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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
Coat of arms of Poland

Map 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, but has experienced a constitutional crisis and democratic backsliding under the rule of the populist Law and Justice party since 2015.

Christmas in Poland

Szopka krakowska A szopka krakowska (example pictured left) is a nativity scene traditionally constructed in Kraków during the Christmas season. Its distinctive feature is the use of architectural details of Kraków's historical landmarks as a backdrop for the nativity of Jesus.

Christmas carol singing has long been a popular tradition in Poland. The oldest known Polish carols date back to the 15th century. Among the most beloved (recordings listed right) are the lulling "Lulajże, Jezuniu" ("Sleep, Little Jesus"), the joyful "Dzisiaj w Betlejem" ("Tonight in Bethlehem"), and the majestic "Bóg się rodzi" ("God is Born").

Media related to Polish Christmas carols at Wikimedia Commons

From Polish history – show another

Swiderian tanged points
Swiderian tanged points
The Stone Age in what is now Poland lasted about 500,000 years and involved three different human species: Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. Stone Age cultures ranged from early human groups with primitive tools to advanced agricultural societies, which used sophisticated stone tools, built fortified settlements and developed copper metallurgy. As elsewhere in Europe, the Stone Age human cultures went through the stages known as the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, each bringing new refinements of the stone tool making techniques. The Paleolithic human activities were intermittent because of the recurring periods of glaciation. A general climate warming and the resulting increase in ecologic diversity was characteristic of the Mesolithic (9,000-8,000 BCE). The Neolithic brought the first settled agricultural communities whose founders migrated from the Danube River area starting ca. 5,500 BCE. Later the native post-Mesolithic populations also adopted and further developed the agricultural way of life (4,400–2,000 BCE). (Full article...)

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Beautiful Madonna of Kazimierz
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.

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Konstanty Laszczka, with nude in clay

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Selected biography – show another

Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski
Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski
Stanislaus Augustus (Stanisław August Poniatowski; 1732–1798) was the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Recognized as a great patron of the arts and sciences of the Polish Enlightenment and a supporter of progressive reforms, he is also remembered as the king who failed to prevent the destruction of the Commonwealth. He was elected king of Poland in 1764, with the help of his former lover, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. Against expectations, he attempted to amend and strengthen the ailing state. His efforts met with external opposition from Russia and Austria, as well as internal from conservative magnates, who sought to preserve their traditional liberties and prerogatives. The defining crisis of his early reign was the War of the Bar Confederation, which led to the First Partition of Poland in 1772. The latter part of his reign saw reforms wrought by the Great Sejm and the Constitution of 1791. These were overthrown by the Targowica Confederation and Russian intervention, leading to the Second and Third Partitions of Poland. Poniatowski abdicated in 1795 and spent the final years of his life under house arrest in Saint Petersburg. (Full article...)

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Zielona Góra town hall
Zielona Góra town hall
Zielona Góra is a city in western Poland. Prior to World War II it was part of the German province of Brandenburg and known as Grünberg; both Polish and German names mean "Green Mountain". Grünberg grew during the 19th century thanks to booming textile industry. Today it is the seat of the legislature (sejmik) of the Lubusz Voivodeship. The surrounding area is one few places in Poland that are suitable for growing grapes. Wine has been produced locally since the 13th century and a wine festival has taken place annually since 1852. The best known modern local wine is called Monte Verde, which is the city's name in Latin. (Full article...)

Poland now

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Szymon Hołownia

Constitutional crisis • Belarus–EU border crisis • Ukrainian refugee crisis

Holidays and observances in December 2023
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Polish Christmas tree baubles

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Government and politics




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