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Portal:Poland

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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

Krakus Mound, an 8th-century burial mound in Kraków
The main event that took place within the lands of Poland in the Early Middle Ages was the arrival and permanent settlement of the Slavic peoples. The Slavic migrations in the area of contemporary Poland started in the second half of the 5th century CE, some half century after these territories were vacated by Germanic tribes, their previous inhabitants. The Slavs lived from cultivation of crops, but also engaged in hunting and gathering. They formed small tribal organizations, some of which coalesced later into larger, state-like ones. Beginning in the 7th century, these tribal units built fortified structures with earth and wood walls and embankments, called gords. By the 9th century, the Slavs had settled the Baltic coast in Pomerania, which subsequently developed into a commercial and military power trading with the Old Prussians and the Vikings. During the same time, the tribe of the Vistulans, based in Kraków and the surrounding region, controlled a large area in the south. But it was the Polans who turned out to be of decisive historic importance. They went through a period of accelerated building of fortified settlements and territorial expansion beginning in the first half of the 10th century. Under Mieszko I, the expanded Polan territory was converted to Latin Christianity in 966, which is commonly regarded the birth of the Polish state.


Selected picture

Seal of King Vladislaus II
Credit: Jan Mehlich

A copy of the majestic seal of King Vladislaus II (Władysław II Jagiełło, Jogaila) showing the king seated on a throne, holding an orb and a scepter. He is surrounded by coats of arms, supported by angels, of the territories of his realm: the White Eagle of Poland; the Pursuer of Lithuania; the aurochs' head of the Kalisz Voivodeship; the stripes and stars of the Sandomierz Voivodeship; the demi-lion and demi-eagle of the Kuyavia, Łęczyca and Sieradz voivodeships; the king's head of the Dobrzyń Territory; and the lion rampant of Red Ruthenia.

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

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Selected biography

Juliusz Słowacki as portrayed by James Hopwood
Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849) was a Polish Romantic poet traditionally counted among the "Three Bards" of Polish literature, a major figure of Romanticism in Poland and the father of modern Polish drama. His works often feature elements of Slavic mythology, Polish history, mysticism and Orientalism, and rely on neologisms and irony for style. Among Słowacki's most popular works are the dramas Kordian and Balladyna, and the poem Beniowski. Słowacki spent his youth in what are now Ukraine and Lithuania, but emigrated to Western Europe after the failed November Uprising of 1830. He then traveled to Switzerland, Italy, Greece and the Middle East to finally settle back in Paris for the last decade of his life, but briefly returned to Poland during the Greater Poland Uprising of 1848.


Selected location

Słupsk town hall

Słupsk is a city on the Słupia River, 18 km away from the Baltic Sea coast. It dates back to a medieval Slavic settlement on a ford along a trade route connecting eastern and western parts of Pomerania. Incorporated in 1265, the town gradually fell under Brandenburgian rule, becoming a German town known as Stolp. In Polish hands since the end of World War II, Słupsk is developing thanks to local footwear industry and a bus factory owned by Scania. With the election of Robert Biedroń in 2014, it became the first town in Poland with an openly gay mayor.

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Poland now

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Kamil Stoch

Holidays and observances in February 2018
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Fat Thursday doughnuts

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