Facts about Poland
The Republic of Poland
Poland is more than 1000 years old. It had many years of prosperity and many years of hard times. It even disappeared from the world maps for more than a century. Despite all the turmoil, Poland is now developing fast, with 32nd place in the Human Development Index (HDI).
Poland is very diverse in nature and landscape. With the sea in the north and the mountains in the south, it offers almost all ecosystem features found in the temperate climate zone.
In addition to modern cities, museums and parks, there are medieval castles, historic battle sites and artifacts reminiscent of the old days of feudal Europe.
In the northeast of the country lies the Masurian Lake District, which every sailing enthusiast should visit. The area is full of small, picturesque lakeside towns as well as vast, wild places where you can moor up during your cruise and spend time in absolute wilderness.
All in all, Poland is worth getting to know, which we would like to make easier for you with some vital information about the history of this country.
1Poland has had at least five capitals throughout its history.
Gniezno was the capital city until 1038, when it was almost completely destroyed during an invasion by the Bohemian prince Bretislav. After that, the capital was moved to Cracow, which served as the capital until September 1568. In the meantime, the capital was Plock (1079-1138) and Poznań (1295-1296). The process of moving the royal court to Warsaw lasted until May 25, 1609, and since then, Warsaw has been the capital to this day.
2Poland borders seven countries.
These are Germany, Russia (Kalinigrad Oblast), Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
3The longest border is with Czech Republic (796 km) and the shortest with Lithuania (104 km).
4The country's name probably comes from the name of the tribe of the Polans.
The name "Poland" has been used to refer to the whole country since the 11th century.
5Poland's symbolic beginning was the baptism of Mieszko I, a Polish prince, in 966.
Although Mieszko is considered Poland's founder, his son Boleslaw the Brave became Poland's first king.
6The first royal dynasty to rule Poland was the Piast dynasty.
Though uncrowned, the first ruler of this dynasty was Mieszko I, and the last was Casimir III the Great, who died on November 5, 1370, leaving no male heir.
7The Andegavian dynasty ruled Poland for a short time.
In 1370 Louis I of Hungary became king of Poland, but his office was interrupted by his death. In 1374, his daughter Jadwiga (Hedwig) ascended the throne.
Hedwig ruled independently until 1386 when she married Ladislaus Jagiello. In this way, on March 4, 1386, after the coronation of Jagiello, the Jagiellonian dynasty took over Poland's rule.
8The Jagiellonians ruled Poland until 1573, when Sigismund II Augustus died childlessly.
After the king's death, a free election was introduced in the republic, which means that the nobility elected the king. Most of the elected rulers were not interested in the development of the country or were not competent in this matter. In the last century of the free election period, Poland's importance in the international arena gradually declined, which led to the partitions.
9For 123 years, Poland disappeared from the maps.
The loss of sovereignty and territory began as early as 1772 after the First Partition, but after the Third Partition of Poland in 1795 by the rulers of Russia, Austria and Prussia, Poland disappeared from the map entirely. Poland regained its independence in 1918.
10Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world.
Although it was built not by Poles but by Teutonic Knights, it is located on our present-day Polish territory. It became Polish property in 1457 when Casimir Jagiellonian bought it for 190 thousand florins from Ulric Czerwonka, who took possession of the castle as a pledge for unpaid debts of the Teutonic Order. The present value of the sum for which he bought the castle is about 660 kg of gold.
11The Polish language is one of the most difficult languages in the world.
The grammar of Polish is very complicated. There are five different parts of speech: a verb, a noun, an adjective, a numeral word and a pronoun. There are also diacritical letters: ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż. All this sometimes makes foreigners who are trying to master Polish language overwhelmed.
12Earplugs, kerosene lamps, and bulletproof vests are all Poles' inventions.
It's a country of many talented people. Here is a list of some Polish inventions:
- automatic railway signaling, Jan Józef Baranowski 1857
- kerosene lamp, Ignacy Łukasiewicz 1853
- earplugs, Leo Gerstenzang 1923
- electric battery-powered submarine, Stefan Drzewiecki 1888
- bullet-proof vest, Jan Szczepanik 1901
13The Constitution of May 3 was the first law of its kind in Europe and the second in the world.
It was adopted on May 3, 1791, but was in force for only 14 months. It lost its significance when Stanisław August Poniatowski joined the Targowicki Confederation on July 24, 1792. Finally, it ceased to be a binding legal act in the Sejm of Grodno on November 23, 1793.
14Poland is divided into 16 voivodeships (provinces) consisting of 380 poviats (counties).
Also, Poland has 944 cities and 2477 municipalities.
15Most of the country is covered by lowlands.
The average altitude in Poland is 173 m above sea level.
16The Tatra Mountains are the highest mountains in Poland.
Seventy peaks in Poland are over 2000 m high.
17Polish forests cover almost 30% of the country.
According to the plans, forests should cover 33% of Poland by 2050.
18Currently, there are 23 national parks in Poland.
The oldest is "Białowieża" National Park, established in 1932. The youngest is "Ujście Warty" National Park, which was established in 2001.
19Poland has the most polluted cities.
According to the European Environmental Protection Agency report, 6 of the 10 most polluted European cities are in Poland, southern part exactly.
20The Polish system of nature protection has contributed to the restoration of many national animal populations.
These include the European bison, the European beaver, the mute swan, the peregrine falcon and the elk.
21In 1923, thanks to Poland's initiative, the International Society was established to protect European Bison.
After the end of the World War, Poland became the world's leading center of European bison breeding.
22In Poznan Cathedral, there is a symbolic tomb of Poland's first rulers.
Mieszko I and Bolesław Chrobry.
23There are two Poznan in Poland.
One is in Wielkopolska and the other in the Lublin region.
24In 1978 Krakow was added to the World Heritage List UNESCO.
25The Cracow Market Square is the largest market square in Poland and Europe.
Each of its sides is 200 meters long.
26Officially, Warsaw became the capital of Poland in 1952.
Although it is said that Warsaw has been the capital of Poland since 1596, this is not entirely true. At that time, only the king and his court moved to Warsaw and it became the residence city of His Majesty the King. It was not until 1918 that Warsaw was declared the capital of Poland, while in 1952, the Republic Polish People constitution formally stated that Warsaw was the capital of Poland.
27The coat of arms of Warsaw is the image of a mermaid - Warsaw Mermaid.
The coat of arms design was adopted in 1937 and approved in January 1938.
28Poland had 38 kings.
Seven of them were titular kings, the remaining thirty-one crowned.
298 Poles received the Nobel Prize.
The most recent winner of this prestigious award is Olga Tokarczuk. Furthermore, ten people associated with Poland are also Nobel Prize winners.
30Poland is the 9th largest country in Europe.
It also ranks 69th in the world.
31During the time of the PRL (Polish People's Republic), the celebration of Independence Day was illegal.
Independence circles, including Piłsudski's circles, celebrated it illegally and the participants were suppressed.