Thanks to its active and sophisticated student population, Lodz’s nightlife rivals some of the best places to dance in Europe. Put away any thoughts of Poland being old, grey and communist and put on your dancing shoes to start partying.
While Poland is now a member of the EU, on the whole prices are still generally quite a bit lower than in other European countries, especially for items such as clothing and electronics. In Lodz’s centre, you will find many shops along the main, pedestrianised street of Piotrkowska. Lodz is also an excellent place to pick up any number of Polish handicrafts for which the country is famous, especially amber and silver items. Visit any of the “Cepelia” shops all over town (for example on ul. Piotrkowska), which sell many handmade items from regions all over Poland. Poland is also of course well known for its vodka – Wyborowka is the most popular – and bottles can often be purchased more cheaply at liquor shops in town than at the airport duty free.
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