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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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A stone circle in Węsiory, northern Poland
Peoples belonging to numerous archaeological cultures identified with Celtic, Germanic and Baltic tribes, lived in various parts of what is now Poland in Antiquity – an era that dates from about 400 BC to AD 450–500. Many of them developed relatively advanced material culture and social organization, as evidenced by the archaeological record, such as the richly furnished dynastic princely graves. Some preserved written remarks by Roman authors that are relevant to the developments on Polish lands provide additional insight. Celtic peoples established a number of settlement centers, beginning in the early 4th century BC, mostly in southern Poland, which was at the outer edge of their expansion. Through their highly developed economy and crafts, they exerted lasting cultural influence (La Tène culture) disproportional to their small numbers in the region. Germanic peoples lived in today's Poland for several centuries (Wielbark culture). With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes came under Roman cultural influence. As nomadic peoples invaded from the east, the Germanic people left for the safer and wealthier lands in southern and western Europe. The northeast corner of contemporary Poland's territory remained populated by Baltic tribes.


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Silesian Rocks in the Giant Mountains
Credit: Marcin Szala

A group of granite outcrops up to eight meters tall, known as Śląskie Kamienie (Silesian Rocks) in Polish or Dívči Kameny (Girl's Rocks) in Czech, on top of a peak rising 1,413 meters above sea level in the Giant Mountains, or Karkonosze. According to local folklore, the peak was the place of death of a young shepherdess, hence the Czech name of the rocks.

Fiat Abarth 500C, manufactured in Tychy, Poland

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Mieczysław Jagielski as painted on a commemorative mural
Mieczysław Jagielski (1924–1997) was a Polish politician and economist. During the times of the People's Republic of Poland he was the last leading politician from the former eastern regions of pre-World War II Poland. Jagielski became a communist member of parliament in 1957 and he would continue to serve in that capacity for seven consecutive terms until 1985. In 1959, he was posted to be a member of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party and appointed minister of agriculture. After he left the latter position in 1970, Jagielski became a deputy prime minister, and the next year, a member of the party's politburo. In August 1980, Jagielski represented the government during talks with striking workers in Gdańsk. He negotiated the agreement which recognized the Solidarity trade union as the first independent trade union within the Eastern Bloc. In late July 1981, Jagielski was fired from the deputy premiership, reportedly because he failed to produce a recovery program for the economic crisis Poland was experiencing at that time. The same year, he renounced his membership in the politburo and in the Central Committee.


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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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Krzemionki flint mines archeological reserve

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

Harvest festival wreath

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