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Portal:Poland

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Panorama of Kraków, former capital of Poland

Welcome to the Poland Portal
Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Coat of arms of Poland
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 completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of NATO and the European Union.

From Polish history

The 12th-century collegiate church of Tum in central Poland
The rule of the Piast dynasty was the first major stage in the history of Poland. The indigenous House of Piast was largely responsible for the formation of the Polish state in the 10th century and ruled until the second half of the 14th century. Mieszko I completed the unification of West Slavic tribal lands and chose to be baptized in the Latin Rite in 966. His son, Boleslaus the Brave, pursued territorial conquests and was crowned as the first king of Poland. Boleslaus the Bold brought back Poland's military assertiveness, but was expelled from the country due to a conflict with Bishop Stanislaus of Szczepanów. Boleslaus Wrymouth succeeded in defending his country and recovering territories previously lost, but upon his death in 1138, Poland was divided among his sons. The resulting internal fragmentation eroded the initial Piast monarchy structure in the 12th and 13th centuries, causing fundamental and lasting changes. The kingdom was restored under Vladislaus the Elbow-high, then strengthened and expanded by his son, Casimir the Great. The consolidation in the 14th century laid the base for the new powerful Kingdom of Poland that was to follow.


Selected picture

17th-century views of the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Four panoramas, extracted from a series of hand-coloured copperplate maps of the town and salt mine of Wieliczka, depict the everyday activities at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in the 17th century: miners carving away lumps of rock salt, horse mills powering water pumps and lifts, brine boiling on the surface, men praying in front of an underground altar sculpted in rock salt. The mine, in continuous operation since the 13th century, is a World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction.

Did you know

From Wikipedia's new or recently improved articles about Poland:

Karolina Styczyńska

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Selected biography

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (c. 1560–1621) was one of the most prominent military commanders of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth of his era. He became a field hetman of Lithuania in 1601 and advanced to the post of grand hetman in 1605. He played a major role in the Wallachian campaign of 1599–1600, the Polish–Swedish War of 1600–11, the Polish-Muscovite War of 1605–18, and the Polish–Ottoman War of 1620–21. His most famous victory was the Battle of Kircholm (now Salaspils, Latvia) in 1605, in which he dealt a major defeat to a Swedish army three times the size of his own. He died on the front lines during the siege of the Khotyn Fortress, a few days before the Ottomans lifted the siege and agreed to negotiate.


Selected location

Poznań town hall

Poznań is the fifth largest city in Poland and one of the nation's oldest. In the early years of Poland's history, it was the seat of Polish rulers, some of whom are buried in the Poznań Cathedral. Located on the Warta river in west-central Poland, it is now the capital of Greater Poland and an important centre of education, industry, and trade, hosting regular international trade fairs. With high GDP per capita and low unemployment, it is Poland's most prosperous city after Warsaw. The city's most important cultural event is the annual Malta Theatre Festival.

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Poland now

Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1977

Recent events

Holidays and observances in June 2017
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Corpus Christi procession in Łowicz

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