Castle Square, Warsaw, Poland

Poland, The Land of Fields - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 11th June 2020

A (Very Brief History of Poland

  • Poland’s strategic geo-political location between the East and the West has meant that Polish history is marked with wars and uprisings. Poland was once the largest country in Europe, but there was also a stage when it was totally erased from the world map for over a hundred years. The first Polish ruler recorded in history was Mieszko, about A.D. 963. In 966, Mieszko adopted Christianity, making Poland the easternmost country within the orbit of Latin culture.
  • In 1385 the Polish-Lithuanian union was formed, lasting for over 400 years, successfully defending the country against The Teutonic Order, at the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410.
  • The 16th century was Poland’s “Golden Age”. Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), formulated the first modern heliocentric theory of the solar system. In 1596 King Zygmunt III Waza moved the capital from Krakow to Warsaw, as the city was more centrally located.
  • From the mid-seventeenth century the Commonwealth entered a period of decline. The state was invaded first by Swedes and subsequently the rulers of Russia, Prussia and Austria, who partitioned its territory. The country lost its last king, was briefly a republic and disappeared from the map of Europe.
  • The outbreak of World War I gave Poland the chance to regain independence and The Second Polish Republic was established in 1918. On 1st September 1939 Poland was invaded by the Nazi Germany and World War II began. When it ended Poland fell under Soviet control and the communist People’s Republic of Poland was created, as a Soviet satellite state.
  • Solidarność (Solidarity) – the trade-union-cum-freedom-movement founded by future Polish president Lech Walesa played a key role in the tearing down of the Iron Curtain, leading to today's Republic.

Is Poland in the EU?

Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004

Facts and Factoids

  • Poland is Europe's most religious country - hence all the churches
  • The Polish alphabet consists of 32 letters.
  • Pierogi, (Polish dumplings), are very tasty
  • Opened in 1275 and located in Wrocław, the “Piwnica Swidnicka” is the oldest restaurant in Europe.
  • The currency is the zloty.
  • Somewhat contentiously, the Polish claim to have invented vodka. Bison Grass is pretty good.
  • Agriculture has always been the backbone of Poland's economy. In Polish, pole means field. And this is generally a flat country. Hence, it's known as 'The Land of Fields'.

Is Poland a Safe Country to Visit?

Poland is generally considered to be a safe country to travel to. However, petty crime has also increased with the influx of tourists since it joined the EU. There are also warnings about scammers.. …

Is Poland a Poor Country?

Poland is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank and ranks 21st worldwide in terms of GDP. It is also a relatively cheap place to visit.

What is There to See and Do in Poland?

  • Warsaw is an interesting - though a very much renovated city
  • Krakow is enchanting
  • Everyone should visit Auschwitz and Birkenau once in their life to learn about man’s inhumanity to man.
  • There's plenty more too: more medieval cities, mountains (despite the flatness), castles, even beaches and wetlands, and one of the world's oldest salt mines.

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