The complicated history of Poland makes this country intriguing. Throughout the ages, Poland was a powerful state that had been invaded, divided, then in turmoil again. The country changed especially in the 20th century, regaining its independence after the First World War, but only for 20 years, then losing it for the next 50, becoming a communist,“satellite state” of the USSR.
Tomb of the uknown soldier
The Second World War was the worst time for Poland, the nation facing war crimes, extermination camps, complete destruction of its main cities in uprisings and military defeats. Then after the war came various changes of borders. Today we are a quickly developing democratic republic, cultivating our 1000 years old culture.
The most famous city in Poland and the obligatory tourist destination is of course Kraków, but other interesting sites include Gdańsk, a port by the Baltic Sea, called the Pearl of Northern Poland, Wrocław, known for its various cultural events and initiatives and Warsaw – the capital – perhaps a shade controversial city, somewhat puzzling in the way its history clashes with its modern, metropolitan character, but that’s what makes it fascinating.
In Poland, you can discover real pearls of architecture in all styles – from gothic to modern.
Warsaw’s Metropolitan Office Center (designed by Norman Foster)
You can visit the former seats of Polish kings in Warsaw and Kraków, see the Trail of Eagle Nests – a line of small castles built in the 14th century in Southern Poland, and numerous renaissance and baroque palaces, belonging to royal families, magnates and rich nobility. You can see how life was for the past inhabitants of those buildings, feel the atmosphere of the old castles, the walls of which have witnessed centuries go by.
Due to its complicated history, Poland has been a multicultural country, the changing borders and political or religious turmoil bringing together people of Polish, Jewish, Russian, German, Romani and Muslim cultures.
Bohoniki Village – Polish Tatars (Muslims)
These influences can be observed at various opportunities, together with local cultural peculiarities such as the catholic cult of pope John Paul II intertwining with modern, young society in Kraków. The landscape itself varies from rural (very characteristic for the eastern Poland), through industrial (Silesia), to metropolitan (Kraków, Warsaw, Wrocław).
Poland has it all. Sea and lakes in the north, mountains in the south, forests, and national parks all over the country; here you can take a really deep breath and enjoy the marvellous landscapes, which vary from sand dunes and deserts through marshes, to primeval forests and rocky mountains. All of Europe’s landscapes in one place – Poland!
Babia Góra National Park
The inherent part of each journey is trying local cuisine.Polish dishes have evolved over the centuries in response to historical circumstances: for example, bigos was a dish developed by the nobles of 17th century, who went out hunting in winter, while zapiekanka is a typical, Polish street-food that evolved independently from the popular american fastfoods.
Bigos – traditional Polish dish
While they has a lot in common with other Eastern European traditions, as well as some foods imported from Italy or France, Poland’s own characteristic dishes are definitely worth tasting.