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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.

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Polish infantry forces moving for cover on Hill 262
Operation Tractable was the final CanadianPolish offensive to take place during the Battle of Normandy. Its aim was to capture the strategically important town of Falaise and subsequently the towns of Trun and Chambois. The operation was undertaken against Germany's Army Group B, and was part of the largest encirclement on the Western Front during World War II. Despite a slow start to the offensive, marked by limited gains north of Falaise, innovative tactics by Gen. Stanisław Maczek's Polish First Armoured Division during the drive for Chambois allowed for the Falaise Gap to be partly closed by August 19, 1944, trapping close to 300,000 German soldiers in the Falaise Pocket. Although the gap had been narrowed to a distance of several hundred meters, a protracted series of fierce engagements between two battlegroups of the 1st Armoured Division and the Second SS Panzer Corps on Mont Ormel prevented it from being completely closed. During two days of nearly continuous fighting, Polish forces, using artillery barrages and close-quarter fighting, managed to hold off counterattacks by elements of seven German divisions. On August 21, elements of the First Canadian Army relieved Polish survivors of the battle and were able to finally close the Falaise Pocket, leading to the capture of the remaining soldiers of the German Seventh Army.

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Statue of Duke Leszek the White in the village of Marcinkowo

Statue of Duke Leszek the White in the village of Marcinkowo. Leszek was a duke of Kraków and, formally, sovereign of all Poland. In 1227 in Gąsawa, he convened with other Polish dukes, including Vladislaus Spindleshanks of Greater Poland, Henry the Bearded of Lower Silesia and Conrad of Masovia. Participants of the summit were attacked, probably on the orders of Duke Swantopolk II of Pomerania, in the morning of 24 November 1227. Leszek, who was then having a bath, attempted to escape, naked, on horseback, but he was captured and killed by the assassins in a nearby forest.

Zofia Posmysz in Auschwitz, 1942

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A presumed image of Jogaila, painted c. 1475–80
Vladislaus II (Władysław II Jagiełło, Jogaila; ca.1348–1434) was a grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland. He ruled in Lithuania from 1377, initially with his uncle, Kęstutis. In 1386, he converted to Christianity, was baptized as Vladislaus, married the eleven-year-old Queen Hedwig (Jadwiga) and was crowned Polish king as Vladislaus II. His reign in Poland lasted a further forty-eight years and laid the foundation for the centuries long Polish-Lithuanian union. He gave his name to the Jagiellon branch of the Gediminid dynasty which ruled both states until 1572, and became one of the most influential dynasties in medieval Europe. Jogaila was the last pagan ruler of medieval Lithuania. The allied victory over the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, followed by the First Peace of Thorn, secured the Polish and Lithuanian borders and marked the emergence of the Polish-Lithuanian alliance as a major European force. His reign is often considered the beginning of Poland's Golden Age.

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The Spodek multipurpose sports arena at night

Katowice, located on the Kłodnica and Rawa rivers in the Silesian Highlands, is the capital city of the Silesian Voivodeship. With 312,201 inhabitants, it is the largest city of the Upper Silesian Industry Area and the principal scientific, cultural, industrial, business and transport center of the region. Before World War II, Katowice was the seat of the Silesian Sejm, the legislature of the Silesian Voivodeship. The multipurpose arena complex known as Spodek, or "Saucer" (pictured), is the city's most recognizable landmark.

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Krzemionki flint mines archeological reserve

Holidays and observances in September 2019
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Harvest festival wreath

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