Coordinates: 52°N 20°E / 52°N 20°E / 52; 20
Republic of Poland
Rzeczpospolita Polska (Polish)
Coat of arms
Anthem: "Mazurek Dąbrowskiego"
Poland Is Not Yet Lost")
Location of Poland (dark green)
– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green) –
and largest city
52°13′N 21°02′E / 52.217°N 21.033°E / 52.217; 21.033
Recognised minority language
Ethnic groups (2011)
87.6% Roman Catholic
7.1% No answer
3.1% Other faith
Unitary semi-presidential republic
• Prime Minister
• Upper house
• Lower house
• Baptism of Poland[b]
14 April 966
• Kingdom of Poland
18 April 1025
• Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
1 July 1569
• Partition of Poland
24 October 1795
• Duchy of Warsaw
22 July 1807
• Congress Poland
9 June 1815
• Second Polish Republic
11 November 1918
• Invasion of Poland, World War II
1 September 1939
• Communist Poland
8 April 1945
• Third Polish Republic
13 September 1989
• Accession to the European Union
1 May 2004
312,679 km2 (120,726 sq mi)[a] (69th)
• Water (%)
• 30 June 2017 estimate
123/km2 (318.6/sq mi) (83rd)
$1.1 trillion (21st)
• Per capita
$510 billion (23rd)
• Per capita
very high · 36th
Polish złoty (PLN)
• Summer (DST)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
^a The area of Poland, as given by the Central Statistical Office, is
312,679 km2 (120,726 sq mi), of which 311,888 km2
(120,421 sq mi) is land and 791 km2
(305 sq mi) is internal water surface area.
^b The adoption of
Poland is seen by many Poles,
regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as one of
the most significant events in their country's history, as it was used
to unify the tribes in the region.
Poland (Polish: Polska [ˈpɔlska] ( listen)), officially
[ʐɛt͡ʂpɔˈspɔlita ˈpɔlska] ( listen)), is a
country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16
administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,679 square
kilometres (120,726 sq mi), and has a largely temperate
seasonal climate. With a population of approximately
38.5 million people,
Poland is the sixth most populous member
state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest
metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź,
Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
The establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to 966 A.D.,
when Mieszko I, ruler of the territory coextensive with that of
present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland
was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political
association with the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of
Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of
the largest (about 1 million km2) and most populous countries of
16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political
system which adopted Europe's first written national
constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century,
Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of
Versailles. In September 1939,
World War II
World War II started with the invasion
Poland by Nazi Germany, followed by the
Soviet Union invading
Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six
Poles died in the war. After World War II, the Polish
Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet
influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most
notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland
reestablished itself as a democratic republic.
Poland is a developed market and regional power as well as a possible
emerging world power. It has the eighth largest and one of the
most dynamic economies in the European Union, simultaneously
achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index.
Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in
Warsaw is the largest and
most important in Central Europe.
Poland is a developed and
democratic country, which maintains a high-income economy along
with very high standards of living, life quality, safety,
education and economic freedom. According to the World Bank,
Poland has a leading school educational system in Europe. The
country provides free university education, state-funded social
security and a universal health care system for all citizens.
Having an extensive history,
Poland has developed a rich cultural
heritage, including numerous historical monuments. It has 15 UNESCO
World Heritage Sites, 14 of which are cultural.
Poland is a member
state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations,
NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, and the Visegrád Group.
2.1 Prehistory and protohistory
2.3 Jagiellon dynasty
2.4 Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
2.6 Era of insurrections
2.8 World War II
2.9 Post-war communism
2.10 1990s to present
3.3 Land use
4.2 Foreign relations
4.3 Administrative divisions
4.5 Law enforcement and emergency services
5.5 Science and technology
Fashion and design
8 See also
11 External links
Main article: Name of Poland
The origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of
Polans (Polanie) that inhabited the
Warta river's basin of the
Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin
of the name Polanie itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole"
(field). In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and
Turkish, the exonym for
Lechites ("Lechici"), which derives
from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I.
Main article: History of Poland
Prehistory and protohistory
Main articles: Bronze- and Iron-Age Poland,
Poland in Antiquity, Early
Poland in the Early Middle Ages
Reconstruction of a Bronze Age,
Lusatian culture settlement in
Biskupin, c. 700 BC
Historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many
distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland.
The ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of these groups have been
hotly debated; the time and route of the original settlement of Slavic
peoples in these regions lacks written records and can only be defined
The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and
Poland is the
Biskupin fortified settlement (now
reconstructed as an open-air museum), dating from the Lusatian culture
of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC. The Slavic groups who would form
Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century
AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent
Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic
tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day
Slavic paganism. With the
Baptism of Poland
Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted
Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church. However,
the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous
process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan
reaction of the 1030s.
History of Poland
History of Poland during the
Christianization of Poland, Civitas Schinesghe, Gesta principum
Polonorum, and Kingdom of
Poland under the rule of Duke Mieszko I, who is considered to
be the creator of the Polish state, c. 960–996
Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial
entity around the middle of the 10th century under the
Poland's first historically documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted
Christianity with the
Baptism of Poland
Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official
religion of his subjects. The bulk of the population converted in the
course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave,
continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of
Gniezno and created the metropolis of
Gniezno and the dioceses of
Kraków, Kołobrzeg, and Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to
the transfer of the capital to
Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the
Earliest known contemporary depiction of a Polish ruler. King Mieszko
II Lambert of Poland, who ruled the nation between 1025 and 1031.
In 1109, Prince
Bolesław III Wrymouth
Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany
Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the German march into
Poland. The significance of the event was documented by Gallus
Anonymus in his 1118 chronicle. In 1138,
Poland fragmented into
several smaller duchies when Bolesław divided his lands among his
sons. In 1226, Konrad I of Masovia, one of the regional
Teutonic Knights to help him fight the Baltic Prussian
pagans; a decision that led to centuries of warfare with the Knights.
In 1264, the
Statute of Kalisz
Statute of Kalisz or the General Charter of Jewish
Liberties introduced numerous right for the
Jews in Poland, leading to
a nearly autonomous "nation within a nation".
In the middle of the 13th century, the Silesian branch of the Piast
Henry I the Bearded
Henry I the Bearded and Henry II the Pious, ruled 1238–41)
nearly succeeded in uniting the Polish lands, but the Mongols invaded
the country from the east and defeated the combined Polish forces at
Battle of Legnica
Battle of Legnica where Duke
Henry II the Pious
Henry II the Pious died. In 1320,
after a number of earlier unsuccessful attempts by regional rulers at
uniting the Polish dukedoms, Władysław I consolidated his power,
took the throne and became the first king of a reunified Poland. His
son, Casimir III (reigned 1333–70), has a reputation as one of the
greatest Polish kings, and gained wide recognition for improving the
country's infrastructure. He also extended royal protection to
Jews, and encouraged their immigration to Poland. Casimir III
realized that the nation needed a class of educated people, especially
lawyers, who could codify the country's laws and administer the courts
and offices. His efforts to create an institution of higher learning
Poland were finally rewarded when
Pope Urban V
Pope Urban V granted him
permission to open the University of Kraków.
Casimir III the Great
Casimir III the Great is the only Polish king to receive the title of
Great. He built extensively during his reign, and reformed the Polish
army along with the country's civil and criminal laws, 1333–70.
Golden Liberty of the nobles began to develop under Casimir's
rule, when in return for their military support, the king made a
series of concessions to the nobility, and establishing their legal
status as superior to that of the townsmen. When Casimir the Great
died in 1370, leaving no legitimate male heir, the
Piast dynasty came
to an end.
During the 13th and 14th centuries,
Poland became a destination for
German, Flemish and to a lesser extent Walloon, Danish and Scottish
Jews and Armenians began to settle and flourish in
Poland during this era (see History of the
Armenians in Poland).
The Black Death, a plague that ravaged
Europe from 1347 to 1351 did
not significantly affect Poland, and the country was spared from a
major outbreak of the disease. The reason for this was the
decision of Casimir the Great to quarantine the nation's borders.
History of Poland
History of Poland during the Jagiellon dynasty, Kingdom
Poland (1385–1569), and
Renaissance in Poland
Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald was fought against the German Order of Teutonic
Knights, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Kingdom of Poland,
15 July 1410.
Jagiellon dynasty spanned the late
Middle Ages and early Modern
Era of Polish history. Beginning with the Lithuanian Grand Duke
Jogaila (Władysław II Jagiełło), the Jagiellon dynasty
(1386–1572) formed the Polish–Lithuanian union. The partnership
brought vast Lithuania-controlled Rus' areas into Poland's sphere of
influence and proved beneficial for the
Poles and Lithuanians, who
coexisted and cooperated in one of the largest political entities in
Europe for the next four centuries. In the
Baltic Sea region the
Lithuania with the
Teutonic Knights continued
and culminated in the
Battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald (1410), where a combined
Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive victory against the
Teutonic Knights, allowing for territorial expansion of both nations
into the far north region of Livonia. In 1466, after the Thirteen
Years' War, King
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV Jagiellon gave royal consent to the Peace
of Thorn, which created the future Duchy of Prussia, a Polish vassal.
Jagiellon dynasty at one point also established dynastic control
over the kingdoms of
Bohemia (1471 onwards) and Hungary. In
Poland confronted the
Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Tatars
(by whom they were attacked on 75 separate occasions between 1474 and
1569), and in the east helped
Lithuania fight the Grand Duchy of
Moscow. Some historians estimate that Crimean Tatar slave-raiding cost
Lithuania one million of its population between the years of
1494 and 1694.
Wawel Castle in Kraków, seat of Polish kings from 1038 until the
capital was moved to
Warsaw in 1596. The royal residence is an early
Renaissance architecture in Poland.
Poland was developing as a feudal state, with a predominantly
agricultural economy and an increasingly powerful landed nobility. The
Nihil novi act adopted by the Polish
Sejm (parliament) in 1505,
transferred most of the legislative power from the monarch to the
Sejm, an event which marked the beginning of the period known as
"Golden Liberty", when the state was ruled by the "free and equal"
Protestant Reformation movements made deep inroads
into Polish Christianity, which resulted in the establishment of
policies promoting religious tolerance, unique in
Europe at that
time. This tolerance allowed the country to avoid most of the
religious turmoil that spread over
Europe during the 16th century.
Renaissance evoked in late Jagiellon
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus) a sense of urgency in
the need to promote a cultural awakening, and during this period
Polish culture and the nation's economy flourished. In 1543, Nicolaus
Copernicus a Polish astronomer from Toruń, published his epochal work
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the
Celestial Spheres), and thereby became the first proponent of a
predictive mathematical model confirming the heliocentric theory,
which became the accepted basic model for the practice of modern
astronomy. Another major figure associated with the era is the
classicist poet Jan Kochanowski.
History of Poland
History of Poland in the Early Modern era
(1569–1795), Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth, and Sarmatism
Warsaw Confederation was an important development in the history
of Poland, which extended religious freedoms and tolerance, and
produced a first of its kind document in Europe, 28 January 1573.
Union of Lublin
Union of Lublin established the Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth, a more closely unified federal state with an elective
monarchy, but which was governed largely by the nobility, through a
system of local assemblies with a central parliament. The Warsaw
Confederation (1573) confirmed the religious freedom of all residents
of Poland, which was extremely important for the stability of the
multiethnic Polish society of the time.
Serfdom was banned in
1588. The establishment of the Commonwealth coincided with a
period of stability and prosperity in Poland, with the union
thereafter becoming a European power and a major cultural entity,
occupying approximately one million square kilometers of Central and
Eastern Europe, as well as an agent for the dissemination of Western
Polonization into areas of modern-day Lithuania,
Belarus and Western Russia.
In the 16th and 17th centuries,
Poland suffered from a number of
dynastic crises during the reigns of the Vasa kings Sigismund III and
Władysław IV and found itself engaged in major conflicts with
Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, as well as a series of minor
Cossack uprisings. In 1610 Polish army under command Hetman
Stanisław Żółkiewski seized Moscow after winning the Battle of
Klushino. In 1611 the
Russia paid homage to the King of
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was at its greatest extent after
the Truce of Deulino. In the first half of the 17th century, Poland
covered an area of about 1,000,000 square kilometres
(390,000 sq mi).
After the signing of Truce of Deulino,
Poland had in the years
1618–1621 an area of about 1 million km2
(390,000 sq mi).
From the middle of the 17th century, the nobles' democracy, suffering
from internal disorder, gradually declined, thereby leaving the once
powerful Commonwealth vulnerable to foreign intervention. Starting in
Khmelnytsky Uprising engulfed the south and east,
Ukraine divided, with the eastern part, lost by the
Commonwealth, becoming a dependency of the Tsardom of Russia. This was
followed by the 'Deluge', a Swedish invasion of Poland, which marched
through the Polish heartlands and ruined the country's population,
culture and infrastructure.
John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski defeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of
Vienna on 12 September 1683.
Around four million of Poland's eleven million inhabitants died in
famines and epidemics throughout the 17th century. However, under
John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski the Commonwealth's military prowess was
re-established, and in 1683 Polish forces played a major role in the
Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Army, commanded by Kara Mustafa,
the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
Sobieski's reign marked the end of the nation's golden era. Finding
itself subjected to almost constant warfare and suffering enormous
population losses as well as massive damage to its economy, the
Commonwealth fell into decline. The government became ineffective as a
result of large-scale internal conflicts (e.g. Lubomirski Rebellion
against John II Casimir and rebellious confederations) and corrupted
legislative processes. The nobility fell under the control of a
handful of magnats, and this, compounded with two relatively weak
kings of the Saxon Wettin dynasty, Augustus II and Augustus III, as
well as the rise of
Prussia after the Great Northern War
only served to worsen the Commonwealth's plight. Despite this The
Commonwealth-Saxony personal union gave rise to the emergence of the
Commonwealth's first reform movement, and laid the foundations for the
During the later part of the 18th century, the Commonwealth made
attempts to implement fundamental internal reforms; with the second
half of the century bringing a much improved economy, significant
population growth and far-reaching progress in the areas of education,
intellectual life, art, and especially toward the end of the period,
evolution of the social and political system. The most populous
capital city of
Gdańsk (Danzig) as the leading centre
of commerce, and the role of the more prosperous townsmen increased.
Stanisław II Augustus, the last King of Poland, ascended to the
throne in 1764 and reigned until his abdication on 25 November 1795.
History of Poland
History of Poland (1795–1918) and Partitions of
The royal election of 1764 resulted in the elevation of Stanisław II
August (a Polish aristocrat connected to the Czartoryski family
faction of magnates) to the monarchy. However, as a one-time personal
admirer of Empress Catherine II of Russia, the new king spent much of
his reign torn between his desire to implement reforms necessary to
save his nation, and his perceived necessity to remain in a political
relationship with his Russian sponsor. This led to the formation of
the 1768 Bar Confederation, a szlachta rebellion directed against the
Polish king and his Russian sponsors, which aimed to preserve Poland's
independence and the szlachta's traditional privileges. Attempts at
reform provoked the union's neighbours, and in 1772 the First
Partition of the Commonwealth by Prussia,
place; an act which the "Partition Sejm", under considerable duress,
eventually "ratified" fait accompli. Disregarding this loss, in
1773 the king established the Commission of National Education, the
first government education authority in Europe. Corporal punishment of
children was officially prohibited in 1783.
Constitution of May 3, 1791, a romantic representation of the
enactment ceremony in Warsaw, by Jan Matejko.
Sejm convened by Stanisław II August in 1788 successfully
adopted the 3 May Constitution, the first set of modern supreme
national laws in Europe. However, this document, accused by detractors
of harbouring revolutionary sympathies, generated strong opposition
from the Commonwealth's nobles and conservatives as well as from
Catherine II, who, determined to prevent the rebirth of a strong
Commonwealth set about planning the final dismemberment of the
Russia was aided in achieving its goal when
the Targowica Confederation, an organisation of Polish nobles,
appealed to the Empress for help. In May 1792, Russian forces crossed
the Commonwealth's frontier, thus beginning the Polish-Russian War.
The defensive war fought by the
Poles ended prematurely when the King,
convinced of the futility of resistance, capitulated and joined the
Targowica Confederation. The Confederation then took over the
Russia and Prussia, fearing the mere existence of a Polish
state, arranged for, and in 1793 executed, the Second Partition of the
Commonwealth, which left the country deprived of so much territory
that it was practically incapable of independent existence.
Eventually, in 1795, following the failed Kościuszko Uprising, the
Commonwealth was partitioned one last time by all three of its more
powerful neighbours, and with this, effectively ceased to exist.
Era of insurrections
Main articles: Duchy of Warsaw, Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of
Galicia and Lodomeria, and Congress Poland
Partitions of Poland, carried out by Prussia, Russia, and Habsburg
Austria in 1772, 1793 and 1795.
Poles rebelled several times against the partitioners, particularly
near the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th
century. An unsuccessful attempt at defending Poland's sovereignty
took place in 1794 during the Kościuszko Uprising, where a popular
and distinguished general Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who had several years
earlier served under Washington in the American Revolutionary War, led
Polish insurrectionists against numerically superior Russian forces.
Despite the victory at the Battle of Racławice, his ultimate defeat
ended Poland's independent existence for 123 years.
Tadeusz Kościuszko was a veteran and hero of both Polish and American
wars of independence. Following the failure of his insurrection,
Poland ceased to exist for 123 years.
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France temporarily recreated a Polish state as
the satellite Duchy of Warsaw, after a successful Greater Poland
Uprising of 1806 against Prussian rule. But, after the failed
Poland was again split between the victorious powers
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna of 1815. The eastern part was ruled by
the Russian tsar as Congress Poland, which had a very liberal
constitution. However, over time the Russian monarch reduced Polish
Russia annexed the country in virtually all but name.
Meanwhile, the Prussian controlled territory of
Poland came under
increased Germanization. Thus, in the 19th century, only
Austrian-ruled Galicia, and particularly the Free City of Kraków,
allowed free Polish culture to flourish.
Throughout the period of the partitions, political and cultural
repression of the Polish nation led to the organisation of a number of
uprisings against the authorities of the occupying Russian, Prussian
and Austrian governments. In 1830, the
November Uprising began in
Warsaw when, led by Lieutenant Piotr Wysocki, young non-commissioned
officers at the Officer Cadet School in
Warsaw revolted. They were
joined by large segments of Polish society, and together forced
Warsaw's Russian garrison to withdraw north of the city.
Napoleon granted the Duchy of
Warsaw its constitution in 1807.
Painting by Marcello Bacciarelli.
Capture of the
Warsaw Arsenal by the Polish army during the November
Uprising against Tsarist autocracy, 29 November 1830.
Over the course of the next seven months, Polish forces successfully
defeated the Russian armies of Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch
and a number of other Russian commanders; however, finding themselves
in a position unsupported by any other foreign powers, save distant
France and the newborn United States, and with
Prussia and Austria
refusing to allow the import of military supplies through their
Poles accepted that the uprising was doomed to
failure. Upon the surrender of
Warsaw to General Ivan Paskievich, many
Polish troops, feeling they could not go on, withdrew into
there laid down their arms. After the defeat, the semi-independent
Congress Poland lost its constitution, army and legislative assembly,
and was integrated more closely with the Russian Empire.
Spring of Nations
Spring of Nations (a series of revolutions which swept
Poles took up arms in the
Greater Poland Uprising of
1848 to resist Prussian rule. Initially, the uprising manifested
itself in the form of civil disobedience, but eventually turned into
an armed struggle when the Prussian military was sent in to pacify the
region. Eventually, after several battles the uprising was suppressed
by the Prussians, and the
Grand Duchy of Posen
Grand Duchy of Posen was stripped of its
autonomy and completely incorporated into the German Confederation.
In 1863, a new Polish uprising against Russian rule began. The January
Uprising started out as a spontaneous protest by young
conscription into the Imperial Russian Army. However, the
insurrectionists, despite being joined by high-ranking
Polish-Lithuanian officers and numerous politicians, were still
severely outnumbered and lacking in foreign support. They were forced
to resort to guerrilla warfare tactics and failed to win any major
military victories. Afterwards no major uprising was witnessed in the
Russian-controlled Congress Poland, and
Poles resorted instead to
fostering economic and cultural self-improvement.
Despite the political unrest experienced during the partitions, Poland
did benefit from large-scale industrialisation and modernisation
programs, instituted by the occupying powers, which helped it develop
into a more economically coherent and viable entity. This was
particularly true in Greater Poland,
Silesia and Eastern Pomerania
Prussia (later becoming a part of the German Empire);
areas which eventually, thanks largely to the
Greater Poland Uprising
of 1918 and Silesian Uprisings, were reconstituted as a part of the
Second Polish Republic, becoming the country's most prosperous
History of Poland
History of Poland (1918–39), Kingdom of Poland
(1916–18), Battle of
Warsaw (1920), and Second Polish Republic
Chief of State Marshal
Józef Piłsudski was the nation's premiere
statesman between 1918 until his death on 12 May 1935.
During World War I, all the Allies agreed on the reconstitution of
United States President
Woodrow Wilson proclaimed in Point
13 of his Fourteen Points. A total of 2 million Polish troops fought
with the armies of the three occupying powers, and 450,000 died.
Shortly after the armistice with
Germany in November 1918, Poland
regained its independence as the Second Polish
Rzeczpospolita Polska). It reaffirmed its independence after a series
of military conflicts, the most notable being the Polish–Soviet War
Poland inflicted a crushing defeat on the
Red Army at
the Battle of Warsaw, an event which is considered to have halted the
advance of Communism into
Europe and forced
Vladimir Lenin to rethink
his objective of achieving global socialism. The event is often
referred to as the "Miracle at the Vistula".
Poland during the Interwar period, 1921–39
During this period,
Poland successfully managed to fuse the
territories of the three former partitioning powers into a cohesive
nation state. Railways were restructured to direct traffic towards
Warsaw instead of the former imperial capitals, a new network of
national roads was gradually built up and a major seaport was opened
on the Baltic Coast, so as to allow Polish exports and imports to
bypass the politically charged Free City of Danzig.
The inter-war period heralded in a new era of Polish politics. Whilst
Polish political activists had faced heavy censorship in the decades
up until the First World War, the country now found itself trying to
establish a new political tradition. For this reason, many exiled
Polish activists, such as Ignacy Paderewski (who would later become
prime minister) returned home to help; a significant number of them
then went on to take key positions in the newly formed political and
governmental structures. Tragedy struck in 1922 when Gabriel
Narutowicz, inaugural holder of the presidency, was assassinated at
Zachęta Gallery in
Warsaw by painter and right-wing nationalist
In 1926, a May coup, led by the hero of the Polish independence
campaign Marshal Józef Piłsudski, turned rule of the Second Polish
Republic over to the nonpartisan
Sanacja (Healing) movement in an
effort to prevent radical political organizations on both the left and
the right from destabilizing the country. The movement functioned
integrally until Piłsudski's death in 1935. Following Marshall
Piłsudski's death, Sanation split into several competing
factions. By the late 1930s, Poland's government had become
increasingly rigid; with a number of "undesirable" political parties,
which threatened the stability of the country such as the Polish
As a subsequent result of the
Munich Agreement in 1938, Czechoslovakia
Poland the small 350 sq mi
Zaolzie region. The area was a
point of contention between the Polish and Czechoslovak governments in
the past and the two countries fought a brief seven-day war over it in
World War II
History of Poland
History of Poland (1939–45), Invasion of Poland,
Polish contribution to World War II, and War crimes in occupied Poland
during World War II
7TP tanks during military maneuvers shortly before the
Invasion of Poland, 1939
The formal beginning of
World War II
World War II was marked by the Nazi German
Poland on 1 September 1939, followed by the Soviet
Poland on 17 September. On 28 September 1939 Warsaw
capitulated. As agreed earlier in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact,
Poland was split into two zones, one occupied by Nazi Germany, the
other, including all of Kresy, fell under the control of the Soviet
Union. In 1939–41, the Soviets deported hundreds of thousands of
Poles to distant parts of the Soviet Union. The Soviet
executed thousands of Polish prisoners of war (inter alia Katyn
massacre) ahead of the Operation Barbarossa. German planners had
in November 1939 called for "the complete destruction" of all Poles
and their fate, as well as many other Slavs, was outlined in genocidal
Pilots of the 303 "Kościuszko" Polish Fighter Squadron during the
Battle of Britain, October 1940
Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution in
Europe [b] and
its troops served both the
Polish Government in Exile
Polish Government in Exile in the west and
Soviet leadership in the east. In the west, the Polish expeditionary
corps played an important role in the Italian and North African
Campaigns and are particularly remembered for the Battle of Monte
Cassino. In the east, the Soviet-backed Polish 1st Army
distinguished itself in the battles for
Warsaw and Berlin.
Polish servicemen were also active in the theatres of naval and air
warfare; during the
Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain Polish squadrons such as the No.
303 "Kościuszko" fighter squadron achieved considerable success,
and by the end of the war the exiled Polish Air Forces could claim 769
confirmed kills. Meanwhile, the
Polish Navy was active in the
protection of convoys in the
North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
The domestic underground resistance movement, the
Armia Krajowa (Home
Army), fought against German occupation. The wartime resistance
Poland was one of the three largest resistance movements
of the entire war,[c] and encompassed an unusually broad range of
clandestine activities, which functioned as an underground state
complete with degree-awarding universities and a court system. The
resistance was loyal to the exiled government and generally resented
the idea of a communist Poland; for this reason, in the summer of 1944
they initiated Operation Tempest, of which the
Warsaw Uprising that
begun on 1 August 1944 was the best known operation. The
objective of the uprising was to drive the German occupiers from the
city and help with the larger fight against
Germany and the Axis
powers. Secondary motives were to see
Warsaw liberated before the
Soviets could reach the capital, so as to underscore Polish
sovereignty by empowering the
Polish Underground State
Polish Underground State before the
Polish Committee of National Liberation
Polish Committee of National Liberation could assume
control. A lack of Allied support and Stalin's reluctance to allow the
1st Army to help their fellow countrymen take the city led to the
uprising's failure and subsequent planned destruction of the city.
Map of the
Holocaust in German occupied
Poland with deportation routes
and massacre sites. Major ghettos marked with yellow stars. Germany's
Nazi extermination camps marked with white skulls in black squares.
The border in 1941 between
Nazi Germany and the
Soviet Union marked in
German forces under direct order from
Adolf Hitler set up six
extermination camps, all of which operated in the heart of Poland.
They included Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz. The Germans
transported the condemned
Jews from the Third Reich and across
Europe to murder them in the death camps set up in the Polish
areas annexed by Nazi Germany.
Grave of a Polish Home Army resistance fighter killed during the
Warsaw Uprising. The battle lasted 63 days and resulted in the deaths
of 200,000 civilians in 1944.
Germany killed 2.9 million Polish Jews, and 2.8 million ethnic
Poles, including Polish academics, doctors, lawyers, nobility,
priests and numerous others. It is estimated that, of pre-war Poland's
Jewry, approximately 90% were killed. Throughout the occupation, many
members of the Armia Krajowa, supported by the Polish government in
exile, and millions of ordinary
Poles – at great risk to themselves
and their families – engaged in rescuing
Jews from the Nazi Germans.
Grouped by nationality,
Poles represent the largest number of people
Jews during the Holocaust. To date, 6,620
Poles have been
awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of
Israel–more than any other nation. Some estimates put the number
Poles involved in rescue efforts at up to 3 million, and credit
Poles with sheltering up to 450,000 Jews.
Around 150,000 Polish civilians were killed by Soviet Communists
between 1939 and 1941 during the Soviet Union's occupation of eastern
Poland (Kresy), and another estimated 100,000
Poles were killed by the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army
Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the regions of Wołyń and Eastern
Galicia between 1943 and 1944 in what became known as the Wołyń
Massacres. The massacres were part of a vicious ethnic clensing
campaign waged by Ukrainian nationalists against the local Polish
population in the German-occupied territories of eastern
At the war's conclusion in 1945, Poland's borders were shifted
westwards, resulting in considerable territorial losses. Most of the
Polish inhabitants of
Kresy were expelled along the
Curzon Line in
accordance with Stalin's agreements. The western border was moved
to the Oder-Neisse line. As a result, Poland's territory was reduced
by 20%, or 77,500 square kilometres (29,900 sq mi). The
shift forced the migration of millions of other people, most of whom
were Poles, Germans, Ukrainians, and Jews. Of all the countries
involved in the war,
Poland lost the highest percentage of its
citizens: over 6 million perished – nearly one-fifth of Poland's
population – half of them Polish Jews. Over 90% of
deaths were non-military in nature. Population numbers did not recover
until the 1970s.
History of Poland
History of Poland (1945–1989), Polish People's
Republic, History of Solidarity, and Polish Round Table Agreement
At High Noon, 4 June 1989 — political poster featuring Gary Cooper
to encourage votes for the Solidarity party in the 1989 elections
At the insistence of Joseph Stalin, the
Yalta Conference sanctioned
the formation of a new provisional pro-Communist coalition government
in Moscow, which ignored the
Polish government-in-exile based in
London; a move which angered many
Poles who considered it a betrayal
by the Allies. In 1944, Stalin had made guarantees to Churchill and
Roosevelt that he would maintain Poland's sovereignty and allow
democratic elections to take place. However, upon achieving victory in
1945, the elections organized by the occupying Soviet authorities were
falsified and were used to provide a veneer of 'legitimacy' for Soviet
hegemony over Polish affairs. The
Soviet Union instituted a new
communist government in Poland, analogous to much of the rest of the
Eastern Bloc. As elsewhere in Communist
Europe the Soviet occupation
Poland met with armed resistance from the outset which continued
into the fifties.
Despite widespread objections, the new Polish government accepted the
Soviet annexation of the pre-war eastern regions of Poland (in
particular the cities of
Wilno and Lwów) and agreed to the permanent
Red Army units on Poland's territory. Military
alignment within the
Warsaw Pact throughout the
Cold War came about as
a direct result of this change in Poland's political culture and in
the European scene came to characterise the full-fledged integration
Poland into the brotherhood of communist nations.
Rzeczpospolita Ludowa) was
officially proclaimed in 1952. In 1956 after the death of Bolesław
Bierut, the régime of
Władysław Gomułka became temporarily more
liberal, freeing many people from prison and expanding some personal
freedoms. Collectivization in the Polish People's
Republic failed. A
similar situation repeated itself in the 1970s under Edward Gierek,
but most of the time persecution of anti-communist opposition groups
persisted. Despite this,
Poland was at the time considered to be one
of the least oppressive states of the Soviet Bloc.
Labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade
union "Solidarity" ("Solidarność"), which over time became a
political force. Despite persecution and imposition of martial law in
1981, it eroded the dominance of the
Polish United Workers' Party
Polish United Workers' Party and
by 1989 had triumphed in Poland's first partially free and democratic
parliamentary elections since the end of the Second World War. Lech
Wałęsa, a Solidarity candidate, eventually won the presidency in
1990. The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of communist
regimes and parties across Europe.
1990s to present
History of Poland (1989–present)
History of Poland (1989–present) and 2004 enlargement
of the European Union
Poland and the European Union. The country became a member of
the European community of nations on 1 May 2004.
A shock therapy programme, initiated by
Leszek Balcerowicz in the
early 1990s enabled the country to transform its socialist-style
planned economy into a market economy. As with other post-communist
Poland suffered slumps in social and economic
standards, but it became the first post-communist country to reach
its pre-1989 GDP levels, which it achieved by 1995 largely thanks to
its booming economy.
Most visibly, there were numerous improvements in human rights, such
as freedom of speech, internet freedom (no censorship), civil
liberties (1st class) and political rights (1st class), as ranked by
Freedom House non-governmental organization. In 1991,
Poland became a
member of the
Visegrád Group and joined the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) alliance in 1999 along with the Czech Republic,
Slovakia and Hungary.
Poles then voted to join the
European Union in a
referendum in June 2003, with
Poland becoming a full member on 1 May
Poland joined the
Schengen Area in 2007, as a result of which,
the country's borders with other member states of the European Union
have been dismantled, allowing for full freedom of movement within
most of the EU. In contrast to this, a section of Poland's eastern
border now comprises the external EU border with Belarus,
Ukraine. That border has become increasingly well protected, and has
led in part to the coining of the phrase 'Fortress Europe', in
reference to the seeming 'impossibility' of gaining entry to the EU
for citizens of the former Soviet Union.
Candles and flowers on the Royal Route,
Warsaw following the death of
Poland's top government officials including the President in a plane
Smolensk in Russia, 10 April 2010
In an effort to strengthen military cooperation with its neighbors,
Poland set up the
Visegrád Battlegroup with Hungary, Czech Republic
and Slovakia, with a total of 3,000 troops ready for deployment. Also,
in the east
Poland created the LITPOLUKRBRIG battle groups with
Lithuania and Ukraine. These battle groups will operate outside of
NATO and within the European defense initiative framework.
On 10 April 2010, the President of the
Republic of Poland, Lech
Kaczyński, along with 89 other high-ranking Polish officials died in
a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. The president's party was on
their way to attend an annual service of commemoration for the victims
of the Katyń massacre when the tragedy took place.
In 2011, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union
responsible for the functioning of the Council was awarded to Poland.
The same year parliamentary elections took place in both the Senate
and the Sejm. They were won by the ruling Civic Platform. Poland
European Space Agency
European Space Agency in 2012, as well as organised the UEFA
Euro 2012 (along with Ukraine). In 2013,
Poland also became a member
of the Development Assistance Committee. In 2014, the Prime Minister
of Poland, Donald Tusk, was chosen to be President of the European
Council, and resigned as prime minister. The 2015 elections were won
by the opposion
Law and Justice
Law and Justice Party (PiS).
Main article: Geography of Poland
Topographic map of Poland
Poland's territory extends across several geographical regions,
between latitudes 49° and 55° N, and longitudes 14° and 25° E. In
the north-west is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of
Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdańsk. This coast is marked by several
spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the
sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the
Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the
The centre and parts of the north of the country lie within the North
European Plain. Rising above these lowlands is a geographical region
comprising four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes
formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts
are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District,
the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The
Masurian Lake District
Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of
north-eastern Poland. The lake districts form part of the Baltic
Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the
South of the Northern European Plain are the regions of Lusatia,
Silesia and Masovia, which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys.
Farther south is a mountainous region, including the Sudetes, the
Częstochowa Uplands, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the
Carpathian Mountains, including the Beskids. The highest part of the
Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland's southern border.
Częstochowa Uplands in the
Lesser Poland region
The geological structure of
Poland has been shaped by the continental
Europe and Africa over the past 60 million years
and, more recently, by the
Quaternary glaciations of northern Europe.
Both processes shaped the
Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains. The
moraine landscape of northern
Poland contains soils made up mostly of
sand or loam, while the ice age river valleys of the south often
contain loess. The Polish Jura, the Pieniny, and the Western Tatras
consist of limestone, while the High Tatras, the Beskids, and the
Karkonosze are made up mainly of granite and basalts. The Polish Jura
Chain has some of the oldest rock formation on the continent of
Tatra Mountains in southern
Poland average 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in
Poland has 70 mountains over 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) in elevation,
all in the Tatras. The Polish Tatras, which consist of the High Tatras
and the Western Tatras, is the highest mountain group of
Poland and of
the entire Carpathian range. In the
High Tatras lies Poland's highest
point, the north-western summit of Rysy, 2,499 metres (8,199 ft)
in elevation. At its foot lies the mountain lakes of Czarny Staw pod
Rysami (Black Lake below Mount Rysy), and
Morskie Oko (the Marine
The second highest mountain group in
Poland is the Beskids, whose
highest peak is Babia Góra, at 1,725 metres (5,659 ft). The next
highest mountain groups are the
Karkonosze in the Sudetes, the highest
point of which is Śnieżka at 1,603 metres (5,259 ft), and the
Śnieżnik Mountains, the highest point of which is Śnieżnik at
1,425 metres (4,675 ft).
Table Mountains are part of the
Sudetes range in Lower Silesia.
Other notable uplands include the Table Mountains, which are noted for
their interesting rock formations, the
Bieszczady Mountains in the far
southeast of the country, in which the highest Polish peak is Tarnica
at 1,346 metres (4,416 ft), the
Gorce Mountains in Gorce National
Park, whose highest point is
Turbacz at 1,310 metres (4,298 ft),
Pieniny National Park, the highest point of which is
Wysokie Skałki (Wysoka) at 1,050 metres (3,445 ft), and the
Świętokrzyskie Mountains in Świętokrzyski National Park, which
have two similarly high peaks:
Łysica at 612 metres (2,008 ft)
Łysa Góra at 593 metres (1,946 ft).
The lowest point in
Poland – at 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) below sea
level – is at Raczki Elbląskie, near
Elbląg in the
Zagłębie Dąbrowskie (the
Coal Fields of Dąbrowa) region in
Silesian Voivodeship in southern
Poland is an area of sparsely
vegetated sand known as the Błędów Desert. It covers an area of 32
square kilometres (12 sq mi). It is not a natural desert but
results from human activity from the
Middle Ages onwards.
Baltic Sea activity in
Słowiński National Park
Słowiński National Park created sand
dunes which in the course of time separated the bay from the sea
creating two lakes. As waves and wind carry sand inland the dunes
slowly move, at a rate of 3 to 10 metres (9.8 to 32.8 ft) per
year. Some dunes reach the height of up to 30 metres (98 ft). The
highest peak of the park is Rowokol (115 metres or 377 feet above sea
Main article: Rivers of Poland
Vistula River near the
Tyniec Abbey. The river is the longest in
Poland, flowing the entire length of the country for 1,047 kilometres
The longest rivers are the
Vistula (Polish: Wisła), 1,047 kilometres
(651 mi) long; the Oder (Polish: Odra) which forms part of
Poland's western border, 854 kilometres (531 mi) long; its
tributary, the Warta, 808 kilometres (502 mi) long; and the Bug,
a tributary of the Vistula, 772 kilometres (480 mi) long. The
Vistula and the Oder flow into the Baltic Sea, as do numerous smaller
rivers in Pomerania.
The Łyna and the Angrapa flow by way of the
Pregolya to the Baltic
Sea, and the
Czarna Hańcza flows into the
Baltic Sea through the
Neman. While the great majority of Poland's rivers drain into the
Baltic Sea, Poland's
Beskids are the source of some of the upper
tributaries of the Orava, which flows via the
Váh and the
the Black Sea. The eastern
Beskids are also the source of some streams
that drain through the
Dniester to the Black Sea.
Oder River, which forms part of Poland's western border, is the second
longest in the country, flowing for 854 kilometres (531 mi).
Poland's rivers have been used since early times for navigation. The
Vikings, for example, traveled up the
Vistula and the Oder in their
longships. In the
Middle Ages and in early modern times, when the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was the breadbasket of Europe;
the shipment of grain and other agricultural products down the Vistula
Gdańsk and onward to other parts of
Europe took on great
In the valley of Pilica river in
Tomaszów Mazowiecki there is a
unique natural karst spring of water containing calcium salts, that is
an object of protection in
Niebieskie Źródła Nature Reserve
Niebieskie Źródła Nature Reserve in
Sulejów Landscape Park. The origin of the name of the reserve
Niebieskie Źródła, that means Blue Springs, comes from the fact
that red waves are absorbed by water and only blue and green are
reflected from the bottom of the spring, giving that atypical
With almost ten thousand closed bodies of water covering more than 1
hectare (2.47 acres) each,
Poland has one of the highest numbers of
lakes in the world. In Europe, only
Finland has a greater density of
lakes. The largest lakes, covering more than 100 square kilometres
(39 sq mi), are Lake
Lake Mamry in Masuria,
and Lake Łebsko and Lake Drawsko in Pomerania.
The Masurian Lake District, located in the
Masuria region of Poland,
contains more than 2,000 lakes.
In addition to the lake districts in the north (in Masuria, Pomerania,
Kashubia, Lubuskie, and Greater Poland), there is also a large number
of mountain lakes in the Tatras, of which the
Morskie Oko is the
largest in area. The lake with the greatest depth—of more than 100
metres (328 ft)—is Lake
Hańcza in the Wigry Lake District,
Among the first lakes whose shores were settled are those in the
Greater Polish Lake District. The stilt house settlement of Biskupin,
occupied by more than one thousand residents, was founded before the
7th century BC by people of the Lusatian culture.
Lakes have always played an important role in Polish history and
continue to be of great importance to today's modern Polish society.
The ancestors of today's Poles, the Polanie, built their first
fortresses on islands in these lakes. The legendary Prince Popiel
Kruszwica tower erected on the Lake Gopło. The first
historically documented ruler of Poland, Duke Mieszko I, had his
palace on an island in the
Warta River in Poznań. Nowadays the Polish
lakes provide a location for the pursuit of water sports such as
yachting and wind-surfing.
Baltic Sea coast is approximately 528 kilometres (328 mi)
long and extends from
Usedom island in the west to
Krynica Morska in
The Polish Baltic coast is approximately 528 kilometres (328 mi)
long and extends from
Świnoujście on the islands of
Usedom and Wolin
in the west to
Krynica Morska on the
Vistula Spit in the east. For the
Poland has a smooth coastline, which has been shaped by the
continual movement of sand by currents and winds. This continual
erosion and deposition has formed cliffs, dunes, and spits, many of
which have migrated landwards to close off former lagoons, such as
Łebsko Lake in Słowiński National Park.
Prior to the end of the Second World War and subsequent change in
Poland had only a very small coastline; this was
situated at the end of the 'Polish Corridor', the only internationally
recognised Polish territory which afforded the country access to the
sea. However, after World War II, the redrawing of Poland's borders
and resulting 'shift' of the country's borders left it with an
expanded coastline, thus allowing for far greater access to the sea
than was ever previously possible. The significance of this event, and
importance of it to Poland's future as a major industrialised nation,
was alluded to by the 1945 Wedding to the Sea.
The largest spits are
Hel Peninsula and the
Vistula Spit. The coast
line is varied also by
Vistula Lagoons and a few lakes,
e.g. Łebsko and Jamno. The largest Polish Baltic island is called
Wolin known for its
Wolin National Park. The largest sea harbours are
Szczecin, Świnoujście, Gdańsk, Gdynia, Police and
the main coastal resorts – Świnoujście, Międzydzdroje,
Kołobrzeg, Łeba, Sopot,
Władysławowo and the Hel Peninsula.
Wheat fields in Greater Poland
Poland is the fourth most forested country in Europe. Forests cover
about 30.5% of Poland's land area based on international
standards. Its overall percentage is still increasing. Forests of
Poland are managed by the national program of reforestation (KPZL),
aiming at an increase of forest-cover to 33% in 2050. The richness of
Polish forest (per SoEF 2011 statistics)[clarification needed] is more
than twice as high as European average (with
France at the
top), containing 2.304 billion cubic metres of trees. The largest
forest complex in
Poland is Lower Silesian Wilderness.
More than 1% of Poland's territory, 3,145 square kilometres
(1,214 sq mi), is protected within 23 Polish national parks.
Three more national parks are projected for Masuria, the Polish Jura,
and the eastern Beskids. In addition, wetlands along lakes and rivers
Poland are legally protected, as are coastal areas in the
north. There are over 120 areas designated as landscape parks, along
with numerous nature reserves and other protected areas (e.g. Natura
Since Poland's accession to the
European Union in 2004, Polish
agriculture has performed extremely well and the country has over two
million private farms. It is the leading producer in
potatoes and rye (world's second largest in 1989) the world's largest
producer of triticale, and one of the more important producers of
barley, oats, sugar beets, flax, and fruits.
Poland is the European
Union's fourth largest supplier of pork after Germany,
Białowieża Forest, an ancient woodland in eastern Poland, is now
home to 800 wild wisent.
Poland belongs to the Central European province
Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the
World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of
Poland belongs to three
Palearctic Ecoregions of the continental forest spanning Central and
Northern European temperate broadleaf and mixed forest ecoregions as
well as the Carpathian montane conifer forest.
Many animals that have since died out in other parts of
survive in Poland, such as the wisent in the ancient woodland of the
Białowieża Forest and in Podlaskie. Other such species include the
brown bear in Białowieża, in the Tatras, and in the Beskids, the
gray wolf and the
Eurasian lynx in various forests, the moose in
northern Poland, and the beaver in Masuria, Pomerania, and Podlaskie.
In the forests there are game animals, such as red deer, roe deer and
wild boar. In eastern
Poland there are a number of ancient woodlands,
Białowieża forest, that have never been cleared or disturbed
much by people. There are also large forested areas in the mountains,
Lubusz Land and Lower Silesia.
Poland is host to the largest white stork population in Europe.
Poland is the most important breeding ground for a variety of European
migratory birds. One quarter of the global population of white
storks (40,000 breeding pairs) live in Poland, particularly in
the lake districts and the wetlands along the Biebrza, the Narew, and
the Warta, which are part of nature reserves or national parks.
The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country. The climate is
oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and
continental towards the south and east. Summers are generally warm,
with average temperatures between 18 and 30 °C (64.4 and
86.0 °F) depending on the region. Winters are rather cold, with
average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the
northwest and −6 °C (21 °F) in the northeast.
Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the
east, winter is drier than summer.
The warmest region in
Poland is Lower
Silesia in the southwest of the
country, where temperatures in the summer average between 24 and
32 °C (75 and 90 °F) but can go as high as 34 to
39 °C (93.2 to 102.2 °F) on some days in the warmest
months of July and August. The warmest cities in
Lesser Poland, and
Wrocław in Lower Silesia. The average temperatures
Wrocław are 20 °C (68 °F) in the summer and 0 °C
(32.0 °F) in the winter, but
Tarnów has the longest summer in
all of Poland, which lasts for 115 days, from mid-May to
mid-September. The coldest region of
Poland is in the northeast in the
Podlaskie Voivodeship near the borders with
Belarus and Lithuania.
Usually the coldest city is Suwałki. The climate is affected by cold
fronts which come from
Scandinavia and Siberia. The average
temperature in the winter in
Podlaskie ranges from −6 to
−4 °C (21 to 25 °F). The biggest impact of the oceanic
climate is observed in
Baltic Sea seashore area from
Police to Słupsk.
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the largest cities
Main article: Politics of Poland
Poland is a representative democracy, with a president as a head of
state, whose current constitution dates from 1997.
Poland ranks in the
top 20 percent of the most peaceful countries in the world, according
to the Global Peace Index. The government structure centers on the
Council of Ministers, led by a prime minister. The president appoints
the cabinet according to the proposals of the prime minister,
typically from the majority coalition in the Sejm. The president is
elected by popular vote every five years. The current president is
Andrzej Duda and the prime minister is Mateusz Morawiecki.
Polish voters elect a bicameral parliament consisting of a 460-member
lower house (Sejm) and a 100-member Senate (Senat). The
elected under proportional representation according to the d'Hondt
method, a method similar to that used in many parliamentary political
systems. The Senat, on the other hand, is elected under the
first-past-the-post voting method, with one senator being returned
from each of the 100 constituencies.
Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament.
With the exception of ethnic minority parties, only candidates of
political parties receiving at least 5% of the total national vote can
enter the Sejm. When sitting in joint session, members of the
Senat form the National Assembly (the Zgromadzenie Narodowe). The
National Assembly is formed on three occasions: when a new president
takes the oath of office; when an indictment against the President of
Republic is brought to the State Tribunal (Trybunał Stanu); and
when a president's permanent incapacity to exercise his duties due to
the state of his health is declared. To date only the first instance
The judicial branch plays an important role in decision-making. Its
major institutions include the Supreme Court of the
Republic of Poland
(Sąd Najwyższy); the Supreme Administrative Court of the
Poland (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny); the Constitutional Tribunal of
Poland (Trybunał Konstytucyjny); and the State
Tribunal of the
Poland (Trybunał Stanu). On the approval
of the Senat, the
Sejm also appoints the ombudsman or the Commissioner
for Civil Rights Protection (Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich) for a
five-year term. The ombudsman has the duty of guarding the observance
and implementation of the rights and liberties of Polish citizens and
residents, of the law and of principles of community life and social
Main article: Law of Poland
The Supreme Court building in Warsaw
Constitution of Poland
Constitution of Poland is the supreme law in contemporary Poland,
and the Polish legal system is based on the principle of civil rights,
governed by the code of Civil Law. Historically, the most famous
Polish legal act is the Constitution of 3 May 1791. Historian Norman
Davies describes it as the first of its kind in Europe. The
Constitution was instituted as a
Government Act (Polish: Ustawa
rządowa) and then adopted on 3 May 1791 by the
Sejm of the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Primarily, it was designed to
redress long-standing political defects of the federative
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and its Golden Liberty. Previously
Henrican articles signed by each of Poland's elected kings
could perform the function of a set of basic laws.
The Constitution of 3 May adopted in 1791 was the first modern
constitution in Europe.
The new Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople
and the nobility (szlachta), and placed the peasants under the
protection of the government. The Constitution abolished pernicious
parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which at one time
had placed the sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be
bribed by an interest or foreign power, to have rescinded all the
legislation that had been passed by that sejm. The 3 May Constitution
sought to supplant the existing anarchy fostered by some of the
country's reactionary magnates, with a more egalitarian and democratic
constitutional monarchy. The adoption of the constitution was treated
as a threat by Poland's neighbours. In response Prussia, Austria
Russia formed an anti-Polish alliance and over the next decade
collaborated with one another to partition their weaker neighbour and
destroyed the Polish state. In the words of two of its co-authors,
Ignacy Potocki and Hugo Kołłątaj, the constitution represented "the
last will and testament of the expiring Fatherland." Despite this, its
text influenced many later democratic movements across the globe.
In Poland, freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Article 25
(section I. The Republic) and Article 54 (section II. The Freedoms,
Rights and Obligations of Persons and Citizens) of the Constitution of
Narcyza Żmichowska was a proponent of early feminism in Poland.
Feminism in Poland
Feminism in Poland started in the 1800s in the age of the foreign
Partitions. Poland's precursor of feminism, Narcyza Żmichowska,
founded a group of
Suffragettes in 1842. Prior to the last Partition
in 1795, tax-paying females were allowed to take part in political
life. Since 1918, following the return to independence, all women
Poland was the 15th (12th sovereign) country to introduce
universal women's suffrage. Currently, in
Poland abortion is allowed
only in special circumstances, such as when the woman's life or health
is endangered by the continuation of pregnancy, when the pregnancy is
a result of a criminal act, or when the fetus is seriously
malformed. Homosexuality in
Poland was confirmed as legal in
Poland recognises gender change. Trafficking women is
'illegal and rare' (top results worldwide).
March for Life and Family
March for Life and Family organized in support of traditional social
Poland's current constitution was adopted by the National Assembly of
Poland on 2 April 1997, approved by a national referendum on 25 May
1997, and came into effect on 17 October 1997. It guarantees a
multi-party state, the freedoms of religion, speech and assembly, and
specifically casts off many Communist ideals to create a 'free market
economic system'. It requires public officials to pursue ecologically
sound public policy and acknowledges the inviolability of the home,
the right to form trade unions, and to strike, whilst at the same time
prohibiting the practices of forced medical experimentation, torture
and corporal punishment.
Foreign relations of Poland
Foreign relations of Poland and List of diplomatic
missions of Poland
In recent years,
Poland has extended its responsibilities and position
in European and international affairs, supporting and establishing
friendly relations with other European nations and a large number of
Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the UN, the World
Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD), European Economic Area, International Energy
Agency, Council of Europe, Organization for Security and Co-operation
in Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency, European Space Agency,
G6, Council of the
Baltic Sea States, Visegrád Group, Weimar Triangle
and Schengen Agreement.
Poland became an associate member of the
European Union (EU)
and its defensive arm, the Western
European Union (WEU), having
submitted preliminary documentation for full membership in 1996, it
formally joined the
European Union in May 2004, along with the other
members of the Visegrád group. In 1996,
Poland achieved full OECD
membership, and at the 1997 Madrid Summit was invited to join the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the first wave of policy
enlargement finally becoming a full member of
NATO in March 1999.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs located in Warsaw
As changes since the fall of Communism in 1989 have redrawn the map of
Poland has tried to forge strong and mutually beneficial
relationships with its seven new neighbours, this has notably included
signing 'friendship treaties' to replace links severed by the collapse
Poland has forged a special relationships with
Ukraine, with whom it co-hosted the
UEFA Euro 2012
UEFA Euro 2012 football
tournament, in an effort to firmly anchor the country within the
Western world and provide it with an alternative to aligning itself
with the Russian Federation. Despite many positive developments in the
Poland has found itself in a position where it must seek to
defend the rights of ethnic
Poles living in the former Soviet Union;
this is particularly true of Belarus, where in 2005 the Lukashenko
regime launched a campaign against the Polish ethnic minority.
Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union
and has a grand total of 51 representatives in the European
Parliament. Ever since joining the union in 2004, successive Polish
governments have pursued policies to increase the country's role in
European and regional affairs.
Main article: Administrative divisions of Poland
Poland's current voivodeships (provinces) are largely based on the
country's historic regions, whereas those of the past two decades (to
1998) had been centred on and named for individual cities. The new
units range in area from less than 10,000 square kilometres
(3,900 sq mi) for
Voivodeship to more than 35,000
square kilometres (14,000 sq mi) for Masovian Voivodeship.
Administrative authority at voivodeship level is shared between a
government-appointed voivode (governor), an elected regional assembly
(sejmik) and an executive elected by that assembly.
The voivodeships are subdivided into powiats (often referred to in
English as counties), and these are further divided into gminas (also
known as communes or municipalities). Major cities normally have the
status of both gmina and powiat.
Poland has 16 voivodeships, 379
powiats (including 65 cities with powiat status), and 2,478 gminas.
Capital city or cities
Bydgoszcz / Toruń
Gorzów Wielkopolski / Zielona Góra
Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces and Territorial Defence Force
Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force F-16s, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft
The Polish armed forces are composed of four branches: Land Forces
(Wojska Lądowe), Navy (Marynarka Wojenna), Air Force (Siły
Special Forces (Wojska Specjalne) and Territorial Defence
Force – a military component of the Polish armed forces created of
2016. Plans call for the force, once fully active, to consist of
53,000 people who will be trained and equipped to counter potential
hybrid warfare threats. The military is subordinate to the
Minister for National Defence. However, its commander-in-chief is the
President of the Republic.
The Polish army's size is estimated at around 101,500 soldiers (2016).
Polish Navy primarily operates in the
Baltic Sea and conducts
operations such as maritime patrol, search and rescue for the section
of the Baltic under Polish sovereignty, as well as hydrographic
measurements and research. Also, the
Polish Navy played a more
international role as part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, providing
logistical support for the
United States Navy. The current position of
Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force is much the same; it has routinely taken part in
Baltic Air Policing
Baltic Air Policing assignments, but otherwise, with the exception of
a number of units serving in Afghanistan, has seen no active combat
since the end of the Second World War. In 2003, the F-16C Block 52 was
chosen as the new general multi-role fighter for the air force, the
first deliveries taking place in November 2006.
Crew of a
KTO Rosomak armored personnel carrier during a
at the Military Training Area near Drawsko Pomorskie
The most important mission of the armed forces is the defence of
Polish territorial integrity and Polish interests abroad.
Poland's national security goal is to further integrate with
European defence, economic, and political institutions through the
modernisation and reorganisation of its military. The armed
forces are being re-organised according to
NATO standards, and since
2010, the transition to an entirely contract-based military has been
completed. Compulsory military service for men was discontinued in
2008. From 2007, until conscription ended in 2008, the mandatory
service was nine months.
Super Seasprite ship-based helicopter flying by the frigate ORP
Generał Kazimierz Pułaski during an exercise in the Baltic Sea
Polish military doctrine reflects the same defensive nature as that of
NATO partners. From 1953 to 2009
Poland was a large contributor to
United Nations peacekeeping missions. The Polish
Armed Forces took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, deploying 2,500
soldiers in the south of that country and commanding the 17-nation
Multinational force in Iraq.
The military was temporarily, but severely, affected by the 2010
Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash, which killed the Chief of the Army's
Franciszek Gągor and Air Force commanding general
Andrzej Błasik, among others.
Currently, Poland's military is going through a significant
modernization phase, which will be completed in 2022. The government
plans to spend up to 130 billion złoty (US $34 billion), however the
final total may reach 235 billion złoty (US $62 billion) to replace
dated equipment and purchase new weapons systems. Under the
program, the military plans to purchase new tracked armoured personnel
carriers, self-propelled howitzers, utility and attack helicopters, a
mid-range surface-to-air missile system, attack submarines,
minehunters, and coastal anti-ship missiles. Also, the army plans to
modernize its existing inventory of main battle tanks, and update its
stock of small arms.
Poland is currently spending 2% of its
GDP on defense, and is expected to grow to 2.5% of GDP by 2030. In May
2017 the Ministry of National Defence has assured that the Polish army
will be increased to 250,000 active personnel.
Law enforcement and emergency services
Law enforcement in Poland
Law enforcement in Poland and Emergency medical
services in Poland
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter patrol van belonging to the Polish State
Police Service (Policja)
Poland has a highly developed system of law enforcement with a long
history of effective policing by the State Police Service (Policja).
The structure of law enforcement agencies within
Poland is a
multi-tier one, with the State Police providing criminal-investigative
Municipal Police serving to maintain public order and a
number of other specialized agencies, such as the Polish Border Guard,
acting to fulfill their assigned missions. In addition to these state
services, private security companies are also common, although they
possess no powers assigned to state agencies, such as, for example,
the power to make an arrest or detain a suspect.
Emergency services in
Poland consist of the emergency medical
services, search and rescue units of the
Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces and State
Emergency medical services in Poland
Emergency medical services in Poland are, unlike other
services, provided for by local and regional government.
Since joining the
European Union all of Poland's emergency services
have been undergoing major restructuring and have, in the process,
acquired large amounts of new equipment and staff. All emergency
services personnel are now uniformed and can be easily recognised. In
addition, the police and other agencies have been steadily replacing
and modernising their fleets of vehicles.
Main article: Economy of Poland
Warsaw is the financial and economic hub of Poland.
Poland's economy is considered to be one of the more resilient of the
post-Communist countries and is one of the fastest growing within the
EU. Having a strong domestic market, low private debt, flexible
currency, and not being dependent on a single export sector,
the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s
recession. Since the fall of the communist government,
pursued a policy of liberalising the economy. It is an example of the
transition from a centrally planned to a primarily market-based
economy. The country's most successful exports include machinery,
furniture, food products, clothing, shoes and cosmetics.
Poland's largest trading partner is Germany.
Poland is a member of the
Schengen Area and the EU single market.
The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a
liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of
the private sector. Also, several consumer rights organizations have
become active in the country. Restructuring and privatisation of
"sensitive sectors" such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy has
been continuing since 1990. The biggest privatisations have been the
sale of the national telecoms firm Telekomunikacja Polska to France
Télécom in 2000, and an issue of 30% of the shares in Poland's
largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stockmarket in 2004.
The Polish banking sector is the largest in the Central and Eastern
European region, with 32.3 branches per 100,000 adults.
The banks are the largest and most developed sector of the country's
financial markets. They are regulated by the Polish Financial
Supervision Authority. During the transformation to a market-oriented
economy, the government privatized several banks, recapitalized the
rest, and introduced legal reforms that made the sector more
competitive. This has attracted a significant number of strategic
foreign investors (ICFI). Poland's banking sector has approximately 5
national banks, a network of nearly 600 cooperative banks and 18
branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors have
controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which make up 68% of
the banking capital.
Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector,
with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the
European Union. The biggest money-makers abroad include smoked and
fresh fish, fine chocolate, and dairy products, meats and specialty
breads, with the exchange rate conducive to export growth.
Food exports amounted to 62 billion zloty in 2011, increasing by 17%
from 2010. Structural reforms in health care, education, the
pension system, and state administration have resulted in
larger-than-expected fiscal pressures.
Warsaw leads Central
Eurostat data, Polish PPS GDP per capita stood at 70% of
the EU average in 2017, up from 50 percent in the year prior to the
accession to the EU in 2004.
Solaris Bus & Coach is a family-owned bus, coach and tram
manufacturer near Poznań.
Since the opening of the labor market in the European Union, Poland
experienced a mass emigration of over 2.3 million, mainly due to the
higher wages offered abroad, and due to the rise in levels of
unemployment following the global
Great Recession of
2008. The emigration has increased the average wages
for the workers who remained in Poland, in particular for those with
intermediate level skills.
Products and goods manufactured in
Poland include: electronics, buses
and trams (Solaris, Solbus), helicopters and planes (PZL Świdnik, PZL
Mielec), trains (Pesa SA), ships (
Polish Navy Shipyard), military equipment (FB "Łucznik" Radom,
Bumar-Łabędy SA), medicines (Polpharma, Polfa), food (Tymbark,
Hortex, E. Wedel), clothes (LLP), glass, pottery (Bolesławiec),
chemical products and others.
Poland is also one of the world's biggest producers of copper, silver
and coal, as well as potatoes, rye, rapeseed, cabbage, apples,
strawberries and ribes.
Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest exchange by market capitalization
in East-Central Europe.
Poland is recognised as a regional economic leader within Central
Europe, with nearly 40 percent of the 500 biggest companies in the
region (by revenues) as well as a high globalisation rate. The
country's largest firms comprise the
WIG30 index, which is traded on
Warsaw Stock Exchange.
The economic transition in 1989 has resulted in a dynamic increase in
the number and value of investments conducted by Polish corporations
abroad. Over a quarter of these companies have participated in a
foreign project or joint venture, and 72 percent decided to continue
foreign expansion. According to reports made by the National Bank of
Poland, the value of Polish foreign direct investments reached almost
300 billion PLN at the end of 2014. The Central Statistical Office
estimated that in 2014 there were around 1,437 Polish corporations
with interests in 3,194 foreign entities.
Well known Polish brands include, among others PKO Bank Polski, PKN
Orlen, PGE Energy, PZU, PGNiG, Tauron Group, Lotos Group, KGHM Polska
Miedź, Asseco, Plus, Play, LOT Polish Airlines, Poczta Polska, Polish
State Railways (PKP), Biedronka, and TVP.
The list includes the largest companies by turnover in 2016:
PKN Orlen SA
Oil and gas
Oil and gas
Grupa Lotos SA
Oil and gas
KGHM Polska Miedź
KGHM Polska Miedź SA
Tauron Group SA
.pl Sp. z o.o.
Main articles: Tourism in Poland, List of World Heritage Sites of
Poland, List of Historic Monuments (Poland), Seven Wonders of Poland,
and Crown of Polish Mountains
The Old City of
Zamość is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Aquarium in the Zoological Garden in Wrocław
Malbork Castle is the world's largest medieval brick gothic complex
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after joining
European Union in 2004. Tourism contributes significantly to
the overall economy and makes up a relatively large proportion of the
country's service market.
Poland is the 16th most visited country
in the world by foreign tourists, as ranked by World Tourism
Tourist attractions in
Poland vary, from the mountains in the south to
the sandy beaches in the north, with a trail of nearly every
architectural style. The most visited city is Kraków, which was the
former capital of
Poland and serves as a relic of Polish Golden Age of
Kraków also held royal coronations of most Polish kings.
Among other notable sites in the country is Wrocław, one of the
oldest cities in Poland.
Wrocław possesses a huge market square with
two city halls, as well as the oldest Zoological Gardens with one of
the world's largest number of animal species and is famous for its
dwarfs. The Polish capital
Warsaw and its historical Old Town were
entirely reconstructed after wartime destruction. Other cities
attracting tourists include Gdańsk, Poznań, Szczecin, Lublin, Toruń
and the historic site of the German
Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp in
Poland's main tourist offerings include outdoor activities such as
skiing, sailing, mountain hiking and climbing, as well as agrotourism,
sightseeing historical monuments. Tourist destinations include the
Baltic Sea coast in the north; the
Masurian Lake District
Masurian Lake District and
Białowieża Forest in the east; on the south Karkonosze, the Table
Mountains and the Tatra Mountains, where Rysy, the highest peak of
Poland, and the famous
Orla Perć mountain trail are located. The
Bieszczady Mountains lie in the extreme south-east.
There are over 100 castles in the country, many in the Lower Silesian
Voivodeship and along the popular Trail of the Eagles' Nests.
Energy in Poland
Energy in Poland and
Coal mining in Poland
Bełchatów Power Station
Bełchatów Power Station is a lignite-fired power station that
produces 27–28 TWh of electricity per year, or twenty percent of the
total power generation in Poland.
The electricity generation sector in
Poland is largely
fossil-fuel–based. Many power plants nationwide use Poland's
position as a major European exporter of coal to their advantage by
continuing to use coal as the primary raw material in production of
their energy. In 2013,
Poland scored 48 out of 129 states in the
Energy Sustainability Index. The three largest Polish coal mining
Kompania Węglowa and JSW) extract around 100
million tonnes of coal annually. All three of these companies are key
constituents of the
Warsaw Stock Exchange's lead economic indexes.
Renewable forms of energy account for a smaller proportion of Poland's
full energy generation capacity. However, the national government
has set targets for the development of renewable energy sources in
Poland which should see the portion of power produced by renewable
resources climb to 7.5% by 2010 and 15% by 2020. This is to be
achieved mainly through the construction of wind farms and a number of
Poland has around 164,800,000,000 m3 of proven natural gas reserves
and around 96,380,000 barrels of proven oil reserves. These reserves
are exploited by energy supply companies such as
PKN Orlen ("the only
Polish company listed in the Fortune Global 500"). However, the small
amounts of fossil fuels naturally occurring in
Poland is insufficient
to satisfy the full energy consumption needs of the population.
Therefore, the country is a net importer of oil and natural gas.
The 5 largest companies supplying
Poland with electricity are PGE,
Tauron, Enea, Energa and
Main articles: Transport in Poland, List of airports in Poland, and
Highways in Poland
A1, A4 motorways and express road 44 junction near Gliwice
Transport in Poland
Transport in Poland is provided by means of rail, road, marine
shipping and air travel. Positioned in Central
Europe with its eastern
and part of its northeastern border constituting the longest land
border of the
Schengen Area with the rest of Northern and Central
Since joining the EU in May 2004,
Poland has invested large amounts of
public funds into modernization projects of its transport networks.
The country now has a developing network of highways, composed of
express roads and motorways such as A1, A2, A4, A6, A8, A18. At the
end of 2017,
Poland had 3421,7 km of highways. In addition to
these newly built roads, many local and regional roads are being fixed
as part of a national programme to rebuild all roads in Poland.
PKP Intercity Pendolino at the
Wrocław Główny railway station
In 2015, the nation had 19,000 kilometres (11,800 mi) of railway
track. Trains can operate up to 160 km/h (99 mph) on 7.5% of
the track. Most trains operate between 80 and 120 km/h (50 and
75 mph). Part of the system operates at 40 km/h
(25 mph). Polish authorities maintain a program of improving
operating speeds across the entire Polish rail network. To that end,
Polish State Railways
Polish State Railways (PKP) is adopting new rolling stock such as the
Siemens Taurus ES64U4, which is in principle capable of speeds up to
200 km/h (124 mph). Additionally, in December 2014, Poland
began to implement high–speed rail routes connecting major Polish
cities. The Polish government has revealed that it intends to connect
all major cities to a future high-speed rail network by 2020. The
new PKP Pendolino ETR 610 test train set the record for the fastest
train in the history of Poland, reaching 293 km/h (182 mph)
on 24 November 2013. Previously, the speed record had been
160 km/h (99 mph) since 1985. Most intercity rail routes in
Poland are operated by PKP Intercity, whilst regional trains are run
by a number of operators, the largest of which is Przewozy Regionalne.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines is one of the world's oldest air carriers still in
operation, originally established on 1 January 1929.
On 14 December 2014,
Polish State Railways
Polish State Railways started passenger service
using the PKP Pendolino ED250, operating at 200 km/h speed on
80 km of line between Olszamowice and Zawiercie (part of the
Central Rail Line). Currently, it is the line with highest railway
speed in Poland.
The air and maritime transport markets in
Poland are largely well
Poland has a number of international airports, the largest
of which is
Warsaw Chopin Airport, the primary global hub for LOT
Polish Airlines. LOT is the 28th largest European airline and the
world's 12th oldest still in operation, established in 1929 from a
Aerolloyd (1922) and Aero (1925). Other major airports with
international connections include
John Paul II
John Paul II International Airport
Kraków–Balice, Wrocław–Copernicus Airport,
Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa
Seaports exist all along Poland's Baltic coast, with most freight
operations using Szczecin, Świnoujście,
Gdańsk as well
Elbląg as their base. Passenger ferries
Scandinavia all year round; these services are
Świnoujście by Polferries,
Stena Line from
Unity Line from the Port of Świnoujście.
Science and technology
Main article: Polish science and technology
Physicist and chemist Maria Skłodowska-
Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. She also
established Poland's Radium Institute in 1925.
Over the course of history, the Polish people made great contributions
in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. Perhaps the most
renowned Pole to support this theory was
Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj
Kopernik), who triggered the
Copernican Revolution by placing the Sun
rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. He also
derived a quantity theory of money, which made him a pioneer of
economics. Copernicus' achievements and discoveries are considered the
basis of Polish culture and cultural identity.
Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century Polish astronomer who formulated
the heliocentric model of the solar system that placed the Sun rather
than the Earth at its center.
Poland's tertiary education institutions; traditional universities, as
well as technical, medical, and economic institutions, employ around
61,000 researchers and members of staff. There are around 300 research
and development institutes, with about 10,000 researchers. In total,
there are around 91,000 scientists in
Poland today. However, in the
19th and 20th centuries many Polish scientists worked abroad; one of
the most important of these exiles was Maria Skłodowska-Curie, a
physicist and chemist who lived much of her life in France.
In the first half of the 20th century,
Poland was a flourishing centre
of mathematics. Outstanding Polish mathematicians formed the Lwów
School of Mathematics (with Stefan Banach, Stanisław Mazur, Hugo
Steinhaus, Stanisław Ulam) and
Warsaw School of Mathematics (with
Alfred Tarski, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Wacław Sierpiński). The events
World War II
World War II pushed many of them into exile. Such was the case of
Benoît Mandelbrot, whose family left
Poland when he was still a
child. An alumnus of the
Warsaw School of Mathematics was Antoni
Zygmund, one of the shapers of 20th century mathematical analysis.
Over 40 research and development centers and 4,500 researchers make
Poland the biggest research and development hub in Central and Eastern
Europe. Multinational companies such as: ABB, Delphi,
GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hewlett–Packard, IBM, Intel, LG
Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola,
Samsung all have set up
research and development centres in Poland. Companies chose
Poland because of the availability of highly qualified labour force,
presence of universities, support of authorities, and the largest
market in East-Central Europe. According to a KPMG report in
2011 80% of Poland's current investors are content with their
choice and willing to reinvest.
Main article: Telecommunications in Poland
Poczta Polska in Warsaw. Poland's postal service can
trace its roots to the year 1558.
The public postal service in
Poland is operated by
Poczta Polska (the
Polish Post). It was created on 18 October 1558, when King Sigismund
II Augustus established a permanent postal route from
Venice. The service was dissolved during the foreign partitions in the
18th century. After regaining independence in 1918,
Poland saw the
rapid development of the postal system as new services were introduced
including money transfers, payment of pensions, delivery of magazines,
and air mail. The government-owned enterprise of Polish Post,
Telegraph and Telephone (Polska Poczta, Telegraf i Telefon) was
established in 1928.
During wars and national uprisings communication was provided mainly
through the military authorities. Many important events in the history
Poland involved the postal service, like the defence of the Polish
Post Office in
Gdańsk in 1939, and the participation of the Polish
Scouts' Postal Service in the
At present, the service is a modern state-owned company that provides
a number of standard and express delivery as well as home-delivery
services. With an estimated number of around 83,000 employees
Poczta Polska also has a personal tracking system for
parcels. In 2017 the company adopted a strategy that assumes
increasing revenues to 6.9 billion PLN by 2021; the aim is to double
revenues from courier and parcel services and a five-fold growth in
Demographics of Poland
Demographics of Poland and Demographic history of
Poland 1900–2010 in millions of inhabitants
Poland, with 38,544,513 inhabitants, has the eighth-largest population
Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union. It has a
population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometer (328 per
Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions
on its soil. The country had a particularly large
prior to World War II, when the Nazi Germany's regime led to the
Holocaust. There were an estimated 3 million
Jews living in Poland
before the war—less than 300,000 survived. The outcome of the war,
particularly the shift of Poland's borders to the area between the
Curzon Line and the Oder-Neisse line, coupled with post-war expulsion
of minorities, significantly reduced the country's ethnic diversity.
Over 7 million Germans fled or were expelled from the Polish side of
the Oder-Neisse boundary, after the country's borders were re-drawn by
the big three Allied powers (United States, Britain and the Soviet
Union) after the war. Post-
World War II
World War II deportations were ordered
by the Soviet authorities, who wished to remove the sizeable Polish
minorities from Lithuania,
Ukraine and repatriation of
Poland to the
Soviet Union (see territorial changes of
Poland and historical demography of
Poland for details).
According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 people, or 96.74% of the
population, consider themselves Polish, while 471,500 (1.23%) declared
another nationality, and 774,900 (2.03%) did not declare any
nationality. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in
Poland are Germans (152,897 according to the census, 92% of whom live
Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship),
49,000), Ukrainians (c. 30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews,
Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars
The Polish language, part of the West Slavic branch of the Slavic
languages, functions as the official language of Poland. Until recent
decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language, but has
been replaced by English as the most common second language studied
and spoken. In 2015, more than 50% of
Poles declared to speak
English – Russian came second and German came third, other commonly
spoken languages include French, Italian and Spanish.
In recent years, Poland's population has decreased due to an increase
in emigration and a decline in the birth rate. Since Poland's
accession to the European Union, a significant number of
emigrated, primarily to the United Kingdom,
Germany and Ireland in
search of better work opportunities abroad. With better economic
conditions and Polish salaries at 70% of the EU average in 2016, this
trend started to decrease in the 2010s and workforce became needed in
the country. As a result, the Polish Minister of Development Mateusz
Morawiecki suggested that
Poles abroad should return to Poland.
Polish minorities are still present in the neighboring countries of
Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other countries (see
Poles for population numbers). Altogether, the number of ethnic Poles
living abroad is estimated to be around 20 million. The
largest number of
Poles outside of
Poland can be found in the United
States and Germany. The total fertility rate (TFR) in
estimated in 2013 at 1.33 children born to a woman.
Main article: List of cities and towns in Poland
Largest cities or towns in Poland
Central Statistical Office population report for 2016
Polish language and Languages of Poland
Dolina Jadwigi — a bilingual (Polish-Kashubian) road sign with the
Polish (język polski, polszczyzna) is a
Slavic language spoken
Poland and the native language of Poles. It belongs to
the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages. Polish is the
official language of Poland, but it is also used throughout the world
by Polish minorities in other countries. It is one of the official
languages of the European Union. Its written standard is the Polish
alphabet, which has 9 additions to the letters of the basic Latin
script (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż), with the notable
exclusion of q,v, and x, which are used mainly for foreign words. The
deaf communities use
Polish Sign Language belonging to the German
family of Sign Languages.
According to the Act of 6 January 2005 on national and ethnic
minorities and on the regional languages, 16 other languages have
officially recognized status of minority languages: 1 regional
language, 10 languages of 9 national minorities (minority groups that
have their own independent state elsewhere) and 5 languages of 4
ethnic minorities spoken by the members of minorities not having a
separate state elsewhere).
Jewish and Romani minorities each have 2
minority languages recognized.
Languages having the status of national minority's language are
Armenian, Belarusian, Czech, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Lithuanian,
Russian, Slovak and Ukrainian. Languages having the status of ethnic
minority's language are Karaim, Kashubian, Rusyn (called Lemko in
Poland) and Tatar. Also, official recognition is granted to two Romani
Polska Roma and Bergitka Roma.
Official recognition of a language provides certain rights (under
conditions prescribed by the law): of education in that language, of
having the language established as the secondary administrative
language or help language in bilingual municipalities and of financial
support from the state for the promotion of that language.
Main article: Religion in Poland
Religions in Poland
Numbers from the Central Statistical Office:
Jasna Góra Monastery
Jasna Góra Monastery in
Częstochowa is a shrine to the Black Madonna
and a major pilgrimage site for Poland's many Catholics.
Poland has become overwhelmingly Roman Catholic over the course of the
20th century. In 2014, an estimated 87% of the population belonged to
the Catholic Church. Though rates of religious observance are lower,
at 52% or 51% of the Polish Catholics,
Poland remains one of
the most devoutly religious countries in Europe. Contemporary
religious minorities include Polish Orthodox (about 506,800),
various Protestants (about 150,000), Jehovah's Witnesses
(126,827), Eastern Catholics, Mariavites, Polish Catholics, Jews,
and Muslims, including the
Tatars of Białystok. There are also
several thousand neopagans, some of whom are members of the Native
Protestant churches include about 77,500
Lutherans in the
Evangelical-Augsburg Church, 23,000 Pentecostals in the Pentecostal
Church in Poland, 10,000
Adventists in the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, and others in smaller Christian churches. Religious tolerance
Poland spurred many theological movements such as Calvinist Polish
Brethren and a number of other
Protestant groups, as well as atheists,
such as ex-Jesuit philosopher Kazimierz Łyszczyński, one of the
first atheist thinkers in Europe. Also, in the 16th century,
Anabaptists from the
Germany settled in Poland—after
being persecuted in Western Europe—and became known as the Vistula
John Paul II
John Paul II was the first Pole and Slav to become a Roman Catholic
Pope. He held the papacy between 1978 and 2005.
Since the country adopted
Christianity in 966,
Poland has contributed
significantly to the development of ideals, which upheld and
guaranteed religious freedoms. In 1264, the
Statute of Kalisz
Statute of Kalisz also
known as a "Charter of
Jewish Liberties" granted
Jews living in the
Polish lands unprecedented legal rights not found anywhere in Europe.
In 1424, a setback occurred when the Polish king was pressed by the
Bishops to issue the Edict of Wieluń, outlawing early Protestant
Hussitism. However, in 1573, the
Warsaw Confederation marked the
formal beginning of extensive religious freedoms granted to all faiths
in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The act was not imposed by a
king or consequence of war, but rather resulted from the actions of
members of the Polish-Lithuanian society. It was also influenced by
the events of the 1572 French St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, which
prompted the Polish-Lithuanian nobility to see that no monarch would
ever be able to carry out such reprehensible atrocities in Poland. The
act is also credited with keeping the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
out of the Thirty Years' War, fought between German Protestants and
The Old Synagogue of
Kraków is the oldest standing synagogue in
Poland and a historic
Jewish landmark. Prior to World War II, Jews
accounted for around ten percent of the total Polish population.
Hasidic Judaism also originated in Poland.
Until World War II,
Poland was a religiously diverse society, in which
substantial Jewish, Christian Orthodox, Protestant, Armenian Christian
and Roman Catholic groups coexisted. In the Second Polish
Republic, according to the Polish census of 1931, Roman Catholicism
was the dominant religion, declared by about 65% of Polish citizens,
followed by other Christian denominations, and about 10% of Jewish
believers. As a result of the
Holocaust and the post–World War II
flight and expulsion of German and Ukrainian populations.
From 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, Karol Józef
Wojtyła reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He
is the only Polish
Pope to date. Additionally he is credited with
having played a significant role in hastening the downfall of
Poland and throughout Central and Eastern
Freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the 1989 statute of the
Polish Constitution, enabling the emergence of additional
Concordat between the
Holy See and Poland
guarantees the teaching of religion in state schools. According
to a 2007 survey, 72% of respondents were not opposed to religious
instruction in public schools; alternative courses in ethics are
available only in one percent of the entire public educational
Famous sites of Roman Catholic pilgrimage in
Poland include the
Monastery of Jasna Góra in the southern Polish city of Częstochowa,
Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, Divine Mercy Sanctuary, Kraków. Many
tourists also visit the Family home of
John Paul II
John Paul II in
outside Kraków. Orthodox pilgrims visit Mountain Grabarka near
Main article: Health in Poland
University Medical Centre in
Gdańsk is the largest and most modern
medical academic institution of northern Poland
Poland's healthcare system is based on an all-inclusive insurance
system. State subsidised healthcare is available to all Polish
citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program.
However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as
a number of private medical complexes exist nationwide.
All medical service providers and hospitals in
Poland are subordinate
to the Polish Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and
scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for
the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system. In addition to
these roles, the ministry is tasked with the maintenance of standards
of hygiene and patient-care.
Poland are organised according to the regional
administrative structure, resultantly most towns have their own
hospital (Szpital Miejski). Larger and more specialised medical
complexes tend only to be found in larger cities, with some even more
specialised units located only in the capital, Warsaw. However, all
voivodeships have their own general hospital (most have more than
one), all of which are obliged to have a trauma centre; these types of
hospital, which are able to deal with almost all medical problems are
called 'regional hospitals' (Szpital Wojewódzki). The last category
of hospital in
Poland is that of specialised medical centres, an
example of which would be the Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology,
Poland's leading, and most highly specialised centre for the research
and treatment of cancer.
In 2012, the Polish health-care industry experienced further
transformation. Hospitals were given priority for refurbishment where
necessary. As a result of this process, many hospitals were
updated with the latest medical equipment.
In 2016, the average life expectancy at birth was 77.6 years (73.7
years for infant male and 81.7 years for infant female).
Main articles: Education in Poland, Universities in Poland, and List
of schools in Poland
Wearing of traditional academic regalia is a common feature of Polish
Commission of National Education
Commission of National Education (Komisja Edukacji Narodowej)
established in 1773, was the world's first state ministry of
education. The education of Polish society was a goal of the
nation's rulers as early as the 12th century. The library catalogue of
the Cathedral Chapter of
Kraków dating back to 1110 shows that in the
early 12th-century Polish academia had access to European and
Classical literature. The
Jagiellonian University was founded in 1364
by King Casimir III in Kraków—the school is the world's 19th oldest
The modern-day Programme for International Student Assessment,
coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, ranks Poland's educational system in its
PISA 2012 as the
10th best in the world, scoring higher than the OECD
Density of collegiate-level institutions of higher education
Education in Poland
Education in Poland starts at the age of five or six (with the
particular age chosen by the parents) for the '0' class (Kindergarten)
and six or seven years in the 1st class of primary school (Polish
szkoła podstawowa). It is compulsory that children participate in one
year of formal education before entering the 1st class at no later
than 7 years of age. Corporal punishment of children in schools is
officially prohibited since 1783 (before the partitions) and
criminalised since 2010 (in schools as well as at home).
At the end of the 6th class when students are 13, students take a
compulsory exam that will determine their acceptance and transition
into a specific lower secondary school (gimnazjum—middle school or
junior high). They will attend this school for three years during
classes 7, 8, and 9. Students then take another compulsory exam to
determine the upper secondary level school they will attend. There are
several alternatives, the most common being the three years in a
liceum or four years in a technikum. Both end with a maturity
examination (matura—similar to French baccalauréat), and may be
followed by several forms of higher education, leading to licencjat or
inżynier (the Polish
Bologna Process first cycle qualification),
magister (second cycle qualification) and eventually doktor (third
In Poland, there are 500 university-level institutions for the pursuit
of higher education. There are 18 fully accredited traditional
universities, 20 technical universities, 9 independent medical
universities, 5 universities for the study of economics, 9
agricultural academies, 3 pedagogical universities, a theological
academy, 3 maritime service universities and 4 national military
academies. Also, there are a number of higher educational institutions
dedicated to the teaching of the arts—amongst these are the 7
academies of music.
University of Warsaw
Poznań Mickiewicz University
Kraków Jagiellonian University
University of Wrocław
Main article: Culture of Poland
The culture of
Poland is closely connected with its intricate
1,000-year history. Its unique character developed as a result of
its geography at the confluence of European cultures. With origins in
the culture of the Proto-Slavs, over time Polish culture has been
profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic,
Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the
many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland. The
Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists
from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular
in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on
cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic
activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of
Polish art, with all its complex nuances.
Main article: Music of Poland
Fryderyk Chopin was a renowned classical composer and virtuoso
Mazurka no. 4 in a minor, op. 17
Mazurka (Polish: mazurek), stylized folk dance in triple meter (1832),
commemorating the November Uprising
Artists from Poland, including famous musicians like Chopin,
Rubinstein, Paderewski or Penderecki and traditional, regionalized
folk composers, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even
recognizes its own music genres, such as sung poetry and disco polo.
As of 2006[update],
Poland is one of the few countries in
rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of
alternative music genres are encouraged.
The origins of Polish music can be traced as far back as the 13th
century; manuscripts have been found in Stary Sącz, containing
polyphonic compositions related to the Parisian Notre Dame School.
Other early compositions, such as the melody of
Bogurodzica and God Is
Born (a coronation polonaise for Polish kings by an unknown composer),
may also date back to this period, however, the first known notable
composer, Nicholas of Radom, was born and lived in the 15th century.
During the 16th century, two main musical groups – both based in
Kraków and belonging to the King and Archbishop of
Wawel – led to
the rapid development of Polish music. Composers writing during this
period include Venceslaus Samotulinus, Nicholas Zelenscius, and
Mikołaj Gomółka. Diomedes Cato, a native-born Italian who lived in
Kraków from about the age of five, became a renowned lutenist at the
court of Sigismund III, and not only imported some of the musical
styles from southern Europe, but blended them with native folk
Artur Rubinstein was one of the greatest concert pianists of the 20th
At the end of the 18th century, Polish classical music evolved into
national forms like the polonaise. In the 19th century the most
popular composers were:
Józef Elsner and his pupils Fryderyk Chopin
and Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński. Important opera composers of the era
Karol Kurpiński and
Stanisław Moniuszko whilst the list of
famous soloists and composers included Henryk Wieniawski, Juliusz
Zarębski. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the most
prominent composers or musicians could said to have been Władysław
Żeleński and Mieczysław Karłowicz, with
Karol Szymanowski and
Artur Rubinstein gaining prominence prior to World War II. Alexandre
Tansman lived in Paris but had strong connections with Poland. Witold
Lutosławski, Henryk Górecki, and
Krzysztof Penderecki composed in
Andrzej Panufnik emigrated.
Ballade form invented by Chopin.
Ballade no. 3 in a-flat major, op. 47
Inspired by poems of Adam Mickiewicz
Traditional Polish folk music has had a major effect on the works of
many well-known Polish composers, and no more so than on Fryderyk
Chopin, a widely recognised national hero of the arts. All of Chopin's
works involve the piano and are technically demanding, emphasising
nuance and expressive depth. As a great composer, Chopin invented the
musical form known as the instrumental ballade and made major
innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise,
étude, impromptu and prélude, he was also the composer of a number
of polonaises which borrowed heavily from traditional Polish folk
music. It is largely thanks to him that such pieces gained great
Europe during the 19th century. Nowadays the
most distinctive folk music can be heard in the towns and villages of
the mountainous south, particularly in the region surrounding the
winter resort town of Zakopane.
Poland has a very active music scene, with the jazz and metal
genres being particularly popular among the contemporary populace.
Polish jazz musicians such as
Krzysztof Komeda created a unique style,
which was most famous in the 1960s and 1970s and continues to be
popular to this day. Since the fall of communism throughout Europe,
Poland has become a major venue for large-scale music festivals, chief
among which are the Open'er Festival,
Opole Festival and Sopot
Main articles: Art in Poland, Young Poland, and List of Polish artists
Lady with an Ermine
Lady with an Ermine (1490) by Leonardo da Vinci. Though not Polish in
its origin, the painting symbolizes Poland's cultural heritage and is
among the country's most precious treasures. The critics named it "a
breakthrough in the art of psychological portraiture."
Art in Poland
Art in Poland has always reflected European trends while maintaining
its unique character. The
Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, later
developed by Jan Matejko, produced monumental portrayals of customs
and significant events in Polish history. Other institutions like
the Academy of Fine Arts in
Warsaw were more innovative and focused on
both historical and contemporary styles. In recent years, art
academies such as the
Kraków School of Art and
Fashion Design, Art
Academy of Szczecin, University of Fine Arts in
Poznań and Geppert
Academy of Fine Arts in
Wrocław gained much recognition.
Interior of the National Museum in Wrocław, which holds one of the
largest collections of contemporary art in the country
Perhaps the most prominent and internationally admired Polish artist
was Tamara de Lempicka, who specialized in the style of
Art Deco and
whose paintings are often collected by celebrities and well-known
personas. Lempicka was described as "the first woman artist to
become a glamour star." Another notable was Caziel, born
Zielenkiewicz, who represented
Prior to the 19th century only
Daniel Schultz and Italian-born
Marcello Bacciarelli had the privilege of being recognized abroad. The
Young Poland movement witnessed the birth of modern Polish art, and
engaged in a great deal of formal experimentation led by Jacek
Malczewski, Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer, and a group of
Stanisław Witkiewicz was an ardent
supporter of Realism, its main representative being Józef
Artur Grottger specialized in Romanticism. Within
Henryk Siemiradzki dominated with his
Academic Art and ancient Roman theme.
Since the inter-war years, Polish art and documentary photography has
enjoyed worldwide fame and in the 1960s the Polish School of Posters
was formed. Throughout the entire country, many national museum
and art institutions hold valuable works by famous masters like
Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens,
Claude Monet and El
Greco. The most distinguished painting of
Poland is Lady with an
Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci, held at the
Czartoryski Museum in
Kraków. Although not Polish, the work had a strong influence on
Polish culture and has been often associated with Polish
identity. Other prominent 20th-century artists originating from
Poland include Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tadeusz Kantor, Roman
Opałka, Igor Mitoraj, Zdzisław Beksiński, Stanisław
Ignacy Witkiewicz and Jean Lambert-Rucki.
Further information: Category:Polish architecture
St. Mary's Basilica on the Main Market Square in
Kraków is an example
Brick Gothic architecture.
Polish cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of European
Romanesque architecture is represented by St.
Andrew's Church, Kraków, and St. Mary's Church, Gdańsk, is
characteristic for the
Brick Gothic style found in Poland. Richly
decorated attics and arcade loggias are the common elements of the
Renaissance architecture, as evident in the City Hall
in Poznań. For some time the late renaissance style known as
mannerism, most notably in the Bishop's Palace in Kielce, coexisted
with the early baroque style, typified in the Church of Saints Peter
and Paul in Kraków.
Renaissance City Hall in Poznań
History has not been kind to Poland's architectural monuments.
Nonetheless, a number of ancient structures has survived: castles,
churches, and stately homes, often unique in the regional or European
context. Some of them have been painstakingly restored, like Wawel
Castle, or completely reconstructed after being destroyed in the
Second World War, including the Old Town and Royal Castle of Warsaw
and the Old Town of Gdańsk.
The architecture of
Gdańsk is mostly of the Hanseatic variety, a
Gothic style common among the former trading cities along the Baltic
sea and in the northern part of Central Europe. The architectural
Wrocław is mainly representative of German architecture,
since it was for centuries located within the Holy Roman Empire. The
Kazimierz Dolny on the
Vistula is a good example of a
well-preserved medieval town. Poland's ancient capital, Kraków, ranks
among the best-preserved Gothic and
Renaissance urban complexes in
The second half of the 17th century is marked by baroque architecture.
Side towers, such as those of Branicki Palace in Białystok, are
typical for the Polish baroque. The classical Silesian baroque is
represented by the University in Wrocław. The profuse decorations of
the Branicki Palace in
Warsaw are characteristic of the rococo style.
The centre of Polish classicism was
Warsaw under the rule of the last
Polish king Stanisław II Augustus. The Palace on the Water is
the most notable example of Polish neoclassical architecture. Lublin
Castle represents the Gothic Revival style in architecture, while the
Izrael Poznański Palace
Izrael Poznański Palace in
Łódź is an example of eclecticism.
Kazimierz Dolny, a town historically located in the Lesser Poland
region, which exemplifies traditional provincial Polish folk
Traditional folk architecture in the villages and small towns
scattered across the vast Polish countryside is characterized by its
extensive use of wood as the primary building material. Some of the
best preserved and oldest structures include wooden churches, and
tserkvas primarily located across southern
Poland in the
Bieszczady regions of the Carpathian mountains.
Many wooden synagogues did not survive to the present time as most of
them were destroyed during the Second World War. However, numerous
examples of secular structures such as Polish manor houses (dworek),
farmhouses (chata), granaries, mills, barns and country inns (karczma)
can still be found across most regions of Poland.
These structures were mostly built using the horizontal log technique,
common to eastern and northern
Europe since the
Middle Ages and also
going further back to the old Slavic building traditions, exemplified
by the wooden Gród (a type of fortified settlement built between the
6th and 12th centuries). These traditional construction methods were
utilized all the way up to the start of the 20th century, and
gradually faded in the first decades when Poland's population
experienced a demographic shift to urban dwelling away form the
Polish literature and History of philosophy in Poland
Polish literature dates back to the 12th century,
when Poland's official language was Latin. Within Polish literary
customs, it is appropriate to highlight the published works concerning
Poland not written by ethnic Poles. The most vivid example is Gallus
Anonymus, a foreign monk and the first chronicler who described Poland
and its territories.
Adam Mickiewicz was an untiring promoter of Poland's culture and
heritage. His national epic poem
Pan Tadeusz is considered a
masterpiece of Polish literature.
The first documented phrase in the
Polish language reads "Day ut ia
pobrusa, a ti poziwai" ("Let me grind, and you take a rest"),
reflecting the culture of early Poland. It was composed by an
abbot named Piotr (Peter) within the
Latin language chronicle Liber
fundationis from between 1269 and 1273, which described the history of
Cistercian monastery in Henryków, Silesia. The sentence was
allegedly uttered almost a hundred years earlier by a Bohemian
settler, who expressed pity for his spouse's duty of grinding by the
quern-stone. The sentence has been included in the
UNESCO Memory of
Joseph Conrad is often regarded as one of the greatest novelists of
all time. He was the author of popular books such as
Heart of Darkness.
Most medieval records in
Latin and the Old
Polish language contain the
oldest extant manuscript of fine Polish prose entitled the Holy Cross
Sermons, as well as the earliest Polish-language bible, the so-called
Bible of Queen Sophia. One of the first printing houses was
Kasper Straube in the 1470s, while
Jan Haller was
considered the pioneer of commercial print in Poland. Haller's
Calendarium cracoviense, an astronomical wall calendar from 1474, is
Poland's oldest surviving print.
The tradition of extending Polish historiography in
subsequently inherited by Vincent Kadłubek, Bishop of
Kraków in the
13th century, and
Jan Długosz in the 15th century. This
practice, however, was abandoned by Jan Kochanowski, who became one of
the first Polish
Renaissance authors to write most of his works in
Polish, along with Mikołaj Rej.
Poland also hosted a large
number of famed poets and writers from abroad like Filippo "Kallimach"
Conrad Celtes and Laurentius Corvinus. A Polish writer
Latin as his principal tool of expression was Klemens
"Ianicius" Janicki, one of the most renowned
Latin poets of his time,
who was laureled by the Pope. Other writers of the Polish Renaissance
include Johannes Dantiscus, Andreus Fricius Modrevius, Matthias
Sarbievius and Piotr Skarga. Throughout this period
experienced the early stages of
Protestant Reformation. The main
figure of Polish Reformation was John Laski, who, with the permission
of King Edward VI of England, created the European Protestant
London in 1550.
During the Polish
Baroque era, the
Jesuits greatly influenced Polish
literature and literary techniques, often relying on God and religious
matters. The leading baroque poet was Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, who
Marinism into his publications. Jan Chryzostom Pasek,
also a respected baroque writer, is mostly remembered for his tales
and memoirs reflecting sarmatian culture in the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth. Subsequently, the
Polish Enlightenment was
dominated by Samuel Linde, Hugo Kołłątaj, Izabela Czartoryska,
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz and two Polish monarchs,
Stanisław I and
Stanisław II Augustus. In 1776
Ignacy Krasicki composed the first
proper novel entitled The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom, which was
a milestone for Polish literature.
Banquet in Nero's Palace, a scene from Quo Vadis written by Nobel
Prize laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz
Among the best known Polish Romantics are the "Three Bards"–the
three national poets active in the age of foreign partitions–Adam
Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński. Adam
Mickiewicz is widely regarded as one of the greatest Polish, Slavic
and European poets. He is known primarily for the national
epic poem Pan Tadeusz, a masterpiece of Polish literature.
A Polish prose poet of the highest order, Joseph Conrad, the son of
dramatist Apollo Korzeniowski, won worldwide fame with his
English-language novels and stories that are informed with elements of
the Polish national experience. Conrad's books and published
novels like Heart of Darkness,
Nostromo and Victory are believed to be
one of the finest works ever written, placing Conrad among the
greatest novelists of all time.
In the 20th century, five Polish novelists and poets were awarded the
Nobel Prize in Literature–
Henryk Sienkiewicz for Quo Vadis,
Władysław Reymont for The Peasants, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czesław
Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska.
Main article: Cinema of Poland
Roman Polański, is Poland's most famous and controversial director.
His Oscar-winning films like Chinatown and The Pianist are classics of
The history of Polish cinema is as long as history of cinematography
itself. Over decades,
Poland has produced outstanding directors, film
producers, cartoonists and actors that achieved world fame, especially
in Hollywood. Moreover, Polish inventors played an important role in
the development of world cinematography and modern-day television.
Among the most famous producers are Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda,
Samuel Goldwyn, Warner Brothers, Max Fleischer, Lee Strasberg,
Agnieszka Holland and Krzysztof Kieślowski.
In the 19th-century, throughout partitioned Poland, numerous amateur
inventors, such as Kazimierz Prószyński, were eager to construct a
film projector. In 1894, Prószyński was successful in creating a
Pleograph, one of the first cameras in the world. The invention, which
took photographs and projected pictures, was built before the Lumière
brothers lodged their patent. He also patented an Aeroscope, the
first successful hand-held operated film camera. In 1897, Jan
Szczepanik, obtained a British patent for his Telectroscope. This
prototype of television could easily transmit image and sound, thus
allowing a live remote view. Following the invention of appropriate
apparatus and technological development in the upcoming years, his
then-impossible concept became reality. In 1910, Ladislas
Starevich made one of the first animated cartoons in the world and was
the first to use the stop motion technique.
Polish cinema developed rapidly in the interwar period. The most
renowned star of the silent film era was Polish actress Pola Negri.
During this time, the
Yiddish cinema also evolved in Poland. Films in
Yiddish language with
Jewish themes, such as The Dybbuk (1937),
played an important part in pre-war Polish cinematography. Following
World War II, the government established 'Film Polski', a state-run
film production and distribution organization, with director
Aleksander Ford as the head of the company. Ford's Knights of the
Teutonic Order (1960) was viewed by millions of people in the Soviet
Czechoslovakia and France.
In 2015, Ida by
Paweł Pawlikowski won the
Academy Award for Best
Foreign Language Film. Other well-known Polish Oscar-winning
productions include The Pianist (2002) by Roman Polański.
Main articles: Television in Poland, Media of Poland, and Theatre of
Further information: Category:Video gaming in Poland
Headquarters of the publicly funded national television network TVP in
Poland has a number of major media outlets, chief among which are the
national television channels. TVP is Poland's public broadcasting
corporation; about a third of its income comes from a broadcast
receiver licence, while the rest is made through revenue from
commercials and sponsorships. State television operates two mainstream
channels, TVP 1 and TVP 2, as well as regional programs for each of
the country's 16 voivodeships (as TVP 3). In addition to these general
channels, TVP runs a number of genre-specific programmes such as TVP
Sport, TVP Historia, TVP Kultura, TVP Rozrywka,
TVP Seriale and TVP
Polonia, the latter is a state-run channel dedicated to the
Polish language television for the Polish diaspora
Intel Extreme Masters, an eSports video game tournament in Katowice
Poland has several 24-hour news channels:
Polsat News 2,
TVN 24 Biznes i Świat, TV Republika and WPolsce.pl.
The two largest private television networks are
Polsat and TVN.
In Poland, there are also daily newspapers like Gazeta Wyborcza
Rzeczpospolita ("The Republic") and Gazeta
Polska Codziennie ("Polish Daily Newspaper") which provide traditional
opinion and news, and tabloids such as Fakt. Rzeczpospolita, founded
in 1920 is one of the oldest newspapers still in operation in the
country. Weeklies include Tygodnik Angora, W Sieci, Polityka, Wprost,
Gość Niedzielny and Gazeta Polska.
Poland also has emerged as a major hub for video game developers in
Europe, with the country now being home to hundreds of studios. One of
the most popular video game series developed in
Poland includes The
Intel Extreme Masters, one of the biggest
eSports events in the world.
Main article: Polish cuisine
Selection of hearty traditional comfort food from
bigos, cabbage rolls, żurek, pierogi, oscypek and specialty breads
Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become very eclectic
due to Poland's history.
Polish cuisine shares many similarities with
other Central European cuisines, especially German and Austrian
as well as Jewish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, French
and Italian culinary traditions. It is rich in meat, especially
pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region) and winter vegetables
(cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices. It is also
characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable
of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish
Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and
eggs. Festive meals such as the meatless Christmas Eve dinner
Easter breakfast could take days to prepare in their
Bagels, made from yeasted wheat dough, originated in Poland.
The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast,
chicken, or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), vegetables, side
dishes and salads, including surówka [suˈrufka] – shredded root
vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or
sauerkraut (Polish: kapusta kiszona, pronounced [kaˈpusta
kʲiˈʂɔna]). The side dishes are usually potatoes, rice or kasza
(cereals). Meals conclude with a dessert such as sernik, makowiec (a
poppy seed pastry), or drożdżówka [drɔʐˈd͡ʐufka] yeast pastry,
The Polish national dishes are bigos [ˈbiɡɔs]; pierogi
[pʲɛˈrɔɡʲi]; kielbasa; kotlet schabowy [ˈkɔtlɛt sxaˈbɔvɨ]
breaded cutlet; gołąbki [ɡɔˈwɔ̃pkʲi] cabbage rolls; zrazy
[ˈzrazɨ] roulade; pieczeń roast [ˈpʲɛt͡ʂɛɲ]; sour cucumber
soup (zupa ogórkowa, pronounced [ˈzupa ɔɡurˈkɔva]);
mushroom soup, (zupa grzybowa, [ˈzupa ɡʐɨˈbɔva] quite different
from the North American cream of mushroom); zupa pomidorowa tomato
soup pronounced [ˈzupa pɔmidɔˈrɔva]; rosół
[ˈrɔɕuw] variety of meat broth; żurek [ˈʐurɛk] sour rye soup;
flaki [ˈflakʲi] tripe soup; barszcz [barʂt͡ʂ] and chłodnik
[ˈxwɔdɲik] among others.
Traditional alcoholic beverages include honey mead, widespread since
the 13th century, beer, wine and vodka (old Polish names include
okowita and gorzałka). The world's first written mention of vodka
originates from Poland. The most popular alcoholic drinks at
present are beer and wine which took over from vodka more popular in
the years 1980–98. Tea remains common in Polish society since
the 19th century, whilst coffee is drunk widely since the 18th
century. Other frequently consumed beverages include various mineral
waters and juices, soft drinks popularized by the fast-food chains
since the late 20th century, as well as buttermilk, soured milk and
Main article: Sport in Poland
The National Stadium in Warsaw, home of national football team, and
one of the host stadiums of Euro 2012
Association football are among the country's most
popular sports, with a rich history of international
competitions. Track and field, basketball, handball, boxing,
MMA, motorcycle speedway, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, ice
hockey, tennis, fencing, swimming and weightlifting are other popular
sports. The most significant sportspeople from
Poland include Robert
Lewandowski, Lukas Podolski, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Marcin Gortat,
Robert Kubica, Agnieszka Radwańska,
Kamil Stoch and Irena Szewińska.
The golden era of football in
Poland occurred throughout the 1970s and
went on until the early 1980s when the Polish national football team
achieved their best results in any FIFA World Cup competitions
finishing 3rd place in the 1974 and the 1982 tournaments. The team won
a gold medal in football at the
1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics and two silver
medals, in 1976 and in 1992. Poland, along with Ukraine, hosted the
UEFA European Football Championship in 2012.
Motorcycle speedway (Żużel) race in the Speedway Ekstraliga
The Polish men's national volleyball team is ranked as 3rd in the
Volleyball team won a gold medal in Olympic 1976 Montreal and
two gold medals in FIVB World Championship 1974, 2014 and hosted.
Mariusz Pudzianowski is a highly successful strongman competitor and
has won more
World's Strongest Man
World's Strongest Man titles than any other competitor in
the world, winning the event in 2008 for the fifth time. The first
Formula One driver, Robert Kubica, has brought awareness of
Formula One racing to Poland. He won the
2008 Canadian Grand Prix
2008 Canadian Grand Prix and
now does rallying following a crash in 2011 that left him unable to
drive F1 cars.
Poland has made a distinctive mark in motorcycle speedway racing
thanks to Tomasz Gollob, a highly successful Polish rider. The top
Ekstraliga division has one of the highest average attendances for any
sport in Poland. The national speedway team of Poland, one of the
major teams in international speedway, has won the Speedway World
Team Cup championships three times consecutively, in 2009, 2010, and
2011. No team has ever managed such feat.
Poles made significant achievements in mountaineering, in particular,
Himalayas and the winter ascending of the eight-thousanders.
The most famous Polish climbers are Jerzy Kukuczka, Krzysztof
Wielicki, Piotr Pustelnik, Andrzej Zawada, Maciej Berbeka, Artur
Hajzer, Andrzej Czok, Wojciech Kurtyka, and women Wanda Rutkiewicz,
and Kinga Baranowska. Polish mountains are one of the tourist
attractions of the country. Hiking, climbing, skiing and mountain
biking and attract numerous tourists every year from all over the
world. Water sports are the most popular summer recreation
activities, with ample locations for fishing, canoeing, kayaking,
sailing and windsurfing especially in the northern regions of the
Fashion and design
Main page: Category:Polish fashion
Reserved is Poland's most successful clothing retailer, operating over
1,700 stores across the world.
Fashion was always an important aspect of
Poland and its national
Poland belongs to one of the most fashionable and
best-dressed countries in the world. Although the Polish fashion
industry is not as famed in comparison to the industries of
Italy, it still contributed to global trends and clothing habits.
Moreover, several Polish designers and stylists left a lifelong legacy
of beauty inventions and cosmetics, which are still in use nowadays.
Throughout history, the clothing styles in
Poland often varied due to
foreign influence, especially from the neighbouring countries and the
Middle East. Because of its geographical position,
metaphorically referred to as a trade route that linked Western Europe
with the Ottoman Empire,
Crimean Khanate and Persia. This allowed the
Poles to absorb several habits, which were present in the Middle East
at the time. The high-class nobility and magnates wore attire that
somewhat resembled oriental styles. The outfits included a
Żupan, Delia, Kontusz, and a type of sword called Karabela, brought
by Armenian merchants. Wealthy Polish aristocrats also kept captive
Janissaries in their courts; this had an impact on the
national dress. The extensive multiculuralism present in the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth developed the ideology of "Sarmatism".
Helena Rubinstein by
Paul César Helleu
Paul César Helleu (1908). Rubinstein was
responsible for revolutionizing modern cosmetics. She was one of the
richest women in the world and her products were incorporated into
The Polish national dress as well as the fashion and etiquette of
Poland also reached the royal court at
Versailles in the 18th century.
Some French dresses inspired by Polish outfits were called à la
polonaise, meaning "Polish-styled". The most famous example is the
robe à la polonaise or simply Polonaise, a woman's garment with
draped and swagged overskirt, worn over an underskirt or
petticoat. Another notable example is the Witzchoura, a long
mantle with collar and hood, which was possibly introduced by
Napoleon's Polish mistress Maria Walewska.
In the early 20th century, the underdeveloped fashion and cosmetics
Congress Poland was heavily dominated by western styles,
mostly from the
United Kingdom and the United States. This inspired
Polish beautician Maksymilian Faktorowicz to seek employment abroad
and create a line of cosmetics company called
Max Factor in
California. In 1920 Faktorowicz invented the conjoined word "make-up"
based on the verb phrase "to make up" one's face, which is now used as
an alternative for "cosmetics". Faktorowicz also raised to fame
by inventing modern eyelash extensions and providing services to
Hollywood artists of the era like Gloria Swanson, Pola Negri, Bette
Davis, Joan Crawford, and Judy Garland.
Another Pole that contributed to the development of cosmetics was
Helena Rubinstein, the founder of
Helena Rubinstein Incorporated
Cosmetics Company, which made her one of the richest women in the
world. One of Rubinstein's most controversial quotes was "There
are no ugly women, only lazy ones".
Established in 1999, the retail store Reserved is Poland's best
clothing store chain, operating over 1,700 retail shops in 19
countries. In 2016 it was announced that Reserved is
moving into a former BHS store at
Oxford Street in London, one of the
most prestigious and busiest shopping promenades in Europe. Also,
Cosmetics founded in 1983, is Poland's largest beauty products
manufacturer and retailer, sold in 700 locations worldwide, including
retail salons in New York City, London, Milan,
Dubai and Las
Outline of Poland
Geographical midpoint of Europe
a. ^ In other languages of Poland:
*Kashubian: Repùblika Pòlskô
b. ^ Numerous sources state that Polish Army was the Allies' fourth
biggest fighting contingent.
Steven J. Zaloga and Richard Hook write
that "by the war's end the Polish Army was the fourth largest
contingent of the Allied coalition after the armed forces of the
Soviet Union, the
United States and the United Kingdom". Jerzy
Jan Lerski writes "All in all, the Polish units, although divided and
controlled by different political orientation, constituted the fourth
largest Allied force, after the America, British and Soviet
M. K. Dziewanowski has noted that "if Polish forces
fighting in the east and west were added to the resistance fighters,
Poland had the fourth largest Allied army in the war (after the USSR,
the U.S. and Britain)".
The claim of the fourth biggest Ally needs to be reconsidered,
however. Throughout the war, Poland's position varied from the 2nd
biggest Ally (after the fall of France, when Polish army outnumbered
the French) to perhaps the 5th at the end of it (after the US, Soviet
Union, China and Britain). Please see the analysis in Polish
contribution to World War II.
c. ^ Sources vary with regards to what was the largest resistance
movement during World War II. The confusion often stems from the fact
that as war progressed, some resistance movements grew larger – and
other diminished. Polish territories were mostly freed from Nazi
German control in the years 1944–45, eliminating the need for their
respective (anti-Nazi) partisan forces in
Poland (although the cursed
soldiers continued to fight against the Soviets). Several sources note
Armia Krajowa was the largest resistance movement in
Norman Davies wrote: "
Armia Krajowa (Home Army),
the AK, which could fairly claim to be the largest of European
resistance"; Gregor Dallas wrote "Home Army (
Armia Krajowa or AK)
in late 1943 numbered around 400000, making it the largest resistance
organization in Europe"; Mark Wyman wrote "
Armia Krajowa was
considered the largest underground resistance unit in wartime
Europe". Certainly, Polish resistance was the largest resistance
till German invasion of Yugoslavia and invasion of the
Soviet Union in
1941. After that point, the numbers of
Soviet partisans and Yugoslav
partisans begun growing rapidly. The numbers of Soviet partisans
quickly caught up and were very similar to that of the Polish
resistance. The numbers of Tito's
Yugoslav partisans were
roughly similar to those of the Polish and
Soviet partisans in the
first years of the war (1941–42), but grew rapidly in the latter
years, outnumbering the Polish and
Soviet partisans by 2:1 or more
(estimates give Yugoslavian forces about 800,000 in 1945, to Polish
and Soviet forces of 400,000 in 1944).
^ Constitution of the
Republic of Poland, Article 27.
^ "Wyniki Narodowego Spisu Powszechnego Ludności i Mieszkań 2011"
[Results of the National Census of Population and Housing 2011] (PDF).
Central Statistical Office (in Polish). March 2012. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 16 January 2013.
^ a b GUS, Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludnosci 2011: 4.4.
Przynależność wyznaniowa (National Survey 2011: 4.4 Membership in
faith communities) p. 99/337 (PDF file, direct download 3.3 MB).
ISBN 978-83-7027-521-1 Retrieved 31 May 2017.
^ olsztyn.stat.gov.pl/. "Wyniki badań bieżących - Baza Demografia -
Główny Urząd Statystyczny". demografia.stat.gov.pl.
^ a b "5. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". International
Monetary Fund. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
^ "GINI Index for Poland". 17 October 2016. Retrieved 25 April
^ "2015 Human Development Report" (PDF).
United Nations Development
Programme. 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
^ a b c d e f g "Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland, 2008" (PDF).
Central Statistical Office (Poland). 28 July 2008. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
^ Disruptive Religion: The Force of Faith in Social-movement Activism.
Books.google.com. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
^ Johnson, Lonnie R. (1996). Central Europe: enemies, neighbors,
friends. Oxford University Press.
^ Lukowski, Jerzy; Zawaszki, Hubert (2001). A Concise History of
Poland (First ed.). University of Stirling Libraries – Popular Loan
(Q 43.8 LUK): Cambridge University Press. p. 3.
^ Norman Davies, Europe: A History, Pimlico 1997, p. 554:
Lithuania was another country which experienced its 'Golden
Age' during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The realm
of the last Jagiellons was absolutely the largest state in Europe
^ Piotr Stefan Wandycz (2001). The price of freedom: a history of East
Europe from the
Middle Ages to the present. Psychology Press.
p. 66. ISBN 978-0-415-25491-5. Retrieved 13 August
^ a b Project in Posterum,
World War II
World War II casualties. Retrieved
20 September 2013.
^ a b
Tomasz Szarota & Wojciech Materski, Polska 1939–1945.
Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami, Warsaw, IPN
2009, ISBN 978-83-7629-067-6 (Introduction online. Archived 1
February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.)
^ Rao, B. V. (2006), History of Modern
Europe Ad 1789–2002: A.D.
1789–2002, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
^ Recap, Research (16 January 2009). "Japan, Turkey, Poland, Mexico
the Rising World Powers?". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
^ "Bloomberg Businessweek: "How
Poland Became Europe's Most Dynamic
Economy" -". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
Poland Became Europe's Most Dynamic Economy". 27 November 2013.
Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
Human Development Index
Human Development Index and its components" (PDF). hdr.undp.org.
Retrieved 27 August 2011.
Warsaw Stock Exchange, Poland, stocks, investing online – Fio
bank". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
^ Veeke, Justin van der. "Developing Countries – isi-web.org".
Retrieved 24 April 2017.
Country and Lending Groups Data". Data.worldbank.org. Archived
from the original on 18 March 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
^  Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2015 Mid Year
^ "World's Safest Countries Ranked — CitySafe". Retrieved 14 April
Poland 25th worldwide in expat ranking". Retrieved 14 April
^ "Poland's Education System: Leading in Europe". Retrieved 26 April
OECD education ranking places
Poland 5th in
Europe and 11th
in the world. Polish schools given top grades". www.oslo.msz.gov.pl.
Retrieved 5 July 2017.
^ Administrator. "Social security in Poland". Archived from the
original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
Healthcare in Poland
Healthcare in Poland – Europe-Cities". Retrieved 24 April
UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. Retrieved
6 February 2012.
^ Maciej Kosiński; Magdalena Wieczorek-Szmal (2007). Z mroku
dziejów. Kultura Łużycka (PDF file, direct download 1.95 MB).
Muzeum Częstochowskie. Rezerwat archeologiczny (Museum of
Częstochowa). pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-83-60128-11-4. Retrieved
9 January 2013. Możemy jedynie stwierdzić, że kultura łużycka nie
tworzyła jednej zwartej całości. Jak się wydaje, jej skład
etniczny był niejednorodny.
^ Gerard Labuda (1992). Mieszko II król Polski: 1025–1034 :
czasy przełomu w dziejach państwa polskiego. Secesja. p. 112.
ISBN 978-83-85483-46-5. Retrieved 26 October 2014. ... w wersji
Anonima Minoryty mówi się znowu, iż w Polsce "paliły się
kościoły i klasztory", co koresponduje w przekazaną przez Anonima
Galla wiadomością o zniszczeniu kościołów katedralnych w
^ Anita J. Prazmowska (13 July 2011). A History of Poland. Palgrave
Macmillan. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-0-230-34537-9. Retrieved 26
^ Knoll, Paul W.; Schaer, Frank, eds. (2003), Gesta Principum
Polonorum / The Deeds of the Princes of the Poles, Central European
Medieval Texts, General Editors János M. Bak, Urszula Borkowska,
Giles Constable & Gábor Klaniczay, Volume 3, Budapest/ New York:
Central European University Press, pp. 87–211,
^ a b Dembkowski, Harry E. (1982). The union of Lublin, Polish
federalism in the golden age. East European Monographs, 1982.
p. 271. ISBN 978-0-88033-009-1.
^ a b Stanley S. Sokol (1992). The Polish Biographical Dictionary:
Profiles of Nearly 900
Poles who Have Made Lasting Contributions to
World Civilization. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. p. 60.
^ Britannica Educational Publishing (1 June 2013). Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, and Poland. Britanncia Educational Publishing. p. 139.
^ Heiko Haumann (2002). A History of East European Jews. Central
European University Press. p. 4.
^ Teeple, J. B. (2002). Timelines of World History. Publisher: DK
^ Wróbel, Piotr (2004). "Poland". In Frucht, Richard C. Eastern
Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. 1.
ABC-CLIO. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6. Retrieved 8 April
2013. At the same time, when most of
Europe was decimated by the Black
Poland developed quickly and reached the levels of the
wealthiest countries of the West in its economy and culture.
^ Jerzy Wyrozumski – Historia Polski do roku 1505 (History of Poland
Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe (Polish Scientific
Publishers PWN), Warszawa 1986, ISBN 978-83-01-03732-1
Norman Davies (1996). Europe: a history. Oxford University Press.
p. 428. ISBN 0-19-820171-0. By 1490 the Jagiellons
controlled Poland-Lithuania, Bohemia, and Hungary, but not the
Jagiellon dynasty (European history)". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ Davies (2007). Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea
^ "The Crimean
Tatars and their Russian-Captive Slaves Archived 5 June
2013 at the Wayback Machine." (PDF). Eizo Matsuki, Mediterranean
Studies Group at Hitotsubashi University.
^ a b Paul W. Knoll (15 March 2011). "Religious Toleration in
Sixteenth-Century Poland. Political Realities and Social Constrains.".
In Howard Louthan; Gary B. Cohen; Franz A. J. Szabo. Diversity and
Dissent: Negotiating Religious Difference in Central Europe,
1500–1800. Berghahn Books. pp. 30–45.
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Józef Andrzej Gierowski – Historia Polski 1505–1764 (History of
Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe (Polish Scientific
Publishers PWN), Warszawa 1986, ISBN 978-83-01-03732-1
^ Dembkowski, Harry E. (1982). The union of Lublin, Polish federalism
in the golden age. East European Monographs, 1982. p. 271.
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Józef Andrzej Gierowski – Historia Polski 1505–1764 (History of
Poland 1505–1764), p. 105-173
Poland – The 17th-century crisis". Britannica Online
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Józef Andrzej Gierowski – Historia Polski 1505–1764 (History of
Poland 1505–1764), p. 174-301
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Józef Andrzej Gierowski – Historia Polski 1764–1864 (History of
Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe (Polish Scientific
Publishers PWN), Warszawa 1986, ISBN 978-83-01-03732-1, p. 1-74
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Józef Andrzej Gierowski – Historia Polski 1764–1864 (History of
Poland 1764–1864), p. 74-101
^ Gardner, Monica Mary (1942). The Rising of Kościuszko (Chapter VII)
(Project Gutenberg). Kościuszko: A Biography. G. Allen & Unwin.,
ltd, 136 pages.
^ Storozynski, Alex (2009). The
Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko
and the Age of Revolution (
Google Book). New York: St. Martin's Press,
352 pages. ISBN 978-1-4299-6607-8.
^ Lukowski, Jerzy; Zawadzki, W. H. (2001). A Concise History of
Poland. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
p. 313. ISBN 978-0-521-55917-1.
^ Frątczak, Sławomir Z. (2005). "Cud nad Wisłą". Głos (in Polish)
(32/2005). Archived from the original on 8 July 2007. Retrieved 18
^ Bitter glory:
Poland and its fate, 1918 to 1939; p.179
^ The Polish word "sanacja" is defined identically as "ł[aciński]:
uzdrowienie (L[atin]: healing) in Słownik wyrazów obcych (Dictionary
of Foreign Expressions), New York, Polish Book Importing Co., 1918 (8
years before Piłsudski's May Coup), p. 701; and in M. Arcta słownik
wyrazów obcych (Michał Arct's Dictionary of Foreign Expressions),
Warsaw, Wydawnictwo S. Arcta, 1947, p. 313. Słownik wyrazów obcych
PWN (PWN Dictionary of Foreign Expressions), Warsaw, Państwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1971, p. 665, defines the expression as follows:
"sanacja łac. sanatio = uzdrowienie" (sanation, from Lat[in] sanatio
= healing) 1. w Polsce międzywojennej — obóz Józefa
Piłsudskiego, który pod hasłem uzdrowienia stosunków politycznych
i życia publicznego dokonał przewrotu wojskowego w maju 1926 r....
(1. in interwar Poland, the camp of Józef Piłsudski, who worked in a
military coup in May 1926 under the banner of healing politics and
public life...) 2. rzad[ko używany]: uzdrowienie, np. stosunków w
jakiejś instytucji, w jakimś kraju. (2. rare[ly used]: healing,
e.g., of an institution, of a country.)
^ "Sanacja," Encyklopedia Polski, p. 601.
^ "Russian parliament condemns Stalin for Katyn massacre". BBC News.
26 November 2010
^ Michael Geyer (2009). Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism
Compared. Cambridge University Press. pp. 152–153.
^ At the siege of Tobruk
^ including the capture of the monastery hill at the Battle of Monte
^ Richard J. Kozicki, Piotr Wróbel (eds), Historical Dictionary of
Poland, 966–1945, Greenwood Press, 1996,
Google Print, p.34
Lynne Olson & Stanley Cloud. 2003. A Question of Honor. The
Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. New York:
^ Peszke, Michael Alfred (February 1999). Poland's Navy, 1918–1945.
Hippocrene Books. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7818-0672-5.
^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa
Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 978-83-02-05500-3,
Warsaw Rising, polandinexile.com
Jerzy Jan Lerski
Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland,
966–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 34.
^ Wojciech Materski,
Tomasz Szarota (2009), "Polska 1939–1945.
Straty Osobowe i Ofiary Represji pod Dwiema Okupacjami". Archived from
the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2016. .
Quote: Liczba Żydów i Polaków żydowskiego pochodzenia, obywateli
II Rzeczypospolitej, zamordowanych przez Niemców sięga 2,7- 2,9 mln
osób. Translation: The number of
Jewish victims is estimated at 2,9
million. This was about 90% of the 3.3 million
Jews living in prewar
Poland. Source: IPN.
^ Wojciech Materski,
Tomasz Szarota (2009), "Polska 1939–1945.
Straty Osobowe i Ofiary Represji pod Dwiema Okupacjami (Human Losses
and Victims of Repressions under Two Occupations)". Archived from the
original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2016. . Retrieved
27 October 2014. Quote: Łączne straty śmiertelne ludności polskiej
pod okupacją niemiecką oblicza się obecnie na ok. 2 770 000.
Translation: Current estimate is roughly 2,770,000 victims of German
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bigos, pierogi, kiełbasa z kapustą, przede wszystkim zaś rozmaite
kasze" Zbigniew Kuchowicz Obyczaje staropolskie XVII-XVIII wieku.
1975; "pieczeń cielęca pieczona (panierowana), pieczeń cielęca
zapiekana w sosie beszamelowym, pieczeń huzarska (=pieczeń wołowa
przekładana farszem), pieczeń rzymska (klops), pieczeń rzymska
(klops z cielęciny) w sosie śmietanowym, pieczeń rzymska z królika
" [in:] Stanisław Berger. Kuchnia polska. 1974.; Polish Holiday
Cookery by Robert Strybel. Strybel, Robert (2003). Polish Holiday
Cookery. ISBN 978-0-7818-0994-8.
^ "History of vodka production, at the official page of Polish Spirit
Industry Association (KRPS), 2007". Archived from the original on 30
^ "Conditions of alcoholic beverages consumption among Polish
^ "FIFA World Cup Statistics-Poland". FIFA. Retrieved 12 December
^ "FIFA Statistics – Poland". Retrieved 12 December 2010.
Poland hosts Euro 2012!". warsaw-life.com. Retrieved 12 December
Volleyball Men's World Championship
Poland 2014". Retrieved 1
^ "Speedway World Cup:
Poland win 2010 Speedway World Cup".
worldspeedway.com. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
Poland – Speedway World Champions for the Third Time in a Row!
Archived 28 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Polaron. The Ultimate
Guide to Poland, 17 July 2011.
^ Final: Heat 25, DPŚ Gorzów 2011, 16 July 2011 (2:15 min). Polacy
mistrzami! on YouTube
^ Summer Sports in
Poland For Visitors Online. Retrieved 2
^ "Top 10 Countries With the Best Dressed Men". 21 September 2015.
Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ a b ""Sarmatism" and Poland's national consciousness – Visegrad
Insight". visegradinsight.eu. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ "polonaise – dress". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ "Some Thoughts On
Witzchoura Mantles". 9 March 2015. Retrieved 24
^ INTERIA.PL. "Maks Faktorowicz: Polak, który stworzył kosmetyczne
imperium". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ "Maksymilian Faktorowicz – człowiek, który dał nam sztuczne
rzęsy". Retrieved 24 May 2017.
^ "Makeup Masters: The History of Max Factor". Retrieved 24 May
^ "Cosmetics: The Beauty Merchant". 9 April 1965. Retrieved 24 May
2017 – via content.time.com.
^ Green, Penelope (15 February 2004). "The Rivals". The New York
Times. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
^ "At a glance: Polish retailer LPP, the fashion giant nearing a UK
debut News Retail Week". retail-week.com. Retrieved 9 September
^ "Polish Companies Highly Value Hamburg For Their Expansion Plans
Hamburg News". hamburg-news.hamburg. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
^ "Polish retailer LPP Group opens largest Reserved store in Russia
– Future of retail business in middle east". imagesretailme.com.
Retrieved 9 September 2016.
^ Butler, Sarah (2 September 2016). "Reserved! Polish fashion chain
moves into BHS flagship store". Retrieved 24 May 2017 – via The
^ "Przemyski Inglot ma już 400 sklepów na świecie".
^ INGLOT. "ABOUT US – One of the world's leading manufacturer in
colour cosmetics – Inglot Cosmetics". inglotcosmetics.com. Retrieved
5 July 2017.
^ Steven J. Zaloga; Richard Hook (21 January 1982). The Polish Army
1939–45. Osprey Publishing. pp. 3–.
ISBN 978-0-85045-417-8. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
Jerzy Jan Lerski
Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996). Historical dictionary of Poland,
966–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 18.
ISBN 978-0-313-26007-0. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
^ E. Garrison Walters (1988). The other Europe: Eastern
1945. Syracuse University Press. pp. 276–.
ISBN 978-0-8156-2440-0. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
^ Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, Columbia
University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-231-12819-3,
Google Print p.344
^ Gregor Dallas, 1945: The War That Never Ended, Yale University
Press, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10980-6,
Google Print, p.79
^ Mark Wyman, DPs: Europe's Displaced Persons, 1945–1951, Cornell
University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8014-8542-8,
Google Print, p.34
^ See for example: Leonid D. Grenkevich in The Soviet Partisan
Movement, 1941–44: A Critical Historiographical Analysis, p.229 or
Walter Laqueur in The Guerilla Reader: A Historical Anthology, New
York, Charles Scribiner, 1990, p.233.
^ a b Velimir Vukšić (23 July 2003). Tito's partisans 1941–45.
Osprey Publishing. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-1-84176-675-1.
Retrieved 1 March 2011.
^ Anna M. Cienciala, THE COMING OF THE WAR AND EASTERN EUROPE IN WORLD
WAR II., History 557 Lecture Notes
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