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Portal:Poland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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

Map of the truncated territory of Poland (pink) after the Second Partition, published in London in 1794
The Second Partition of Poland in 1793 was the second of three partial annexations that ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by the end of the 18th century. It was a result of the Polish–Russian War of 1792, in which the Targowica Confederation overturned the progressive Constitution of 1791. The Russian Empire took 250,000 km2 (97,000 sq mi) of the Commonwealth's eastern territories, now belonging to Belarus and Ukraine, while the Kingdom of Prussia gained Danzig (Gdańsk) and 58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi) of western Poland, which it renamed South Prussia. Poland was left as a rump state of 215,000 km2 (83,000 sq mi). Under Russian pressure, the partition was ratified by Poland at the Grodno Sejm in a short-lived attempt to prevent a complete annexation of Poland, which eventually did happen in the Third Partition in 1795.


Selected picture

Piwo z Grodziska in a bottle and in a glass
Credit: Karol Palion

Piwo z Grodziska, a modern recreation of the historical beer style known as Grodziskie or Grätzer, originally brewed in Grodzisk Wielkopolski from the 14th century until 1993. It is a top-fermented beer made from oak-smoked wheat malt and features a crisp taste with a smoky aroma. This style is traditionally served in tall, conical glasses designed to show off the clear, light golden color and high carbonation, which gave Grodziskie the nickname of "Polish Champagne".

Did you know

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

Trójniak, a Polish mead

  • ... that in 2013 Poland became the world's largest producer of mead made according to traditional methods (example pictured)?
  • ... that Compendium ferculorum ("A Collection of Dishes"), the oldest cookbook in Polish, inspired the description of a traditional banquet in the Polish national epic?
  • ... that Janina Goss has been described as the "power behind the throne" in modern Polish politics?

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Selected biography

Henryk Sienkiewicz
Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846–1916) was a Polish journalist, novelist and philanthropist, best remembered for his historical novels. Born into an impoverished Polish noble family in Russian-ruled Congress Poland, he began publishing journalistic and literary pieces in the late 1860s. In the late 1870s he explored the United States, sending back travel essays that won him popularity with Polish readers. He began serializing novels in the 1880s and soon became one of the most popular Polish writers of the turn of the century. Numerous translations gained him international renown, culminating in his receipt of the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer." In Poland he is best known for his Trilogy of historical novels — With Fire and Sword, The Deluge and Sir Michael — set in the 17th-century Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, while he is mostly remembered abroad for Quo Vadis, a novel set in Nero's Rome. Several of his works have been filmed, some more than once, with the 1951 Hollywood adaptation of Quo Vadis receiving most international recognition.


Selected location

Swoboda Lock on the Augustów Canal

The Augustów Canal is a summit-level canal which links the Biebrza River in northeastern Poland with the Neman River in Belarus. At over 100 km long, it comprises 18 locks (example pictured) and 22 sluice gates. Ever since the canal was built in 1823−1839 to provide a navigable waterway from the "Congress" Kingdom of Poland to the Baltic Sea bypassing Prussia, it has been described by experts as a technological marvel. It uses a post-glacial channel depression, forming the chain of Augustów Lakes, and the river valleys of the Biebrza, Netta, Czarna Hańcza, and Neman, which made it possible to perfectly integrate the canal with the surrounding elements of the natural environment. Although the project was never finalized, the completed part of the Augustów Canal remained an inland waterway of local significance used for commercial shipping to and from the Vistula and Neman Rivers until rendered obsolete by the regional railway network.

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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 September 2017
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Harvest festival wreath

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