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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

Contour map of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent in 1619 superimposed on present-day national borders
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a confederation of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania under a common monarch, which lasted from 1569 until 1795. It was an extension of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, a dynastic union that had existed between the two nations since 1386. The Commonwealth was one of the largest and most populous states in Europe and for over two centuries successfully withstood conflicts with the Russians, the Ottomans and Sweden. It was notable for its political system, which was a precursor to modern democracy and federation; for its remarkable religious toleration; and for the second-oldest written national constitution in the world. Its economy was dominated by agriculture. While the Commonwealth's first century was a golden age for both Poland and Lithuania, the second century was marked by military defeats, a return to serfdom for the peasants, and growing anarchy in political life.


Selected picture

Juliusz Słowacki Theater in Kraków by night
Credit: Jan Mehlich

A nocturnal view of the Juliusz Słowacki Theater in Kraków. It was designed by Jan Zawiejski in an eclectic style reminscent of the Palais Garnier in Paris, but incorporates typically Cracovian motifs such as the mascarons which adorn the attic. The theater, named after Romanticist poet Juliusz Słowacki, was the site of premiere productions of Stanisław Wyspiański's dramas. Among its actors were Helena Modjeska and Ludwik Solski.

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

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Selected biography

Stanisław Lem
Stanisław Lem (1921–2006) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical and satirical writer, best known for his novel Solaris. His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humankind's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. His works have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the world.


Selected location

Medieval port crane in Gdańsk

Gdańsk is Poland's principal seaport located in the Kashubian region on the Baltic Sea. Together with the spa town of Sopot and the industrial city of Gdynia, it forms a conurbation known as Trójmiasto ("Tricity"). It has a complex political history with long spells of Polish rule interspersed with periods of German control and two spells as a free city. As an important port and shipbuilding center, the picturesque city was a member of the Hanseatic League. For much of its history the majority of its inhabitants were German speakers who referred to their city as Danzig, but after World War II it became firmly Polish. Gdańsk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, led by Lech Wałęsa, played a role in bringing down the communist rule across Central Europe.

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Poland now

Recent events

Underground statue in the Tarnowskie Góry Silver Mine

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

Battle of Grunwald reenactment

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