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Panorama of Kraków, former capital of Poland

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Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

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Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north. It is an ancient nation whose history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century when it united with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements in the late 18th century, Russia, Prussia and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. It regained independence as the Second Polish Republic in the aftermath of World War I only to lose it again when it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. The nation lost over six million citizens in the war, following which it emerged as the communist People's Republic of Poland under strong Soviet influence within the Eastern Bloc. A westward border shift followed by forced population transfers after the war turned a once multiethnic country into a mostly homogeneous nation state. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union called Solidarity (Solidarność) that over time became a political force which by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A shock therapy program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of NATO and the European Union.

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From Polish history

Fighting in Miodowa Street, sketch by Jan Piotr Norblin
The Warsaw Uprising of 1794 was an armed Polish insurrection by the Warsaw's populace early in the Kościuszko Uprising. Supported by the Polish Army, it aimed to throw off Russian control of the Polish capital. It began on 17 April 1794, soon after Tadeusz Kościuszko's victory at Racławice. A National Militia led by shoemaker Jan Kiliński, armed with rifles and sabers from the Warsaw Arsenal, inflicted heavy losses on the more numerous and better equipped, but surprised enemy garrison. Apart from the militia, the most famous units to take part in the liberation of Warsaw were formed of Poles who had been conscripted into the Russian service. Within hours, the fighting had spread from a single street on the western outskirts of Warsaw's Old Town to the entire city. Part of the Russian garrison was able to retreat under the cover of Prussian cavalry, but most were trapped inside the city. Isolated Russian forces resisted in several areas for two more days.
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A panorama of the High Tatra Mountains
Credit: Rafik k

A panorama of the High Tatra Mountains on the Polish–Slovak border, as seen from Żabi Szczyt Niżni (Slovak: Nižný Žabi štít, literally "Lower Frog Peak"). The High Tatras, with eleven peaks over 2,500 m above sea level, are the only alpine range in Poland. They are home to many rare and endemic animal and plant species, as well as large predators, such as the brown bear, wolf, lynx, marten and fox. The area is protected within two national parks: Tatrzański Park Narodowy in Poland and Tatranský národný park in Slovakia.

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Carpathian newt (Lissotriton montandoni)

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George Chapman, born Seweryn Antonowicz Kłosowski, one of many Jack the Ripper suspects
"Jack the Ripper" is the best known pseudonym given to an unidentified serial killer active in the largely impoverished districts in and around the Whitechapel district of London's East End in 1888. Attacks ascribed to the Ripper typically involved women prostitutes from the slums whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. As the murders were never solved, the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. Among more than one hundred Jack the Ripper suspects suggested since 1888, there have been several Poles and Polish Jews. These include Seweryn Antonowicz Kłosowski (pictured), also known as George Chapman, a serial killer executed in 1903; Aaron Kosminski, an insane Jew from Kłodawa; and John Pizer, another Polish Jew, also known as "Leather Apron". In 1987, Martin Fido, a ripperologist, speculated that the crimes may have been committed by Nathan Kaminsky, a Polish Jew who went by a generic Jewish name, David Cohen. The civil parish of Whitechapel around the time of the murders was experiencing an influx of immigrants from Ireland and Eastern Europe; its population was transient, impoverished and often used aliases. The Ripper's true identity will almost certainly never be known.
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Old Town Hall of Toruń by night

Toruń is a city on the Vistula River in northern Poland. Known in German as Thorn, it was founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1233 and ceded to the Kingdom of Poland under the terms of a treaty signed here in 1466. Seven years later, it became the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. Today, Toruń is the seat of the legislature (sejmik) of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, forming with the city of Bydgoszcz, its western neighbor, the Bydgoszcz-Toruń metropolitan area. With its medieval spatial layout preserved almost intact and with many brick Gothic buildings, including the town hall, churches and burgher houses, Toruń is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also famous for its traditional gingerbread flavored with honey and spices.

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