The perfect city – a garden city

Żyrardów is a city built on a plan of a garden city, a perfect city. The concept found approval in whole of Europe on the turn of the 19th century but it can be safely said that the idea was applied in Żyrardów almost half a century earlier. The first attempts of settlement are dated back to the 1870s. Slowly but surely one of the first modern urban complex in the Kingdom of Poland was being built around the textile mills. An innovative architectural design of the newly founded settlement implied separation of balancing zones of management: industrial zone, housing estates, service zone with a social program meant to fully satisfy every cultural and educational needs, healthcare and entertainment for all social classes. Meticulously placed urban greenery integrated all these zones into a complete and impressive picture.
The factory settlement consists of a block of red brick houses meant for the employees, high class residential area for the managers and factory owners as well as several public utility facilities like churches, schools, a kindergarten, hospitals, the Resursa, local community centre a public laundry and a bathhouse. A clear street plan, many areas of urban greenery, a distinct division between residential and industrial zones is the most recognizable features of 19th century Żyrardów which contribute to its image as a perfect industrial city of the age. The public utility facilities were fruits of the modern architecture which combined beauty and functionality. One can find a multitude of different architectural styles and forms which is an effect of fusion between the multitude of nationalities contributing to the cosmopolitan society of contemporary Żyrardów.
One of the most representative sites of the city – the park - was created in the second half of the 19th century. Karl August Dittrich Park is the area of 5,8 ha surrounding the villa of Karl Dittrich Jr – the chairman of Żyrardian Textile Mills Stock Society. This “island of green” was designed by Karol Sparmann, a renowned gardener of the Warsaw Botanical Gardens. Among the plethora of plants that may be found in the park, there are a great many rare species of trees. The picturesque landscape is created by many architectural details such as marquees above the bridges, artificially created hills, pond surrounded with rows of weeping willows and wooden benches.
Apart from large areas of urban greenery there are many small gardens placed in the residential areas as well as rows of trees on the sides of the streets. The main street of the city (currently named Kościuszko Street) determines the axis of the whole city. It is a 45 metre wide street with many trees planted on both of its sides. All public utility buildings were surrounded with gardens which along with the Karl Dittrich Park, Hilelle Avenue and Dittrich Avenue (currently Wysocki Street and Partisians Avenue), a promenade which leads to the train station, an avenue heading towards the cemetery (Długa Street – currently Limanowskiego Street) and the Park in Ruda District create an uninterrupted streak of urban greenery.
Using the natural characteristics of the whole area in the settlement of the city was not only aimed at adding to the beauty of the area but also at improving the wellbeing of its inhabitants. It was meant to contribute to faster recuperation of the workers.
Żyrardów is a unique city. It is an example of a well-organized and built 19th century industrial settlement. The basis of its urban development was the realization of modern designs with a simultaneous attempt of achieving the ideal of the garden city. The novelty, utility and beauty gained the settlement the characteristics of a true city many years before it was granted the civic rights. Meticulously planned and realized industrial settlement is a tribute to more than a hundred years of textile manufacturing tradition.

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