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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

Street Demonstration by Władysław Skoczylas (1905)
The Łódź Insurrection was an uprising by Polish workers in Łódź against the Russian Empire which took place between 21 and 25 June 1905. The Russian-controlled Congress Poland was one of the major centers of the Russian Revolution of 1905, and the Łódź Insurrection was a key incident in those events. For months prior to the uprising, workers in Łódź had been in a state of unrest, with several major strikes brutally quelled by the Russian police and military. Around 21–22 June, angry workers began building barricades and assaulting police and military patrols. The riots began spontaneously, without backing from any organized group; Polish revolutionary groups were taken by surprise and did not play a major role in the subsequent events. Authorities declared martial law and called in additional troops. No businesses operated in the city on 23 June as the police and military stormed dozens of workers' barricades. Eventually, by 25 June, the uprising was crushed, with estimates of several hundred dead and wounded. The events were reported in international press and recognized by socialist and communist activists worldwide.

Selected image

Polish polar station on Spitsbergen

Polish Arctic research station at Skottehytta on the Petuniabukta Bay on the Spitsbergen, Norway. The station is run by the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Did you know

  • ... that a famous photograph shows Małka Zdrojewicz, who smuggled weapons into the Warsaw Ghetto inside her boots?
  • ... that before becoming a Yad Vashem historian, Shmuel Krakowski worked for Polish communist intelligence and security organizations?
  • ... that Herman Pines, who could not attend university in Poland because of Jewish quotas, worked on developing aviation fuels that helped the Royal Air Force win the Battle of Britain?
  • ... that this photograph was taken to glorify the SS men who suppressed the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but helped convict them of murder?
  • ... that The Hexer, the first attempt to portray The Witcher universe in film, was "crushed by the reviewers and laughed out by fans", and has since been described as "the film we all want to forget"?

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Selected biography

Stanisław Żółkiewski
Stanisław Żółkiewski (1547–1620) was a Polish magnate and military commander who fought against Sweden, Muscovy, the Ottoman Empire and the Tatars on the southern and eastern borders of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He occupied a number of high-ranking posts, including voivode of Kijów (now Kiev, Ukraine), grand chancellor of the Crown, and grand hetman of the Crown. His best-known victory was against combined Russian and Swedish forces in the battle of Klushino in 1610, following which the Poles seized and occupied Moscow. He died in the battle of Ţuţora against the Ottomans, after refusing to retreat, his heroic death further boosting his fame. He is seen as one of the most accomplished commanders in the military history of early modern Poland.

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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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Poland now

Recent events

Jan Olszewski

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

Fat Thursday doughnuts

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