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Portal:Poland

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Welcome to the Poland Portal — Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Coat of arms 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 Polish People's Republic 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 joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, but has experienced a constitutional crisis and democratic backsliding under the rule of the populist Law and Justice party since 2015.

From Polish history – show another

A 20th-century mural commemorating the baptism of Mieszko I
A 20th-century mural commemorating the baptism of Mieszko I
The term "baptism of Poland" traditionally refers to the personal baptism of Duke Mieszko I of Poland. The ceremony took place on the Holy Saturday of 14 April 966; the exact location is disputed by historians, with the cities of Poznań and Gniezno being the most likely sites. It was followed by Mieszko's marriage to the Bohemian princess Doubravka. The event began the process of Poland's Christianization in the Latin rite, which took centuries to complete, but helped establish Poland as a state recognized by the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire within decades. Before Mieszko's baptism, the tribes living in what is now Poland professed Slavic paganism. Their first contact with Christian faith came in the 9th century from Great Moravia in the south, where Byzantine-Slavic rite Christianity had been spread by Cyril and Methodius, but Mieszko's choice about a century later put Poland firmly within the realm of Western Christianity. In 1966, the Catholic Church in Poland and the country's Communist authorities held rival millennial celebrations to commemorate the one thousand years of, respectively, Polish Christianity and Polish nationhood. (Full article...)

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A body misidentified as that of Ryszard Kaczorowski lies in state in the Belvedere Palace of Warsaw. The Battle of Monte Cassino veteran and Poland's last president-in-exile died with dozens of other Polish statesmen in the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash in Russia. Exhumations in 2012 revealed that his remains had been mistakenly swapped with those of another victim.

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St. Francis' Church in Kraków

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Józef Światło
Józef Światło
Józef Światło, born Izaak Fleischfarb (1915–1994), was a high-ranking Stalinist secret police agent and then defector to the United States. A Zionist, and then Communist activist in his early life, he was taken prisoner by the Germans during the 1939 Invasion of Poland and soon escaped only to be captured and deported by the Soviets. He returned to Poland as a political officer of the Polish First Army and, in 1945, started to work for the Ministry of Public Security, where he was nicknamed "Butcher" for his interrogation techniques. His arrestees included Władysław Gomułka, Marian Spychalski, Michał Rola-Żymierski, and Stefan Wyszyński. After Stalin's death, Światło was sent to East Berlin for consultations with the Stasi where he defected to the U.S. military mission in West Berlin. Included in the U.S. witness protection program, he began working for the CIA and the Radio Free Europe. Światło's written and broadcast incriminations shook the Polish United Workers' Party and contributed to the reform of the Polish security apparatus as one of the factors leading to the Polish October revolution. (Full article...)

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Poznań town hall
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. (Full article...)

Poland now

Recent events

Dead fish in the Oder river

Ongoing
Constitutional crisis • COVID-19 pandemic • Belarus–EU border crisis • Ukrainian refugee crisis • Summer heat waves

Holidays and observances in August 2022
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Polish military aircraft flying in formation during a Polish Armed Forces Day parade

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