Poland Discovery Guide

Overview

The country of Poland is located on the northern region of the European Plain and right in the heart of Europe. Poland shares its borders with the countries of Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany. It is a country that prides itself with a rich historical heritage. This could be seen with the different medieval towns and villages that are scattered all throughout the country. Poland had been once invaded by different foreign powers. Between the years 1945 ad 1989, Poland had been under a communism rule. Today, the country of Poland has experienced massive reforms economically and socially and is currently a member of NATO since the year 1999.

The locals of Poland originate from the ancient Slavic people of Europe, just like the locals living in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Majority of the country is inhabited by the Polish. Only about 5% of the total population comes from different ethnic minority groups. The location of the country of Poland provides the land with a temperate climate, characterized with hot, humid summers and cold winters. The climate provides the country with the lush landscapes travelers visiting to Poland are beginning to discover.

Poland is now becoming a top tourist destination in Europe. Low-cost airfares and the expansions in the number of flights in and out of Poland have caused an increase in the number of travelers visiting Poland each year. The international and regional airports are now being renovated on a very fast pace, thanks to the funding provided by the European Union. Hotel accommodations in this country are also very competitive. While the hotel rooms offered in Poland are far when compared to the hotel rooms found in its neighboring countries, they still offer a great deal for travelers wanting to visit sights and sounds that are considered as off the beaten track.

If you are planning to visit the country of Poland, the best place to start is at the Tatra Mountains. Situated in between the countries of Poland and Slovakia, the mountains offer travelers spectacular scenery and a perfect place to go hiking, especially during the summer months. From here, head out to the town of Sopot. Its close proximity to the Baltic Sea offers travelers and locals some of the most pristine beaches in this side of Europe.

One of the top tourist attractions here in Poland is the Bialowieza National Park. Recognized as the largest woodland area in northern Europe, the park is home to different species of plants and trees, many of them dated to be thousands of years old. Another prime tourist attraction is the capital city of Warsaw. Known as the capital of the country of Poland since the 1500s, the city had to be rebuilt from scratch after it was completely destroyed during World War II. Today, the city is a treasure trove with landmarks and ancient buildings restored to its former glory and providing travelers visiting the country of Poland a glimpse into the rich historical and cultural heritage of the city and the country of Poland.

The History
Poland first solidified into a recognizable country in the middle of the tenth century. Her first documented ruler, Mieszko I, was baptized in 966. The rest of the country began a change to Catholicism that happened gradually over the course of the next couple of centuries.

The Polish kingdom fragmented into smaller states in the twelfth century and were later ravaged by the Mongol Golden Horde until Władysław I reunited Poland under his own rule. His son, Casimir III was later remembered as one of the greatest of the Polish kings. This time was also when many Jews began to migrate to Poland where they settled and flourished.

Late in the eighteenth century, Poland was actually divided between three of her neighbors, and while the Polish resented this and often rebelled, it was not until after WWI that Poland again became her own state as the Second Polish Republic. This lasted only until the Second World War, however, when Germany and Russia invaded the country and split it between them. Of all the countries involved in the war, Poland lost the greatest percentage of her citizens, with over six million dead, and about half of them polish Jews. She emerged from the war as a sovereign state again, but this time under a communist government as set up by the Soviets. In 1989, the communists of Poland fell and were replaced by the more liberal republic that is still in power now.

You can learn more about this history as well as experiencing the remnants first hand by exploring the painstakingly restored castles and palaces that dot the country as well as the many museums that bring history right before your eyes for you to confront.

The Land
Poland is mostly plains, with golden sandy beaches along the Baltic coast and the foothills and peaks of the Tatras along the southern border of the country. Poland is home to one desert, and a network of lakes known as the Great Mazurian Lakes. You can watch for European bison roaming the plains, or take yourself into the Biebrazanskie Marshes. You can go rafting down the Dunajec River gorge, or explore the Bialowieska Forest. The land is as fascinating as it is diverse, with just about every kind of landscape being represented in some form or other in this small but fascinating country.
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