Portal:Poland

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.

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Polish general diet in session in 1622
Polish general diet in session in 1622
The General Diet or Sejm (sejm walny) was the parliament of Poland from the 15th until the late 18th century. It was one of the primary elements of the democratic government of the Kingdom of Poland and, later, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the early 16th century, Polish kings could not pass laws without the Sejm's approval. Duration and frequency of Sejm sessions changed over time, with six-week sessions convened every two years being most common. Locations changed too, but eventually Warsaw emerged as the primary venue. The number of senators and deputies (members) grew over time, from about 70 senators and 50 deputies in the 15th century to about 150 senators and 200 deputies in the 18th. Early diets used majority voting, but beginning in the 17th century, unanimous voting became more common, with the liberum veto procedure significantly paralyzing the country's governance. It is estimated that between 1493 and 1793, 240 general diets were held. (Full article...)

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Wrocław University main building on the River Oder. Founded in 1945, it replaced the previous German University of Breslau. Among its students and professors are Max Born, Erwin Schrödinger, and Kornel Morawiecki. Located in the Wrocław Old Town, the university is famous for its baroque Aula Leopoldina which is open for visitors.

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The village of Głebokie (now Hlybokaye, Belarus) in 1900

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Witold Lutosławski
Witold Lutosławski
Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and possibly the most significant Polish composer since Frédéric Chopin. Lutosławski studied piano and composition in Warsaw, and during World War II he made a living in that city by playing the piano in bars. In the late 1940s and early 1950s his music was banned as formalist by the Stalinist authorities. In the last three decades of the century he became the pre-eminent musician of his country and was presented with a number of international honours, awards and prizes. Lutosławski's early compositions were overtly influenced by Polish folk music. From the late 1950s onwards he developed his own distinctively dense harmonies and innovative aleatory techniques. His works include four symphonies and a Concerto for Orchestra. He composed concertos and song cycles for renowned musicians including Mstislav Rostropovich, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Lutosławski was also a notable conductor of his own music. (Full article...)

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Collage of views of Bydgoszcz, Poland
Collage of views of Bydgoszcz, Poland
Bydgoszcz (UK: /ˈbɪdɡɒʃ/ BID-goshtch, US: /-ɡɔːʃ()/ -⁠gawsh(tch), Polish: [ˈbɨdɡɔʂt͡ʂ] (About this soundlisten); German: Bromberg) is a city in northern Poland, straddling the meeting of the Vistula with its left-bank tributary, the Brda. It is at the crossroads of two historic regions: Pomerania and Kuyavia.

With a city population of 348,190 (December 2019), and an urban agglomeration with more than 470,000 inhabitants, Bydgoszcz is the eighth-largest city in Poland. It has been the seat of Bydgoszcz County and the co-capital, with Toruń, of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999. Prior to this, between 1947 and 1998, it was the capital of the Bydgoszcz Voivodeship, and before that, of the Pomeranian Voivodeship between 1945 and 1947. (Full article...) (Full article...)

Poland now

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Seat of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal

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Constitutional crisis • COVID-19 pandemic

Holidays and observances in October 2021
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Bust of John Paul II in Kraków

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