The Łódzkie region lies mainly on the Central-Polish Lowland, rising to rolling hills in the south. The regional capital, Łódż, is often spoken of as the film capital of Poland. It was there that the Film School in Łódź was established in the late nineteen forties. It went on to become the alma mater of Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Sławomir Idziak and many another illustrious filmmaker. Known as ‘the Polish Hollywood’, the city hosts a number of annual film events and is home to the Museum of Cinematography.
The Łódź region encompasses two distinct areas; a lowland and an upland. The northern and central areas predominantly feature large, almost flat plains, making them very different from the hilly lands which form the southern borders of the region. The notable diversity in the landscapes of the region can also be seen in its river valleys, particularly in the upper sections of the Warta and Pilica, where both rivers flow through deep, wide, beautiful valleys.
There are several strictly protected areas, which include reserves and landscape parks; the Park Krajobrazowy Wzniesień Łódzkich (Łódź Hills Landscape Park) is a case in point here. The region also encompasses unique peat bogs, marshes and examples of caves and caverns.
The Bełchatów brown coal mine, with its opencast pit, which is visible from the space, is the only man-made feature of its kind in Poland.
The largest city in the region is Łódź, which boasts almost one thousand, two hundred historical buildings. The entire city has an aura of history about it, since it is Poland’s best-preserved example of a nineteenth-century industrial centre. The oldest buildings date back to the eighteenth century and include the Franciscan Monastery in the city’s Łagiewniki district and the wooden Church of St. Joseph’s Church.The most prized examples of relics from the industrial age include the palaces, mansions, villas and townhouses built by the great factory owners in the Renaissance Revival, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. The city is home to nearly one hundred buildings of this kind, some of which have been painstakingly reconstructed or restored right down to the most minute of details. One of the city’s best-known spots is Piotrkowska Street; at over four kilometres, it is one of the longest pedestrian thoroughfares in Europe.
Palace architecture can be seen elsewhere in the Łódzkie region, such as the palace complexes in Nieborów, Walewice and Wolbórz. The region also features manor house architecture, which can be found in Poddębice and Ożarów, for instance. There are fortifications in the form of medieval castle towns and castles and the World War II bunkers in Jeleń and Konewka. Then there are castles and their ruins in Oporów and Łęczyca, to say nothing of nineteenth century mills and sacred buildings in various styles, with some churches dating back to the twelfth century.
David Lynch is a true ambassador of the film industry in Łódź; fascinated by the city’s architecture, he shot his Inland Empire there and has plans to make it the site of his own film studio. Finally, like any self-respecting film capital, Łódź has its own Avenue of the Stars.