Coordinates : 52°N 20°E / 52°N 20°E / 52; 20
Republic of Poland _ Rzeczpospolita Polska_ (Polish )
_ Flag Coat of arms
ANTHEM: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego _ _ Poland Is Not Yet Lost_
Location of Poland (dark green)
and largest city
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Polish
MINORITY LANGUAGES Kashubian , German , Belarusian , Ukrainian , Russian , Rusyn , Czech , Slovak , Yiddish
ETHNIC GROUPS (2011 )
* 94.61% Polish * 0.28% German * 0.12% Belarusian * 0.12% Ukrainian * 0.04% Kashubian * 0.03% Romani * 0.02% Lemko * 4.78% other
* Polish * Pole
GOVERNMENT Unitary parliamentary republic
• PRIME MINISTER
LEGISLATURE National Assembly
• UPPER HOUSE Senate
• LOWER HOUSE
• CHRISTIANIZATION 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
• REPUBLIC OF POLAND 13 September 1989
• MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION 1 May 2004
• TOTAL 312,679 km2 (120,726 sq mi) (69th )
• WATER (%) 3.07
• 2017 ESTIMATE 38,634,007 (34th )
• DENSITY 123/km2 (318.6/sq mi) (83rd )
GDP (PPP ) 2017 estimate
• TOTAL $1.114 trillion (21st )
• PER CAPITA $29,349
GDP (NOMINAL) 2017 estimate
• TOTAL $482.920 billion (23rd )
• PER CAPITA $12,722
GINI (2014) 32.08 medium
HDI (2015) 0.855 very high · 36th
CURRENCY Polish złoty (PLN )
TIME ZONE CET (UTC +1)
• SUMMER (DST ) CEST (UTC +2)
DRIVES ON THE right
CALLING CODE +48
ISO 3166 CODE PL
INTERNET TLD .pl
WEBSITE www.poland .pl
* ^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 Christianity in 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_ (_ listen )), officially the REPUBLIC OF
Rzeczpospolita Polska_, listen (help ·info )), is
a parliamentary republic in Central
The establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when
Mieszko I , ruler of a territory roughly 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 by signing the Union of
Lublin . This union formed the
Following the 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
Poland is a regional power in Central Europe. It has the eighth
largest and one of the most dynamic economies in the
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory and protohistory
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Geology * 3.2 Waters * 3.3 Land use * 3.4 Biodiversity * 3.5 Climate
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Law * 4.2 Foreign relations * 4.3 Administrative divisions * 4.4 Military * 4.5 Law enforcement and emergency services
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Corporations * 5.2 Tourism * 5.3 Energy * 5.4 Transport * 5.5 Science and technology * 5.6 Communications
* 6 Demographics
* 6.1 Urbanization * 6.2 Languages * 6.3 Religion * 6.4 Health * 6.5 Education
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Famous people * 7.2 Society * 7.3 Music * 7.4 Visual arts * 7.5 Architecture * 7.6 Literature * 7.7 Media * 7.8 Cuisine * 7.9 Sports * 7.10 Fashion and design
* 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 External links
Main article: Name of Poland
The origin of the name _Poland_ derives from a West Slavic tribe of Polans (_Polanie_) that inhabited the Warta River basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century. The origin of the name _Polanie_ itself derives from the western Slavic word _pole_ (field). In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites (_Lechici_), which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I .
Main article: History of Poland
PREHISTORY AND PROTOHISTORY
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 as fragmented.
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
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 conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of
Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day
Poland was Slavic paganism . With the
Baptism of Poland
Main articles: History of Poland during the Piast dynasty , Civitas Schinesghe , and Gesta principum Polonorum _ Map of Poland under the rule of Mieszko I who is considered the de facto _ creator of the Polish state, c. 960–992
Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial
entity around the middle of the 10th century under the
Piast dynasty .
Poland's first historically documented ruler,
Mieszko I , accepted
Christianity with the
Baptism of Poland
In 1109, Prince
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
In the middle of the 13th century, the Silesian branch of the Piast
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
The 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 12th and 13th centuries, Poland became a destination for German, Flemish and to a lesser extent Scottish, Danish and Walloon migrants. Also, the Jews and Armenians began to settle and flourish in Poland during this era (see History of the Jews in Poland and Armenians in Poland ).
Black Death , a plague that ravaged
History of Poland during the
Jagiellon dynasty and
Renaissance in Poland
Battle of Grunwald was fought against the
German Order of
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
Lithuania -controlled Rus\' areas into Poland's sphere of
influence and proved beneficial for the
Poland was developing as a feudal state, with a predominantly
agricultural economy and an increasingly powerful landed nobility .
Nihil novi _ act adopted by the Polish
The European Renaissance evoked in late Jagiellon Poland (kings 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 _ (_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 in the Early Modern era
The 1569 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 culture through Polonization into areas of modern-day Lithuania, Ukraine, 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 Russia
Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, as well as a series of minor Cossack
uprisings. In 1610 Polish army under command
Żółkiewski seized Moscow after winning the
Battle of Klushino . In
Russia paid homage to the King of Poland. The
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 1648, the Cossack Khmelnytsky Uprising engulfed the south and east, eventually leaving 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. Around four million of Poland's eleven million inhabitants died in famines and epidemics. However, under 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 against the Ottoman Army , commanded by Kara Mustafa , the grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire . King John III Sobieski defeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna on 12 September 1683
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 Russia and 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 Polish Enlightenment .
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
Stanisław II Augustus , the last King of Poland , ascended to the throne in 1764 and reigned until his abdication on 25 November 1795 Main articles: History of Poland (1795–1918) and Partitions of Poland
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
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,
Russia and Austria
took place; an act which the "Partition
The defensive war fought by the
ERA OF INSURRECTIONS
Main articles: Duchy of
Napoleon I of France temporarily recreated a Polish state as
the satellite Duchy of
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
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
Spring of Nations (a series of revolutions which swept
In 1863, a new Polish uprising against Russian rule began. The
January Uprising started out as a spontaneous protest by young Poles
against 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
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 controlled by 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 regions.
History of Poland (1918–39) , Kingdom of Poland
Second Polish Republic , and Battle of
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 Republic (_II
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
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
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
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 Communists, banned.
As result of the Munich Agreement in 1938, major European powers (Germany, France, Britain and Italy) awarded Poland the small 350 sq mi Zaolzie Region of Czechoslovakia. 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 1919 .
WORLD WAR II
History of Poland (1939–45) ,
Invasion of Poland
The formal beginning of
World War II
Poland made the fourth-largest troop contribution in
Polish servicemen were also active in the theatres of naval and air warfare; during the 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 movement in
Poland was one of the three largest resistance
movements of the entire war, 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
Operation Tempest , of which the
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 to
transported the condemned
Jews from the Third Reich and across
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
Around 150,000 Polish civilians were killed by Soviet Communists
between 1939 and 1941 during the Soviet Union's occupation of eastern
Kresy ), and another estimated 100,000
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.
Main articles: 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
Despite widespread objections, the new Polish government accepted the
Soviet annexation of the pre-war eastern regions of
particular the cities of
Lwów ) and agreed to the permanent
Red Army units on Poland's territory. Military
alignment within the
The People\'s Republic of Poland (_Polska 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
and by 1989 had triumphed in Poland's first partially free and
democratic parliamentary elections since the end of the Second World
Lech Wałęsa , a Solidarity candidate, eventually won the
presidency in 1990 . The Solidarity movement heralded the collapse of
communist regimes and parties across
History of Poland (1989–present) and 2004
enlargement of the
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 countries, 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 ,
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 joined 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 Party (PiS).
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 Vistula Lagoon .
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 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 Baltic Sea .
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 Kraków-Częstochowa Upland , 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.
The geological structure of
Poland has been shaped by the continental
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 Eye).
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).
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), the Pieniny in 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) and Łysa Góra at 593 metres (1,946 ft). Table Mountains located in the Lower Silesia region
In the Zagłębie Dąbrowskie (the Coal Fields of Dąbrowa ) region in the 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.
The Baltic Sea activity in 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) meters 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 level ).
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, and the Czarna Hańcza flows into the Baltic 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 Danube to 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
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 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 colour.
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 Śniardwy and Lake Mamry in Masuria , and Lake Łebsko and Lake Drawsko in Pomerania . 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, east of Masuria in Podlaskie Voivodeship .
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 ruled from 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 . Polish Baltic Sea coast is approximately 528 kilometres (328 mi) long and extends from Usedom island in the west to Krynica Morska in the east
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 most part, 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 national borders , 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 largest Polish Baltic island is called Wolin . The largest sea harbours are Szczecin , Świnoujście , Gdańsk , Gdynia , Police and Kołobrzeg and the main coastal resorts – Świnoujście , Międzyzdroje , Kołobrzeg , Łeba , Sopot , Władysławowo and the Hel Peninsula.
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) is more than twice as high as European average (with Germany and 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 Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, and the eastern Beskids . In addition, wetlands along lakes and rivers in central 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 2000 ).
Since Poland's accession to the
Białowieża Forest , an ancient woodland in eastern Poland, is now home to 800 wild wisent
Phytogeographically , Poland belongs to the Central European province of the 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
In the forests, one also encounters game animals, such as red deer ,
roe deer and wild boars . In eastern
Poland there are a number of
ancient woodlands, like
Białowieża forest , that have never been
cleared or have been disturbed much by people. There are also large
forested areas in the mountains, Masuria, Pomerania,
Lubusz Land and
Poland is host to the largest white stork
Poland is the most important breeding ground for a variety of
European migratory birds . Out of all of the migratory birds who come
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 a 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 located in south-western Poland 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 month of July and August. The warmest cities in Poland are Tarnów , which is situated in Lesser Poland and Wrocław , which is located in Lower Silesia. The average temperatures in 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 border of 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 Świnoujście and Baltic Sea seashore area from Police to Słupsk .
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the largest cities in Poland LOCATION JULY (°C) JULY (°F) JANUARY (°C) JANUARY (°F)
Kraków 21/12 71/55 0/−5 33/22
Wrocław 22/12 73/55 1/−3 35/26
Poznań 22/12 72/55 1/–3 34/26
Gdańsk 20/11 69/53 −1/−4 33/24
Szczecin 20/11 68/53 1/–2 35/28
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
Polish voters elect a bicameral parliament consisting of a 460-member
lower house (Sejm) and a 100-member Senate (Senat ). The
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
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 Republic
Poland (_Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny_); the Constitutional
Tribunal of the Republic of
Poland (_Trybunał Konstytucyjny_); and
State Tribunal of the Republic of Poland (_Trybunał Stanu_). On
the approval of the Senat, the
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
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 and 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 Poland . Narcyza Żmichowska was a proponent of early 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 could vote. 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 1932. Also, Poland recognises gender change. Trafficking women is 'illegal and rare' (top results worldwide). March for Life and Family organized in support of traditional social values
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.
Main article: Foreign relations 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 'developing' countries.
Poland is a member of the
Poland became an associate member of the
As changes since the fall of Communism in 1989 have redrawn the map
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 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 Opole 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_.
VOIVODESHIP CAPITAL CITY OR CITIES
IN ENGLISH _ _IN POLISH _
Lower Silesian _Dolnośląskie_ Wrocław
Pomeranian _Pomorskie_ Gdańsk
Silesian _Śląskie_ Katowice
Subcarpathian _Podkarpackie_ Rzeszów
Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) _Świętokrzyskie_ Kielce
Warmian-Masurian _Warmińsko-Mazurskie_ Olsztyn
West Pomeranian _Zachodniopomorskie_ Szczecin
The Polish armed forces are composed of four branches: Land Forces (_Wojska Lądowe_), Navy (_Marynarka Wojenna_), Air Force (_Siły Powietrzne_), 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). The 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 the Polish Air Force is much the same; it has routinely taken part in 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 NATO exercise 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 NATO and 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 its NATO partners. From 1953 to 2009 Poland was a large contributor to various 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 Tu-154 crash , which killed the Chief of the Army's General Staff 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
Poland has a highly developed system of law enforcement with a long history of effective policing by the State Police Service . The structure of law enforcement agencies within Poland is a multi-tier one, with the State Police providing criminal-investigative services, Municipal Police serving to maintain public order and a number of other specialised agencies, such as the Polish Border Guard , acting to fulfil 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 and State Fire Service . Emergency medical services in Poland are, unlike other services, provided for by local and regional government.
Since joining the
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, Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s recession . Since the fall of the communist government , Poland has 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 East Central/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
Eurostat data, Polish PPS GDP per capita stood at 67% of
the EU average in 2012. Solaris Bus ">
Poland is recognised as a regional economic leader within Central and
Eastern 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
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 2011 (excluding banks and insurance companies):
Rank 2011 CORPORATION SECTOR HEADQUARTERS Revenue (thousand PLN) Profit (thousand PLN) EMPLOYEES
2. Lotos Group SA oil and gas Gdańsk 29 258 539 584 878 5,168
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 Aquarium in the Zoological Garden in Wrocław
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after
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 town 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
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 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 Pieniny and 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 .
Main articles: Energy in Poland and Coal mining in Poland 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
Poland scored 48 out of 129 states in the Energy Sustainability
Index. The three largest Polish coal mining firms (
Kompania Węglowa and JSW ) extract around 100 million tonnes of coal
annually. All three of these companies are key constituents of the
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 hydroelectric stations.
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.
Transport in Poland is provided by means of rail , road , marine
shipping and air travel . Positioned in 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 highways network composed of motorways such as the A1 , A2 , A4 , A8 , A18 and express roads such as the S1 , S3 , S5 , S7 , S8 . At the end of 2016, Poland had 3163.4 km of highways (1631.7 km of motorways and 1531.7 km of expressways). 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 (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 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 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
The air and maritime transport markets in
Poland are largely well
Poland has a number of international airports, the largest
of which is
Seaports exist all along Poland's Baltic coast, with most freight operations using Szczecin , Świnoujście , Gdynia and Gdańsk as well as Police , Kołobrzeg and Elbląg as their base. Passenger ferries link Poland with Scandinavia all year round; these services are provided from Gdańsk and Świnoujście by Polferries , Stena Line from Gdynia and 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.
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
of Mathematics (with
Stefan Banach ,
Stanisław Mazur , Hugo Steinhaus
Stanisław Ulam ) and
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 , Siemens and 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.
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 Kraków to 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 (2013), _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 logistics services.
Poland, with 38,544,513 inhabitants, has the eighth-largest
Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions
on its soil. The country had a particularly large
World War II
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
Opole Voivodeship and
Silesian Voivodeship ),
49,000), Ukrainians (c. 30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma , Jews,
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
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
Polish minorities are still present in the neighboring countries of
Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other countries (see
* v * t * e
Largest cities or towns in Poland Central Statistical Office population report for 2016
RANK NAME VOIVODESHIP POP. RANK NAME VOIVODESHIP POP.
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
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 languages : 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
Roman Catholicism 87.6%
No Answer 7.1%
Other Faith 3.1%
Numbers from the Central Statistical Office:
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
Religious tolerance in 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 Netherlands and Germany settled in Poland—after being persecuted in Western Europe—and became known as the Vistula delta Mennonites .
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, Poland has become overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. 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. The 800-year old Vang stave church in Karpacz . The original wooden structure was transferred from Norway in 1842 to what was then Prussia . It now serves as a Polish Evangelical church.
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
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 ). Members of 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. There are also a several thousand neopagans, some of whom are members of officially registered churches such as the Native Polish Church .
Freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the 1989 statute of the Polish Constitution, enabling the emergence of additional denominations. The 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 system.
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 in Wadowice just outside Kraków . Orthodox pilgrims visit Mountain Grabarka near Grabarka-Klasztor .
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.
Hospitals in 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 university ceremonies Density of collegiate-level institutions of higher education
The 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 university .
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 average.
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, pronounced gheem-nah-sium_) (Middle School/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 cycle qualification).
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
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 people of 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.
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. The work was first published in 1543.
The list of famous
John Paul II was the first Pole and Slav to become a Roman Catholic Pope. He held the papacy between 1978 and 2005.
Poland has maintained a high level of gender equality , an established disability rights movement and promotes peaceful equality. Unlike in many other countries, ethnic minority rights in Poland are guaranteed directly by the Constitution of Poland (art. 35).
Throughout most of its history,
Poland has experienced only very
limited immigration from abroad; this trend can be largely attributed
to Poland's rejection of slavery and to a lack of overseas colonies as
well as occupation of its territories during much of the 19th and
early 20th centuries. Despite this, the country has for a long time
been regarded as having a very tolerant society, which affords equal
rights to all people no matter what their ethnic background. This can
be said to stem largely from the reign of King Casimir III the Great
and his acceptance of Poland's
Jewish community , in a time when most
In 2013, the Polish parliament rejected proposed legislation for
civil partnerships, which the majority of Polish society is against,
but for the first time it gave an asylum to a gay person from Uganda
on the basis of the sexual orientation. In a 2013 opinion poll
conducted by CBOS , 60% of
A 2010 article in _
Rzeczpospolita _ reported that in a 2008 study
Artists from Poland, including famous musicians like Chopin ,
Rubinstein 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 ,
Poland is one of the few countries in
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 music. Artur Rubinstein was one of the greatest concert pianists of the 20th century
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 were 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 Poland, 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 popularity throughout
Today 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 Festival .
Polish art has always reflected European trends while maintaining its unique character. The Kraków school of Historicist painting developed by Jan Matejko produced monumental portrayals of customs and significant events in Polish history. Stanisław Witkiewicz was an ardent supporter of realism in Polish art, its main representative being Jozef Chełmoński . The Młoda Polska ( Young Poland ) movement witnessed the birth of modern Polish art, and engaged in a great deal of formal experimentation led by Jacek Malczewski (Symbolism ), Stanisław Wyspiański , Józef Mehoffer , and a group of Polish Impressionists . Artists of the twentieth-century Avant-Garde represented various schools and trends. The art of Tadeusz Makowski was influenced by Cubism ; while Władysław Strzemiński and Henryk Stażewski worked within the Constructivist idiom.
Distinguished contemporary artists include
Roman Opałka , Leon
Jerzy Nowosielski ,
Wojciech Siudmak ,
Mirosław Bałka ,
Katarzyna Kozyra and Zbigniew Wąsiel in the younger generation.
The most celebrated Polish sculptors include
Xawery Dunikowski ,
Katarzyna Kobro ,
Alina Szapocznikow and
Magdalena Abakanowicz . Since
the inter-war years, Polish art and documentary photography has
enjoyed worldwide recognition. In the sixties the Polish Poster School
was formed, with Henryk Tomaszewski and
Waldemar Świerzy at its head.
Top fine Art schools in
Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts ,
Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design , Academy of Fine Arts in
Polish cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of European architectural styles. 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 Polish 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. Ratusz , the 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 style of Wrocław is mainly representative of German architecture, since it was for centuries located within the German states. The centre of 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 Europe. Meanwhile, the legacy of the Kresy Marchlands of Poland's eastern regions, where Wilno and Lwów (now _Vilnius_ and _Lviv_) were recognised as two major centres for the arts, played a special role in the development of Polish architecture, with Catholic church architecture deserving special note.
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
Main articles: Polish literature and History of philosophy in Poland _ 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 earliest 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 .
The first documented phrase in the
Most medieval records in
Latin and the Old
The tradition of extending Polish historiography in Latin was 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" Buonaccorsi , Conrad Celtes and Laurentius Corvinus . A Polish writer who utilized 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 Poland also 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 Congregation of 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 incorporated 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 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 Mickiewicz , 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 .
Television in Poland ,
Media of Poland , Theatre of
Poland , and
Cinema of Poland Further information: Category:Video
Poland Headquarters of the publicly funded national
television network TVP in
Poland has instituted freedom of press since the fall of communism, a system under which the media was heavily politically controlled and censored. However, public TV and radio are still regulated by the government, this is exercised through an agency called _Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji _ (_The National Radio and Television Committee_), which is similar to television regulatory commissions in other developed nations.
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 . In addition to these general channels, TVP runs a number of genre-specific programmes such as TVP Sport , TVP Historia , TVP Kultura , TVP Seriale and TV Polonia , the latter is a state-run channel dedicated to the transmission of Polish language television for the Polish diaspora abroad. Intel Extreme Masters , an eSports video game tournament in Katowice
In Poland, daily newspapers like _ Gazeta Wyborcza _ ("Electoral Gazette"), _ Rzeczpospolita _ ("The Republic") and _Gazeta Polska Codziennie _ ("Polish Daily Newspaper") provide traditional opinion and news, while tabloids such as _ Fakt _ provide more sensationalist journalism. _Rzeczpospolita_, founded in 1920 is one of the oldest newspapers still in operation. In 2006, it won a prestigious award for being, along with the _Guardian _ (a British daily), the best designed newspaper in the world. The most popular weeklies are Tygodnik Angora , W Sieci, Polityka , Wprost , Newsweek Polska , 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 Witcher . Katowice hosts Intel Extreme Masters , one of the biggest eSports events in the world.
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 word kasza ). Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. Festive meals such as the meatless Christmas Eve dinner (_ Wigilia _) or Easter breakfast could take days to prepare in their entirety. Oscypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Polish Tatra Mountains 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_ – shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut (Polish : _kapusta kiszona_, pronounced ). 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_ yeast pastry , and tea.
The Polish national dishes are _bigos _ ; _pierogi _ ; _kielbasa _; _kotlet schabowy _ breaded cutlet ; _gołąbki _ cabbage rolls ; _zrazy _ roulade ; _pieczeń _ roast ; sour cucumber soup (_zupa ogórkowa_, pronounced ); mushroom soup, (_zupa grzybowa_, quite different from the North American cream of mushroom ); _zupa pomidorowa_ tomato soup pronounced ; _rosół _ variety of meat broth; _żurek _ sour rye soup; _flaki _ tripe soup ; _barszcz _ and _chłodnik _ 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 kefir .
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 and volleyball 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 , Marcin Gortat , Robert Kubica , Agnieszka Radwańska 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 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 world. 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 titles than any other competitor in the world, winning the event in 2008 for the fifth time. The first Polish Formula One driver, Robert Kubica , has brought awareness of Formula One racing to Poland. He won the 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.
FASHION AND DESIGN
Main page: Category:Polish fashion Reserved is Poland's most successful clothing retailer, operating over 1,600 stores across the world
Fashion was always an important aspect of Poland and its national identity . 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 France and 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
Ottoman Empire ,
Crimean Khanate and
Persia . This allowed
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
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 1,600 retail shops in 18 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, INGLOT Cosmetics founded in 1983, is Poland's largest beauty products manufacturer and retailer, sold in 700 locations worldwide, including retail salons in New York, London, Milan, Dubai and Las Vagas.
* Poland portal
a. ^ In other languages of Poland : *Kashubian : _Repùblika Pòlskô_ *Silesian : _Polsko Republik_ 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 Armies." 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 that Polish Armia Krajowa was the largest resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Europe. 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" (PDF). _Central Statistical Office_ (in Polish). March 2012.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2013.
* ^ Central Statistical Office data
* ^ _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.
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