If your clothes say "Made in Poland," it's a good bet they came through Lodz. Founded in the 15th century, Lodz was a small town in a big forest until the Industrial Revolution transformed it into a European textile center. It's rapid development during the 19th century paralleled that of Chicago, inspiring comparisons to that American city.
With a population of around 850,000 people, Lodz is Poland's second largest city. One of its main annual events is Central Europe's biggest fabrics trade fair, "Interfashion."
A blue-collar town, the majority of Lodz residents make up the local labor force. Unfortunately, the textile industry has been in a recent slump, but other industries such as food processing, chemical making, and machine manufacturing are picking up the slack.
Piotrkowska Street is the entertainment mecca in downtown Lodz. There are theaters, shops, galleries, and cafes, as well as banks and churches. Several universities and one of Europe's oldest modern art museums enhance cultural life in this city, situated smack in the center of Poland.