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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 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

Map of the truncated territory of Poland (pink) after the Second Partition, published in London in 1794
The Second Partition of Poland in 1793 was the second of three partial annexations that ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by the end of the 18th century. It was a result of the Polish–Russian War of 1792, in which the Targowica Confederation overturned the progressive Constitution of 1791. The Russian Empire took 250,000 km2 (97,000 sq mi) of the Commonwealth's eastern territories, now belonging to Belarus and Ukraine, while the Kingdom of Prussia gained Danzig (Gdańsk) and 58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi) of western Poland, which it renamed South Prussia. Poland was left as a rump state of 215,000 km2 (83,000 sq mi). Under Russian pressure, the partition was ratified by Poland at the Grodno Sejm in a short-lived attempt to prevent a complete annexation of Poland, which eventually did happen in the Third Partition in 1795.

Selected image

Seal of King Vladislaus II
Credit: Jan Mehlich

A copy of the majestic seal of King Vladislaus II (Władysław II Jagiełło, Jogaila) showing the king seated on a throne, holding an orb and a scepter. He is surrounded by coats of arms, supported by angels, of the territories of his realm: the White Eagle of Poland; the Pursuer of Lithuania; the aurochs' head of the Kalisz Voivodeship; the stripes and stars of the Sandomierz Voivodeship; the demi-lion and demi-eagle of the Kuyavia, Łęczyca and Sieradz voivodeships; the king's head of the Dobrzyń Territory; and the lion rampant of Red Ruthenia.

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Selected biography

Jan Zamoyski
Jan Zamoyski (1542–1605) was a Polish magnate who served as both grand chancellor and grand hetman of the Crown. As such, he commanded both civilian and military power in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and is considered one of the most prominent statesmen in Polish history. He was also one of the richest people in his country; lands either owned or leased by him covered more than 17,000 km2 (6,600 sq mi) with 23 towns and 816 villages. In 1589 he established the Zamoyski Family Fee Tail, which existed until 1944. His principal seat and most prized creation was Zamość, a fortified town he founded. Designed as a Renaissance ideal city, it was home to Zamojski Academy, Poland's third oldest university. Despite his wealth and power, in politcs Zamoyski led the faction of lesser and middle nobility in support of the "enforcement of laws" movement, which earned him the moniker "Polish Gracchus". He also supported the idea of royal elections open to all Polish nobles and advised the first elective kings, Henry and Stephen, but fell out with Sigismund III. In war – against Muscovy, the Ottomans and Sweden – he employed tactics based on sieges, flanking maneuvers, fortification, artillery, and the principle of conserving his forces.

Selected location

Silesian Planetarium in Chorzów

Chorzów is a city on the Rawa River in Upper Silesia and part of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union, Poland's largest conurbation. Originally called Königshütte in German and Królewska Huta in Polish (both meaning "Royal Iron Works"), it was renamed Chorzów after a merger with a village of that name in 1934. Chorzów used to be one of the most important cities of the Upper Silesian Industrial Region with extensive industry in coal mining, steel, chemistry, manufacturing, and energy sectors. As heavy-industry establishments were either closed or scaled down, or restructured and modernized, the city has been evolving towards service economy. Chorzów is nationally famous for its Silesian Central Park, complete with amusement grounds, a cable line railway, a zoo, a sports stadium, and the largest and oldest planetarium in Poland (pictured).

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Bartosz Kurek

Holidays and observances in October 2018
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Bust of John Paul II in Kraków

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Wikipedias in the languages of Poland

Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Kaszëbskô Wikipedijô
Kashubian Wikipedia
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Polska Wikipedia
Polish Wikipedia
Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Ślůnsko Wikipedyjo
Silesian Wikipedia
Incubator-logo.svg Wymysiöeryś Wikipedyj
Vilamovian Wikipedia Incubator