Lomza, Poland: A Town Full of Love

The locals of Lomza

My Lomza

I cannot claim that I know the city well. After all, I am just a passer by, staying there for a bit on the way to somewhere else. However, there was one little event, which made this particular stop special. Once we were walking around, checking the local market and the architecture, enjoying some sun before continuing on our way further towards Budapest. It was sunny and warm, it was a weekend, there were people in the street, some listening to the street musician, who played guitar and sang (what we thought sounded like) political songs. The trip has just started, we had a good breakfast, and everything felt perfect.

Stary Rynek, Lomza, Poland
Stary Rynek, Lomza, Poland

Then a very drunk man approached us, but instead of begging, swearing or any other anti-social activity, he looked so happy and he showed that he wanted to give us a hug. Somehow, it felt almost appropriate. I remember posting an instagram photo soon after, capturing it “Lomza is full of love.” And since then every time I think of this town, this is the line, which comes to mind. Full of love.

Why would you want to go to Lomza?

I guess the first reason would be that it is located very conveniently on the way, if you ever find yourself travelling between Vilnius and Warsaw. It is located almost in the middle and would make a great stop to stretch your legs. Or even better – stay overnight, have a walk in the city and a swim in the river, if you are passing Lomza in the summertime, and enjoy a couple of local Lomza beers.

Some history of Lomza

The city of Lomza dates back to the 10th century. It was a comparatively large cultural and political centre, alongside with other bigger cities of Poland all the way 17th century. Then the bad luck stroke. First a fire destroyed a bigger part of the city, and then a large epidemic broke out and killed another part of its population.

Bread in all its forms in Lomza
Bread in all its forms in Lomza

After a relatively quiet time, which lasted a couple of centuries, the misfortunes continued. As I said, Lomza is located conveniently on the way not only between Vilnius and Warsaw, but also in the past between the Russian Empire and the West. It served as a corridor for the armies to march back and forth. You probably know that an army passing through a city can in no way be defined as a responsible tourism. Finally, the city was once again destroyed massively during the Battle of Lomza in 1939 by Nazi and Soviet armies.

If you walk through Lomza today, you will be able to see some remains from the old past, blending naturally into more recent architecture from the 1940s, when the city started to be rebuilt.

For a long time of its existance and up to the 1940s Lomza was home to a large part of Jewish Polish population. In the 19th century the Great Synagogue, designed by Enrico Marconi, was built in Lomza. This magnificent building was destroyed during the Nazi occupation. The Jewish citizens for Lomza (together with others brought from the nearby villages) were confined to the Lomza Ghetto, where most of them were murdered, let to die of malnutrition, diseases and unbearable living conditions. Those who remained were later taken to the camps of Auschwitz. Not many Lomza Jews survived the Holocaust. If before the war the Jewish population of Lomza accounted to the 40%, it is currently less than 1%.

What to do in Lomza

For me the heart of the city is its central market square, and Lomza has one for sure. It is called Stary Rynek (Old Market). Remember to check out the town hall and its ancient clock tower. Not far from there you can find the Cathedral of St Michael and St John the Baptist. The cathedral is around 500 years old and survived the rough history this city had.

The arts enthusiasts could visit the gallery of contemporary arts, which is located within the Northern Masovia Museum. And if you would like to feel the history even more, check out the Old Cemetery. It combines the graves of Lomza citizens, belonging to those different confessions.

And if the weather is good and you are more of an outdoor person, check out the river and the Narew valley and National Park right next to the city. If its warm, make use of the nice town beach.

Where to stay in Lomza

On this I am slightly biased. We loved Mohito B&B so much that now we only stay somewhere else, if that one is fully-booked. Which actually happens.

So yes, Mohito had everything right: central location, private parking, tasty breakfast and (what doesn’t happen that often in small Eastern European hotels) really good coffee to wash it down with, cozy and modern rooms. But the best was the owner himself. First, he spoke fluent English and this is something you start appreciating it so much after travelling around Eastern Europe and having pain in your fingers from explaining everything in body language. Second, he was very friendly. He told us about the main sights, he brought a huge box of toys for Mark, and introduced us to his wife and little son. We could leave our luggage and the car parked, while we went around to explore the city.

You see, this place is really the best. But, if you are looking for something different OR the Mohito is fully-booked again, here are some other options.



Booking.com

Practicalities

The currency is Polish Zloty. You can pay by card in most of the shops, hotels and restaurants in Lomza. There are also a couple of cash machines. So in case the property does not accept your card, there is an opportunity to take out some zloty out.

The language is Polish, and apart from the hotel hosts, the English is NOT spoken very wildly in Lomza. But you can always get by by pointing at things and smiling. I survived several years in foreign countries without speaking the language, so I can ensure you that practise will make your pantomime act perfect.

52 Replies to “Lomza, Poland: A Town Full of Love”

  1. Nice to read about smaller places, not only top dests.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      I’m glad you liked it!

  2. Looks like an awesome place to visit! Love that you stay at the same B&B every time B&B’s spoil you and then you’re addicted!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      We are totally addicted, and I was so sad that the last time they were fully-booked and we had to stay in a not a nice place at all! 🙂

  3. I had never heard of this town, but it sounds so lovely! Your photos are gorgeous

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thanks! Lomza is for sure off the beaten path, so many people have been close to, but never got to visit it. It definitely worth a try though 😉

  4. What a sweet loving beautiful city to visit. I have yet to travel outside the US, but if I ever get the chance this city would be on my list. I love the history you provided and the options to stay at. I would love to visit that market and stay at that B&B. The town beach, art museum and National Park sound lovely and something that would definitely be on my itinerary. Thanks for sharing your experience. Love the city.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      I’m glad you liked it! I think the market (and all that bread) was definitely a highlight of our visit there.

  5. What a lovely looking city. I think Poland is just a wonderful country to visit and definitely want to explore it more. Thanks for introducing Lomza to me!

  6. Interesting place. I’ve always wanted to visit Poland. Love the photos!

  7. The place is wonderful!! Love your writing!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thank you! 🙂

  8. I had never heard of this place. I would love to visit someday. Great pictures! I love your writing…Keep blogging.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thanks a lot! I hope you make it there once. 😉

  9. love the review glad you picked a smaller place that would be less obvious to tourist destinations.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thanks! It was a bit accidental we ended there the first time, but then decided to come back again that time on purpose.

  10. Very nice read! I love the pictures you added to go along with what you were talking about. And mmmm, bread! Count me in!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Bread is always a good idea! 😀

  11. It looks like a beautiful little place and I love your description of it being full of love – how nice is that! It looks gorgeous and I am glad they were able to rebuild it back to its glory 🙂

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Oh, I’m glad you liked the name – it was the one which caught my mood most precisely.

  12. Lomza is such a lovely town, it is so colorful! And the all type of bread kinda got me intrigued 🙂 I will add this on my Poland Bucket list!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Poland has really good bread. I come from Lithuania, which is a neighbouring country, and our bread is also amazing. This is usually the thing I miss most when I go abroad.

  13. You described Lomza like a good storyteller, probably far better than someone who hails from the area!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thank you! I wouldn’t be so sure, but I actually didn’t come across other blogs in English. So for now I have no competition 😉

  14. Wow.. look at those bread! They look so yummy. I never heard about Lomza, but I’ll consider to visit this city.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      For a bread-lover (and a beer-lover!) it is definitely a must-visit. 😉

  15. What a gorgeous place to visit. I hope that someday I can travel abroad and explore places like this.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      I hope you get there soon!

  16. Proper markets selling proper items that you want to buy. I love that. So many of our towns and cities have lost these wonderful markets.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Elinor, good point. Lomza could keep that because there are really few tourists coming there. Where are you from?

  17. Odette @osoinspired says: Reply

    OMW look at all that glorious bread. Also, Lomza sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Bread was the highlight of the market for me too!

  18. WOW. Lomza Poland reminds me of thw Love City, Philadelphia PA. Lomza clearly have been through severe hard times and lost many souls in the process. However, it clearly bounced back and apparently stronger. The love of its people seems to derives from their appreciation for life itself. I chuckles at the gesture of the man off the street. He obviously know first hand what not receiving love or attention is like and instead of having a pity party, he gives from he himself desires. Love it, makes me wanna go to Lomza.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      That’s such an interesting view! I have never been to Philadelphia, but now that you say this, I definitely would like to go. It’s funny how we can see those similarities between the places so distant – but they definitely are there!

  19. What a glimpse into this town! You’ve explained the history so well, I feel like I am walking the streets with you. The pictures are wonderful. I love the market!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thanks for your comment, I’m really glad you enjoyed it! The markets are just the best – this is where all the life is concentrated.

  20. This looks like such a cute little town! Sometimes you just have the best time in the unexpected places.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      You are so right!

  21. I added Poland to my bucket list the day I read about its rich history and culture on Lonely Planet. I love knowing about new places. For me, reading about a new place is as interesting as exploring them in person. The way you have portrayed Lomza makes me want to visit right now 🙂 It was absolutely a great read!

    http://www.travelwithanjali.com

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words Anjali! This is the best compliment, when someone says they want to visit after reading your article!

  22. Your pics have taken me places I wanna go! I’m a bit tired of the big city life and looking at places to visit, preferably small towns. This town looks cool.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      This town is really off the beaten path, so yes, might be a good choice, if you want to see something small and not very touristic. And definitely very authentic.

  23. This place looks so nice! What a great place to raise kids I imagine! I hope one day we can visit!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Hmmm, I’m thinking whether the schools are actually that good? Would be interesting to discuss it with some locals.

  24. As the chinese saying goes, the sparrow might be small, but it has all it needs. A cozy place with all the needs provided is actually what travellers like us want!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Very well-said!

  25. Such a cute little town. It reminds me of the little towns we used to have before technology took over.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      That’s interesting! Where are you from?

  26. Wow!! This looks like a great place to visit. and those breads looks so delicious and tasty. Love the market.

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      Markets are my favourite too! You can learn so much about the city just by visiting the market.

  27. What a coincidence. One of my best friend’s mom just went back to Poland. I have never been but she tells such great stories since she grew up there. I love how she still visits annually to stay in touch with her roots. I never imagined parts of Poland would look like this. Actually,I wasn’t sure what it would look like haha. I love how they have tons of bread for sale on the street. It is my great indulgence. Warm fresh baked bread!

    1. merrygoroundslowly says: Reply

      That’s so nice that she keeps going there! And if you like bread, Poland would be a great place for you. 😉 They have so many and so different ones (and sooo cheap too!).

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