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Panorama of Kraków, former capital of Poland

Welcome to the Poland Portal
Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Coat of arms of Poland
Map 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

The Renaissance town hall of Zamość
The history of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1648 covers a period of Poland's rise and expansion, before it was subjected to devastating wars in the middle of the 17th century. The Union of Lublin of 1569 established the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a federal state replacing the previous dynastic union of the two nations. The Commonwealth was run by the nobility, through a system of a central parliament and local assemblies, under elected kings. It was a period of Poland's great power, civilizational advancement and prosperity, the Commonwealth had become an influential player in Europe, spreading the Western culture eastward. The Warsaw Confederation of 1573 was the culmination of religious toleration that was unique in Europe, but the Catholic Church soon embarked on an ideological counter-offensive, while the Union of Brest split the Eastern Christians within the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth fought mostly successful wars with Russia, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, but it gradually became a playground of internal conflicts, in which kings, powerful magnates and factions of nobility were the main actors.

Selected picture

Beautiful Madonna of Kazimierz
Credit: anonymous (statue), National Museum in Warsaw (photograph)

The Beautiful Madonna of Kazimierz, a polychrome wooden statue of the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus. Carved in the region of Lesser Poland during the 1420s or 30s, in the Beautiful Style of International Gothic, which is characterized by dignified elegance, elongated figures and flowing lines, it has later undergone many repairs and modifications, including complete repainting and removal of a necklace.

Did you know

From Wikipedia's new or recently improved articles about Poland:

Fire of Kraków

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Selected biography

Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa (born 1943) is a Polish trade-union and human-rights activist and politician. Soon after beginning to work as an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, he became involved in trade union movement, for this he was persecuted by the Polish communist government, fired, and arrested several times. In August 1980, he was instrumental in negotiating the Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government, and co-founded Solidarity, the first trade union in the Soviet Bloc that was independent from the state. He was interned after martial law was imposed and Solidarity was outlawed in 1981, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. Upon release he participated in the 1989 Round Table talks that led to a semi-free parliamentary election and to a Solidarity-led government. He went on to become the first popularly elected president of Poland in 1990. As head of state, he presided over Poland's transformation from a communist to a democratic and market-oriented state, but his domestic popularity waned, his role in Polish politics diminished after he lost the 1995 presidential election.

Selected location

A wisent in the Białowieża Forest

The Białowieża Forest, an ancient woodland straddling the Polish-Belarusian border, is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest which once spread across the European Plain. It is home to the wisent (pictured), elk, wild boars, konik horses, and other animals. Its name, Puszcza Białowieska in Polish and Belavezhskaya Pushcha in Belarusian, comes from the village of Białowieża located in the forest. Historically it belonged to Polish kings and, later, Russian emperors who used it as royal hunting grounds or food reserve for the army, it has been protected since 1538 when King Sigismund I instituted death penalty for poaching the wisent. Today parts of the forest on both sides of the border are protected as national parks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.

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Poland now

Recent events

Anita Włodarczyk and Malwina Kopron celebrating at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics

Holidays and observances in November 2017
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Grave lanterns lit on All Saints' Day

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Government and politics




Related portals


Wikiquote-logo.png Poland at Wikiquote
Commons-logo.png Poland at Commons
Images and other media
Wikisource-logo.png Poland at Wikisource
Source texts
Wikivoyage-Logo-v3-icon.svg Poland at Wikivoyage
Travel guide

Wikipedia in the languages of Poland