Manufaktura, although it is huge, is just a part of the humongous original Izrael Poznanski Factory, which was the biggest cotton mill of the Russian empire. It was so big that it mimicked a town – it had a sewing room, a bleach and finishing room, a dyeing and printing plant, a locksmith and foundry, gasworks, a fire station, storage, a railway siding and a factory counter; on top of that a palace for the owner and residential buildings for the workers. The factory operated till 1997.
In the complex, apart from Manufaktura, you will find the MSs – Art Museum, the Vienna House Andel’s Lodz Hotel and the Museum of the City of Lodz.
Disclaimer: please excuse my pictures, as some of them were taken in 2010 when my phone was better for making calls than making photos.
Manufaktura – the shopping mall already at first glance looks like a joyful place to visit. In the summer it is very lively with activities like a sand beach (Lodz is 300 km from the seaside and doesn’t have a river) with sun loungers and volleyball courts so that in the centre of Łódź one can feel almost like at the seaside.
Since Łódź is known as the city of design, just like in Amsterdam you can find here a designed sign “Manufaktura” which is a very popular photo stop.
Manufaktura has two floors and just like any other shopping mall has lots of shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as a cinema and a bowling place. The mall is one of the biggest in Poland and in Eastern Europe with a total surface of 27 ha.
In the evenings, Manufaktura and surrounding areas are a nice place to spend some time as many places are open until late at night but if you are looking for interesting places for clubbing then I would recommend you to go to the famous Piotrkowska street.
This way we will find a great excuse to look inside to see an interesting marriage of modern design with a factory interior.
All the buildings of the former Poznanski factory are very similarly built using red bricks and having large windows. The factory was build in the late 19th century (1871-1900) and it was typical architecture of that time. Thankfully most of the new owners still try to maintain the original character of the place.
As the name suggests in the museum we will find an example of art – mainly from Poland, but not only. It specialises in 20th century art (Fernand Leger, Max Ernst, Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters) and 21st century (Alina Szapocznikow, Krzysztof Wodiczka, Mirosław Bałka). A ticket costs only 10 PLN (around 2.5 €). On Thursdays the entrance is for free.
Remember that the art museum has two buildings – MS1 in Maurycy Poznański Palace and MS2 in Izrael Poznański’s Factory.
Next part of the building which was adapted to the new reality is the Andel’s hotel from Vienna House network. The hotel is located in a former five-storey cotton spinnery. It is a 4 star hotel and consequently, it is certainly luxurious, but rather more expensive, since the prices per night oscillate closer to 100 €. But it is worth to follow the offers on-site as there are often 20 to 30% discounts.
If you are not planning to stay at Andel’s, you should go at least for coffee there. This way you will find a great excuse to look inside to see an interesting marriage of modern design with a factory interior. Particularly noteworthy is a kind of a chimney which is lit with different colours and runs through the centre of the hotel in the reception area.
On the ground floor, there is, of course, a restaurant where you can eat seasonal dishes. The chef – Mirosława Jabłoński – won many times in both local and international food competitions.
A great advantage of staying in Andel’s is also a possibility to visit the hotel on the upper floors, including the famous swimming pool, which is often rated as one of the most beautiful in the world. Located on the top floor it is all glazed so that you have the opportunity to enjoy the views of Lodz.
For those who like luxury, of course, there is also a roof-top skySPAce and skyFLY Bar, as well as an exclusive suite where celebrites from Justin Bieber, through Lenny Krawitz, to actors or politicians have slept.
The movie that is connected with Lodz is called The Promised Land. In the 19th century (1897–1898) Władysław Reymont (laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature) wrote The Promised Land – a story about great changes happening in Lodz depicting the differences between the social layers and human communities. The Promised Land refers to Canaan, the biblical promised land. Lodz was the land of opportunities and possibilities for many, but also a curse and place of death. The story takes placein the eighties of the nineteenth century.
In the movie, there is a scene where we can see Israel’s Poznański Factory (the part that is Andel’s hotel now).
You can see the movie in Polish for free (unfortunately without English subtitles on VOD).
At the corner of Ogrodowa and Zachodnia streets at the beginning of the entire premises of Israel’s Poznanski Factory, stands the palace of Israel Poznanski, which is now hosting the Museum of the City of Lodz.
I had the pleasure to enter it twice and every time it was a nice visit. You will find there lots of informations about the city and its famous inhabitants. You can learn more about Wladyslaw Reymont and the Promised Land as well as the subsequent film adaptation of Andrzej Wajda. Rubinstein, the pianist and also his Oscar. Another person inseperetly linked with Lodz is Julian Tuwim – also a resident of the city. Every Polish child knows his poems and nursery rhymes by heart.
Another reason to visit this museum is the palace in which it is located. A ticket to this shrine of knowledge costs only a few euros (10 PLN so 2.5 €).