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A giant mural decorates the wall of a building just off Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The pedestrian street, called "P Street" by Americans at nearby Lask Air Base, features many statues and impressive architecture along with shops, bars and restaurants.

A giant mural decorates the wall of a building just off Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The pedestrian street, called "P Street" by Americans at nearby Lask Air Base, features many statues and impressive architecture along with shops, bars and restaurants. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Piotrkowska Street splits central Lodz in two.

From Wolnosci Square to busy four-lane Aleja Adama Mickiewicza, this long, straight pedestrian thoroughfare is the heartbeat of the Polish city.

Called “P Street” by Americans at nearby Lask Air Base, it is the city’s main shopping avenue, art district and party zone all in one.

One of the first things you notice on a stroll down Piotrkowska is the statues. There are many of them, mostly in bronze. Most are of famous people, but a few are of children playfully frolicking on fountains.

Some are of poets, writers and musicians, including Polish-American pianist Arthur Rubinstein.

A statue of Arthur Rubinstein, the famous Polish-American pianist, stands on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland, the city of his birth. Behind it, a bicycle rickshaw rushes past.

A statue of Arthur Rubinstein, the famous Polish-American pianist, stands on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland, the city of his birth. Behind it, a bicycle rickshaw rushes past. (Michael Abrams)

Polish theater and film director Leon Schiller looks down on Piotrkowska Street, the main pedestrian shopping street in Lodz, Poland. A variety of statues line the street and connecting squares along with shops, cafes and bars.

Polish theater and film director Leon Schiller looks down on Piotrkowska Street, the main pedestrian shopping street in Lodz, Poland. A variety of statues line the street and connecting squares along with shops, cafes and bars. (Michael Abrams)

A statue of Polish poet Julian Tuwim looks down Piotrkowska Street from his bench on Lodz, Poland's popular pedestrian shopping street.

A statue of Polish poet Julian Tuwim looks down Piotrkowska Street from his bench on Lodz, Poland's popular pedestrian shopping street. (Michael Abrams)

A statue of a little boy adorns a fountain on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. A couple of these fountains featuring statues of children can be found along the street, Lodz's main pedestrian shopping lane.

A statue of a little boy adorns a fountain on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. A couple of these fountains featuring statues of children can be found along the street, Lodz's main pedestrian shopping lane. (Michael Abrams)

Many crosses to the steeples and dome of the Church of the Holy Trinity on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The church was built in the mid-1820s and is at the beginning of Piotrkowska Street, Lodz's central pedestrian avenue.

Many crosses to the steeples and dome of the Church of the Holy Trinity on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The church was built in the mid-1820s and is at the beginning of Piotrkowska Street, Lodz's central pedestrian avenue. (Michael Abrams)

A statue of Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, a Polish novelist and Nobel laureate in literature stands on Piotrkowska Street in downtown Lodz.

A statue of Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, a Polish novelist and Nobel laureate in literature stands on Piotrkowska Street in downtown Lodz. (Michael Abrams)

A statue of a man getting ready to screw in a light bulb stands on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. It is one of many statues on the city's main pedestrian shopping street. Unveiled in 2007, it marked the 100th anniversary of the city's first electric streetlight.

A statue of a man getting ready to screw in a light bulb stands on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. It is one of many statues on the city's main pedestrian shopping street. Unveiled in 2007, it marked the 100th anniversary of the city's first electric streetlight. (Michael Abrams)

In a town that has become popular for its giant murals painted on houses, there are three fantastic ones that can be seen from Piotrkowska. One features well-known people from Lodz standing in windows looking down on a park and “P Street” below. The house is known as the Tenement House Under the Chestnuts. The other two, near the end of the pedestrian zone, are colossal vivid works of art.

The architecture styles on Piotrkowska are mixed, although most of the buildings were erected at the end of the 19th century. Some, almost palace-size, were built by rich industrialists.

The Gutenberg House on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. Built at the end of the 19th century -- although you couldn't tell with the dragons adorning it -- the building was once owned by a publisher. Perhaps that is why Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the movable-type printing press is featured in the nook at the center of the facade.

The Gutenberg House on Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. Built at the end of the 19th century -- although you couldn't tell with the dragons adorning it -- the building was once owned by a publisher. Perhaps that is why Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the movable-type printing press is featured in the nook at the center of the facade. (Michael Abrams)

A giant mural decorates the wall of a building just off Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The pedestrian street features many statues, impressive architecture, shops, bars and restaurants.

A giant mural decorates the wall of a building just off Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. The pedestrian street features many statues, impressive architecture, shops, bars and restaurants. (Michael Abrams)

The Lodz street musician Lili Fontelli, center, stands between a Lodz weaver and a Lodz Jew in a giant mural decorating a house on Piotrkowska Street. The side of the building features other famous people of Lodz, Poland, looking out of widows. And because it is next to a park, the house is known as the Tenement House Under the Chestnuts.

The Lodz street musician Lili Fontelli, center, stands between a Lodz weaver and a Lodz Jew in a giant mural decorating a house on Piotrkowska Street. The side of the building features other famous people of Lodz, Poland, looking out of widows. And because it is next to a park, the house is known as the Tenement House Under the Chestnuts. (Michael Abrams)

A mural near Piotrkowska Street that looks like a giant postcard sends greetings from Lodz, Poland. Piotrkowska, the main pedestrian street in downtown Lodz, is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Lodz is famous for its giant murals.

A mural near Piotrkowska Street that looks like a giant postcard sends greetings from Lodz, Poland. Piotrkowska, the main pedestrian street in downtown Lodz, is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Lodz is famous for its giant murals. (Michael Abrams)

People enjoy a drink at a cafe/bar on Piotrkowska Street, under the watchful eyes of famous people of Lodz, Poland, looking out of widows painted on the facade of the building. Because it is next to a park, the house is known as the Tenement House Under the Chestnuts.

People enjoy a drink at a cafe/bar on Piotrkowska Street, under the watchful eyes of famous people of Lodz, Poland, looking out of widows painted on the facade of the building. Because it is next to a park, the house is known as the Tenement House Under the Chestnuts. (Michael Abrams)

There is upscale shopping along Piotrkowska for clothes, art, books and home decor. And quality Polish vodka.

The mile and a quarter pedestrian area is lined with pubs, restaurants and bars. When night falls, the fun starts.

Look into the courtyards that open up off “P Street” for evening recreation.

At the beginning of Piotrkowska Street, on Wolnosci Square, stands the Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument. At its base there is a depiction of the Polish hero shaking hands with George Washington. Kosciuszko fought with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

At the base of the  Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument, the Polish hero, right, shakes hands with George Washington. Kosciuszko fought with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and as an architect oversaw the construction of American fortifications. 
The monument stands on Wolnosci Square in downtown Lodz, Poland, at the top of Piotrkowska Street, the city's main pedestrian shopping street.

At the base of the Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument, the Polish hero, right, shakes hands with George Washington. Kosciuszko fought with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and as an architect oversaw the construction of American fortifications. The monument stands on Wolnosci Square in downtown Lodz, Poland, at the top of Piotrkowska Street, the city's main pedestrian shopping street. (Michael Abrams)

Bicyclists roll down Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. Bikes and bike-powered rickshaws are normally the only vehicles allowed to travel on the city's pedestrian shopping street. Known as "P Street" by the Americans at nearby Lask Air Base, the street features many statues, along with shops, bars and restaurants.

Bicyclists roll down Piotrkowska Street in Lodz, Poland. Bikes and bike-powered rickshaws are normally the only vehicles allowed to travel on the city's pedestrian shopping street. Known as "P Street" by the Americans at nearby Lask Air Base, the street features many statues, along with shops, bars and restaurants. (Michael Abrams)

A man sits on a bench reading a book, on Piotrkowska Street in downtown Lodz, Poland.

A man sits on a bench reading a book, on Piotrkowska Street in downtown Lodz, Poland. (Michael Abrams)

Piotrkowska continues, with traffic, past Aleja Adama Mickiewicza, to Freedom Square.

But the pedestrian section is all you will need to have an interesting and fun stroll through the heart of Lodz.

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Mike is a photographer in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has covered stories for Stripes throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. Born in Peoria, Ill., he graduated from DODEA’s now-defunct Frankfurt American High School.
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