Mystery location in Poland (solved)

The mystery has now been solved, more or less. Stunning work from Polandian readers. See the end of the post for more information.

A little mystery for Polandian-reader detectives. Quiz master Scatts is taking a sabbatical this week, and this is in fact more of an appeal for information than a quiz since I don’t actually know the answers.

The following series of nine pictures are from a mystery source, which I will reveal later, and were taken in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I’m 99 percent sure they are of locations in Poland, but I don’t know where. I should point out that my knowledge of Polish towns and cities is far from encyclopedic, so this might be incredibly easy.

Picture 1.



Picture 2.



Picture 3.



Picture 4.



Picture 5.



Picture 6.



Picture 7.



Picture 8.



Picture 9.



I’d appreciate it if anyone could tell me where these places are. Are they all of the same town or city?

Where did I get these pictures? The answer is interesting in a geeky kind of way and has a cinematic theme. More than that I will not say for the time being. Extremely eagle-eyed uber-geeks might get a clue from the pictures themselves, but I’m not holding my breath.


24 hours later

Some answers:

The sterling efforts (and random guesses) of our remarkably intelligent, good looking, and morally upstanding readers have shed some valuable light on these locations.

Pictures 1–4 are definitely of the market square in the town of Duszniki-Zdrój in the extreme southwest of Poland (thanks guest).


Picture 7 is definitely of the front gates of something called the Grohman Factory, which seems to have made barrels (thanks again to guest).


Picture 6 is strongly suspected to be somewhere in Łodz. Picture 9 is still a bit of a mystery since I’m informed by a Łodz native with a map that there is no ul. Środkowa in Łodz.

Picture 5 and Picture 8 remain to be identified, as far as I’m aware.

Where are the pictures from?

The other day I watched Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes, Jon Ronson’s intriguing 2008 documentary on the legendary film director. Ronson ducks the usual approach of interviewing family members, technicians, and movie geeks and instead opts to pick through the thousands of cardboard boxes cluttering up Kubrick’s home. The documentary follows some of the threads he uncovers. It’s a good watch. I’d include a link to the upload on google video but I’m scared of being sued. Not that I’m saying there is such an upload you understand *ahem*

Anyway, the point is this: about two-thirds of the way through the documentary there’s a segment about one of the semi-legendary unmade Kubrick movies called Wartime Lies. In the early 1990s Kubrick was apparently researching a holocaust movie based on the book of the same title. Ronson splices in a montage of shots taken from the photographic research he has unearthed in one of the boxes. “That looks a lot like Poland” I thought to myself. And so it was.

I warned you it was pretty geeky.

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31 thoughts on “Mystery location in Poland (solved)

  1. Chris says:


    They look very low res, almost as if they are stills taken from an old film. I’m sure I’ve seen the town before, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe a dose of well water will help:)


  2. guest says:

    Looks very german. Maybe somewhere in the silesian-mountain (karkonosze) area.

  3. Ewa says:

    I don’ t know…

  4. michael farris says:

    wielki szu?

  5. guest says:

    ha ha I was right :D

    I just took a map f the southwest region and checked some spa towns…

    and here is the result :D

  6. Piotr says:

    Well, its not Gorzow, thats for sure…

  7. scatts says:

    Good shout, guest, for the first 5 pictures at least.

    #6 could be almost anywhere in Poland. I’ve seen plenty of places like that in Katowice area but there are parts of Praga, Warszawa that would be almost as good a match. Lodz perhaps? I’m getting a sense of coal dust from that picture though.

    #7 reminds me of the filtrowa place in Warsaw but I don’t think it is.

    #8 That’s the place Darth trains the Sith

    #9 is without a doubt, ul. Środkowa. Somewhere close to number 11.

  8. island1 says:

    guest: Excellent work my friend! You retain your title as undisputed search-engine champion. How on earth did you work it out?

    scatts: #6 I don’t know. That’s a very long very straight street, doesn’t look like Praga to me, could be Katowice – I don’t know it.

    #7 There have been suggestions that this is the Manufaktura in Łódź. It’s very similar, but different in details. I know what you mean about filtrowa, but I don’t think it is either.

    #9 :D

  9. island1 says:

    Chris: A spa town indeed. I think you knew and were just being coy.

  10. guest says:

    1,2,3 is 100% Duszniki zdroj. I posted the answer but this damn wordpress engine does not show it.

  11. island1 says:

    Michael: Nope, nothing to do with Wielki Szu – not a film I had ever heard of.

  12. island1 says:

    guest: It’s there, we saw it ^

  13. guest says:

    DSC_0002 Grohman's Barrels

    island1 this is especially for you :D

  14. island1 says:

    guest: Genius! How the hell do you do that?

  15. guest says:

    this is totally easy!

    just write “brama fabryczna” (factory gate) in the google picture search engine. Or “zdroj rynek” (spa marketsquare) and then just hope that google is smart enough :)

  16. scatts says:

    I’m awarding myself points for Łodz!! :)

    As for the google skills…….it is times like this I realise just what an old fart I really am. :(

  17. Bob says:

    I think 7 looks like the ‘Koneser’ spirit factory across the river (depending on what side you are on) in Praga – but maybe guest is right!

  18. It’s old Allenstein! Where mein alte grandpapa would make eine excellent plate of pierogi.

  19. island1 says:

    scatts: And I’m taking them away again for saying it was Katowice, Praga and ul. Filtrowa in the same sentence :)

    guest: Easy if you know it’s a spa town and how to spell ‘factory gates’ in Polish, yes. Still, thanks – much appreciated.

    bob: It looks like a lot of factories/warehouses built around the same time I agree. Guest is definitely right though.

    Michael D: I noticed it was perilously close to a notoriously unstable border. I guess you’re saying it used to be in Germany, or have you just lapsed into a mild form of lunacy.

    HAVING SAID ALL THAT, there is no ul. Środkowa in Łodz (apparently).

  20. guest says:

    guest: “Easy if you know it’s a spa town”



    It’s a spa town, because only spa towns looked like this in the 80’s.
    Other towns were in much worse shape. Even Krakow looked horrible in the 80’s.

    Spa towns were in good shape because the communist party members spent their holidays there.

  21. guest says:

    ..and they were used as “propaganda” towns . For exmple if Fidel Castro was in Poland or some western politicians. :)

  22. boattown guest says:

    Picture six. It could be Gdanska Street. I’ll go there and try to take some pictures.
    By the way- is it a plane or an UFO?
    Is there Środkowa in Warsaw? Look at these plates:,262146,21.html?342993

  23. Ewa says:

    There is ulica Środkowa in Tomaszów Mazowiecki and in Łowicz – they are small towns close to Lódź (also with many factiories) – maybe it is one of them.

  24. michael farris says:

    One way of figuring out Środkowa might be to figure out what the colors on the sign are for. It looks like the sort of thing soccer fans might do, what teams have that Blue/White/Blue color scheme?

  25. island1 says:

    guest: Interesting point.

    boattown: Definitely a UFO. These blue and white plates seem to be standard all over Poland, I don’t think this means it’s in Warsaw.

    Ewa: Could be, anybody know exactly where the Grohman Factory is?

    michael f: A cunning thought, though I have no idea I’m afraid.

    ALL: By the way, I actually had an email from Jon Ronson, the director of this documentary in which he described our efforts as “fascinating.” :)

  26. scatts says:

    Blue is not a popular colour for Polish teams. As best I can tell we have Poznan and Chorzow, maybe.

    Unless the graffiti was by traveling Argentinian gypsies or Chelsea fans who had the wrong colour blue pens?

    island – no time now to do it myself but if you google “Grohmann & Scheibler in Łódź” there’s a fair bit to go at.

  27. melissa says:

    That thing in the sky in Pcture 6 looks very much like it could be a UFO. Too big to be an aircraft. I also have a picture that was taken when I visited poland in 2006 and it loks like there is a UFO in it.

  28. Sylwia says:

    The UFOs on picture 6 (there are two of them) are lanterns, only one can’t see the wires they hang on on the pic.

    There is ulica Środkowa in Warsaw’s Praga. If the tall building is number 11 it might be it, but the old plates have been long changed.

  29. stefbra says:


    #8 is Łódź also – the gate to Scheibler’s spinning plant (currently under reconstruction for lofts)
    the spot:

    #6 is for sure Łódź, not sure the exact location though, probably Gdanska street


  30. island1 says:

    Stefbra: Yes, I think you’re right. Thanks very much! Only a couple of mysteries left.

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