Polish name: Łódź (which means “boat” in English language), population of 742,387
Łódź is the third-largest city in Poland. Located in the central part of the country. It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately 135 kilometres south-west of Warsaw.
The city benefits from its central location in Poland. A number of firms have located their logistics centres in the vicinity. Two motorways, A1 spanning from the north to the south of Poland, and A2 going from the east to the west intersect northeast of the city. As of 2012, A2 is complete to Warsaw and the northern section of A1 is largely completed. With these connections, the advantages due to the city’s central location should increase even further. Work has also begun on upgrading the railway connection with Warsaw, which reduces the 2-hour travel time to make the 137 km (85 mi) journey to 1.5 hours in 2009. In the next few years much of the track will be modified to handle trains moving at 160 km/h (99 mph), cutting the travel time to about 75 minutes.
Łódź first appears in the written record in a 1332 document giving the village of Łodzia to the bishops of Włocławek. In 1423 King Władysław Jagiełło granted city rights to the village of Łódź. From then until the 18th century the town remained a small settlement on a trade route between Masovia and Silesia. In the 16th century the town had fewer than 800 inhabitants, mostly working on the nearby grain farms.
Before 1990, Łódź’s economy focused on the textile industry, which in the nineteenth century had developed in the city owing to the favourable chemical composition of its water. Because of the growth in this industry, the city has sometimes been called the “Polish Manchester”. As a result, Łódź grew from a population of 13,000 in 1840 to over 500,000 in 1913. By the time right before World War I Łódź had become one of the most densely populated industrial cities in the world, with 13,280 inhabitants per km2. The textile industry declined dramatically in 1990 and 1991, and no major textile company survives in Łódź today. However, countless small companies still provide a significant output of textiles, mostly for export to Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union.