Facts about Poland
European Union membership: since 1 May 2004
Other common languages spoken: English, German, Russian, French
Time: GMT/UTC plus one hour
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz AC Euro socket style
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: 1 zloty = 100 grosz
The Republic of Poland
Poland is located in the heart of Europe and covers an area of 312,700 square kilometres. Its boundaries are formed by the Baltic Sea to the north, Germany to the west, the Czech and Slovak Republics to the south and Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia to the east. Although Poland's topography is characterised mainly by lowland plains, its variable landscape includes important mountain chains, such as the Sudety and Tatra Mountains. Hundreds of freshwater lakes are hidden away in the northern part of the country: the Pomeranian and Mazurian Lake Districts are set amidst picturesque hills and primeval forests. Touching the Baltic Sea in the north, Poland offers 528 km of coastline with sandy beaches.
Poland has around 38 million inhabitants, 1,650,000 of whom live in the capital city of Warsaw (Warszawa) and other major cities, such as Cracow (Krakow), Gdansk, Poznan, Lodz, Szczecin, Wroclaw. The population is largely of Polish descent. The official language is Polish. Here you will find the national anthem and national emblem. From 1 May 2004 Poland has been a member of the European Union. Poland is a parliamentary republic and is divided into 16 administrative provinces (województwa). Since 1989, the country has been undergoing an important transformation into a Market Economy.
Travel to and during your residence in Poland
You can travel to and within Poland by air, land, or sea. Most travellers arrive by air, and then take advantage of the numerous possibilities to see the country by land. If you fly into Poland, you will land either at Okecie Airport in Warsaw, Balice Airport in Krakow or Rebiechowo Airport in Gdansk. Warsaw's Okecie International Airport stands testament to Poland's renewed economy: it claims to be the most modern and safe airport in Central Europe and offers all sorts of useful services (car rental, travel agencies, a post office, a bank, restaurants, and shops). Poland is covered by a dense network of rail and coach services which provide an easy access to almost any place you can find on the map.
Buses, trams, trolleybuses, and the underground (only in Warsaw) make up the public transport system in Poland. Buses run on ordinary, fast and night lines. Tickets may be purchased at news-stands, some shops, sometimes from bus-drivers; they should be validated immediately upon boarding. Fare rates vary in different cities and tickets purchased in one city cannot be used in another. Each piece of bulky luggage or a pet needs an additional ticket, the equivalent of a normal passenger fare. Steep on the spot debt are given debt for travelling or transporting bulky luggage without valid tickets. Any place in Poland can be easily reached on the extensive network of national and local roads. Coach services are operated throughout the year by state and private bus companies across the country.
Passport and visas
EU visitors should hold a passport valid up to at least for the duration of the intended stay in Poland or another officially recognised proof of identity confirming the nationality of the holder. Nationals of certain non-EU countries do not require a visitor's visas:
Poland has a temperate changeable climate. In winter the temperatures vary from the mid 30's to the low 60's °F (-1 to -15°C). Spring progresses in March with temperatures varying from 5 to 20°C, until about May or June. July is the hottest month, but the rest of the summer is also quite warm with temperatures ranging from the mid 70's into the low 90's °F (21 to 32 °C). Initially warm and balmy, September marks the beginning of Poland's autumn. Thereafter, the days become more damp and foggy until December, when winter arrives and the temperature drops to a few degrees below zero. Characterised by abundant snowfall but with plenty of sunshine, Poland's winter season caters for winter sport activities of all types.
Tourist Card - Poland Tourist Card - Poland
Tourists' cards, very popular all over the Europe, are now available in almost every major city in Poland. The Polish Tourist Organization has introduced a discount card called ''Polish Card''. The main purpose of the card is to promote Poland' tourist attractions and facilitate their availability. The Polish Card is a program offering a system of discounts and incentives while funding for accommodation, tourist services, at restaurants and many other locations all over the Country. The card and the catalogue may be obtained free of charge from any of the contributive outlets in Poland.
Some of the Major Cities of Poland
Warsaw, for instance:
Warsaw - City with an Attitude
The capital of Poland is a meeting place for politicians, economists and artists of all nationalities.
Enthralling places to visit:
The Old Town is the oldest part of Warsaw - the King’s Castle and its surrounding walls were built in the 13th century. Most of the area was annihilated by the Nazis during World War II, however was meticulously rebuilt - a project that was finally completed in the 1980s and earned a place on the ''UNESCO'' World Heritage List. Today it is a lively place full of galleries, cafés and restaurants.
Royal Lazienki Park
One of the most magnificent palace and garden complexes in Europe.It includes numerous historical monuments and a park in a formerly wild forest. Łazienki is a museum, a place for cultural, scientific and entertainment events and a great place for a walk. For 50 years, free piano concerts have been held here during the summer weekends next to the famous monument of F. Chopin. Crowds of tourists and local classical music lovers gather here.
Wilanów Palace, built for King Jan III Sobieski, is one of Poland’s greatest Baroque monuments. Many distinguished stylistic eras are represented in the Palace’s many parts. The two-level, mixed-style garden is the frame for Wilanów Palace. It is full of sculptures and fountains. Cascades of water, situated on the southern end of the park, fall into a lake that surrounds the eastern segment of the grounds.
The facts of Cracow - The jewel in the crown
Cracow, famous for its priceless historical monuments of culture and art, is Poland's former royal capital and one of the most attractive spots on the tourist map of Europe.
''Besides history, art and an atmosphere all of its own, Cracow offers visitors entertainment and leisure as following: theatres, cabarets, public clubs, cafes, bars, wine cellars and restaurants having something to recommend for everyone.''
The Barbican – a circular Gothic bastion- served both as the town’s main entry path, and as its key defence. It was built by the end of the fifteenth generation, and still perseveres in excellent condition until today. According to experts, between the fifteenth and eighteenth century it was a fortress which proved impossible to conquer.
The present building dates back to 1878.
Much of the Museum’s collection which the Nazis looted was recovered, but a certain quantity of 840 artefacts are still missing, including a photograph by Raphael. Apart from the paintings, exhibits append collections of armour, weaponry, carpets and ceramics, as well as numerous ancient Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman treasures.
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