Saturday, December 25, 2010

About Poland

Poland, officially the Republic of 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 Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north.

The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometers (120,726 sq mi) making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe.

Poland has a population of over 38 million people, which makes it the 34th most populous country in the world and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, being its most populous post-communist member.

Facts and Figures

96.7% Polish, 3.3% others
July 1, 1569 
November 11, 1918 
December 31, 1944 
Third Republic
January 30, 1990 
1 May 2004
312,685 km2 [d](69th)
sq mi 
June 2010 estimate
38,192,000[1] (34th)
December 2007 census
38,116,000[2] (34th)
120/km2 (83rd)
319.9/sq mi
2009 estimate
$712.549 billion[3] 
GDP (nominal)
2010 estimate
$479.026 billion[3] 
Gini (2002)
HDI (2010)
0.795[4] (very high) (41st)


Poland's territory extends across several geographical regions. In the northwest is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdańsk. This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The center and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.

Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland. The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.

South of the Northern European Lowlands lie the regions of Silesia and Masovia, which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys. Farther south lies the Polish mountain region, including the Sudetes, the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains, including the Beskids. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland's southern border.


Poland, with 38,116,000 inhabitants, has the eighth-largest population in Europe and the sixth-largest in the European Union. It has a population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometer (328 per square mile).
Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions on its soil. The country had a particularly large Jewish population prior to World War II, when the Nazi Holocaust caused Poland's Jewish population, estimated at 3 million before the war, to drop to just 300,000. The outcome of the war, particularly the westward shift of Poland's borders to the area between the Curzon Line and the Oder-Neisse line, coupled with post-war expulsion of minorities, significantly reduced the country's ethnic diversity. Over 7 million Germans fled or were expelled from the Polish side of the Oder-Neisse boundary.
According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 people, or 96.74% of the population, consider themselves Polish, while 471,500 (1.23%) declared another nationality, and 774,900 (2.03%) did not declare any nationality. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland are Silesians (about 200,000), Germans (152,897 according to the census, 92% in Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship), Belarusians (c. 49,000), Ukrainians (c. 30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars. Among foreign citizens, the Vietnamese are the largest ethnic group, followed by Greeks and Armenians.
The Polish language, part of the West Slavic branch of the Slavic languages, functions as the official language of Poland. Until recent decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language but has been replaced by English and German as the most common second languages studied and spoken.


The average daytime summer temperature at sea level along the Baltic coast is 22 °C (71.6 °F).

The climate is mostly temperate throughout the country. The climate is oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east. Summers are generally warm, with average temperatures between 17 °C (63 °F) and 20 °C (68.0 °F). Winters are cold, with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and −6 °C (21.2 °F) in the northeast. Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the east; winter is drier than summer.

The warmest region in Poland is Lower Silesian located in south-western Poland where temperatures in the summer average between 22 °C (71.6 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F) but can go as high as 32 °C (89.6 °F) to 38 °C (100.4 °F) on some days in the warmest month of July and August.

The warmest cities in Poland are Tarnów, which is situated in Lesser Poland and Wrocław, which is located in Lower Silesian. The average temperatures in Wrocław being 20 °C (68 °F) in the summer and 0 °C (32.0 °F) in the winter, but Tarnów has the longest summer in whole Poland, which lasts for 115 days, from mid-May to mid-September.

The coldest region of Poland is in the northeast in the Podlaskie Voivodeship near the border of Belarus. Usually the coldest city is Suwałki. The climate is affected by cold fronts which come from Scandinavia and Siberia. The average temperature in the winter in Podlachian ranges from −6 °C (21.2 °F) to −4 °C (24.8 °F).


The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate 1000 year history. Its unique character developed as a result of its geography at the confluence of Western and Eastern Europe. With origins in the culture of the Proto-Slavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland. The people of Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances.


Poland has along standing tradition of tolerance towards minorities, as well as absence of discrimination on the grounds of religion, nationality or race. It has a high level of gender equality, promotes disability rights, and is, in general, legally and socially tolerant towards homosexuals. In fact, Poland is one of very few countries where historically homosexuality has never been banned, except when Poland lost sovereignty to foreign powers and for a few years after regaining independence. However, much of society still has a very conservative opinion of homosexuality, and with an overwhelmingly Roman-Catholic religious make-up, Poland has not yet found the political will to afford homosexual couples the same marital rights as heterosexuals.
Around 96.7% of the people of Poland claim Polish nationality, and 97.8% declare that they speak Polish at home (Census 2002). The population of Poland became one of the most ethnically homogeneous in the world as a result of the radically altered borders after World War II and the subsequent migrations. This homogeneity is a result of post-World War II deportations ordered by the Soviet authorities, who wished to remove the sizeable Polish minorities from Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine and deportations of Ukrainians from Poland (see territorial changes of Poland and historical demography of Poland for details).

Unlike in many other countries, the rights of ethnic minorities in Poland are guaranteed directly in the Constitution (art. 35), and today there are, amongst others, sizeable German, Ukrainian and Belarusian minorities present in the country.