Portal:Poland

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Panorama of Kraków, former capital of Poland

Welcome to the Poland Portal
Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

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Map of Poland

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

An ethnic Polish military band in Karviná welcoming Poland's annexation of Zaolzie in 1938
Zaolzie (Czech: Zaolší) is a historical region on the left bank of the Olza River on the Czech–Polish border. Historically part of the Duchy of Teschen (Cieszyn, Těšín), it belonged to Austria-Hungary until its dissolution in 1918. Afterwards, it became a bone of contention between the nascent republics of Poland and Czechoslovakia. The region, inhabited by ethnic Poles, Czechs and Jews, was rich in coal and crossed by a strategic railway linking Czech Silesia with Slovakia. Agreements between local authorities, armed fighting and an ettempted plebiscite proved inconclusive and in 1920 the Council of Ambassadors settled the matter at the Spa Conference by awarding Zaolzie to Czechoslovakia. In 1938, Poland issued an ultimatum to its southern neighbor to withdraw from Zaolzie within 24 hours, and the following day Czechoslovakia complied. Poland annexed the region and became seen as an accomplice in the partition of Czechoslovakia resulting from the Munich Agreement. Zaolzie was annexed by Nazi Germany after the German invasion of Poland a year later and returned to Czechoslovak hands with the end of World War II. Today the area is part of the Czech Republic and home to about 37,000 ethnic Poles. After 2001, several villages in the region have erected bilingual signs in Czech and Polish.
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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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From Wikipedia's new or recently improved articles about Poland:

The Lusatian Neisse river separating Görlitz, Germany, from Zgorzelec, Poland

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Juliusz Słowacki as portrayed by James Hopwood
Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849) was a Polish Romantic poet traditionally counted among the "Three Bards" of Polish literature, a major figure of Romanticism in Poland and the father of modern Polish drama. His works often feature elements of Slavic mythology, Polish history, mysticism and Orientalism, and rely on neologisms and irony for style. Among Słowacki's most popular works are the dramas Kordian and Balladyna, and the poem Beniowski. Słowacki spent his youth in what are now Ukraine and Lithuania, but emigrated to Western Europe after the failed November Uprising of 1830. He then traveled to Switzerland, Italy, Greece and the Middle East to finally settle back in Paris for the last decade of his life, but briefly returned to Poland during the Greater Poland Uprising of 1848.
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Palace of Culture and Science

Warsaw (Warszawa) is the capital and, with a population of over 1.7 million, the largest city of Poland. Founded in 1300 on the Vistula River, Warsaw became the seat of the dukes of Masovia in 1413. Masovia was annexed by Poland in 1526, and 70 years later, in 1596, King Sigismund III moved his seat from Kraków to Warsaw. The rise in political status was accompanied by strong economic and cultural development. Occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II, Warsaw was the site of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, followed by a complete destruction of the city. Painstakingly rebuilt in the Communist era, Warsaw is now an increasingly important political and economic hub of Central Europe.

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Poland now

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U.S. President Barack Obama (left) and Polish PM Donald Tusk

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Holidays and observances in July 2014:

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