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Welcome to the Poland Portal — Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Coat of arms of Poland
Coat of arms of Poland

Map 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 Polish People's Republic 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 joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, but has experienced a constitutional crisis and democratic backsliding under the rule of the populist Law and Justice party since 2015.

Christmas in Poland

Szopka krakowska A szopka krakowska (example pictured left) is a nativity scene traditionally constructed in Kraków during the Christmas season. Its distinctive feature is the use of architectural details of Kraków's historical landmarks as a backdrop for the nativity of Jesus.

Christmas carol singing has long been a popular tradition in Poland. The oldest known Polish carols date back to the 15th century. Among the most beloved (recordings listed right) are the lulling "Lulajże, Jezuniu" ("Sleep, Little Jesus"), the joyful "Dzisiaj w Betlejem" ("Tonight in Bethlehem"), and the majestic "Bóg się rodzi" ("God is Born").

Media related to Polish Christmas carols at Wikimedia Commons

From Polish history – show another

Street Demonstration by Władysław Skoczylas (1905)
Street Demonstration by Władysław Skoczylas (1905)
The Łódź Insurrection was an uprising by Polish workers in Łódź against the Russian Empire which took place between 21 and 25 June 1905. The Russian-controlled Congress Poland was one of the major centers of the Russian Revolution of 1905, and the Łódź Insurrection was a key incident in those events. For months prior to the uprising, workers in Łódź had been in a state of unrest, with several major strikes brutally quelled by the Russian police and military. Around 21–22 June, angry workers began building barricades and assaulting police and military patrols. The riots began spontaneously, without backing from any organized group; Polish revolutionary groups were taken by surprise and did not play a major role in the subsequent events. Authorities declared martial law and called in additional troops. No businesses operated in the city on 23 June as the police and military stormed dozens of workers' barricades. Eventually, by 25 June, the uprising was crushed, with estimates of several hundred dead and wounded. The events were reported in international press and recognized by socialist and communist activists worldwide. (Full article...)

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Interior of a spa resort in Lądek Zdrój
Interior of a spa resort in Lądek Zdrój
Interior of a spa resort in Lądek-Zdrój (German: Bad Landeck), Lower Silesia. Erected in the 17th century, it was rebuilt in the late 19th century, in Neo-Baroque style. Its guests have included Frederick the Great, John Quincy Adams, Ivan Turgenev, and Władysław Gomułka.

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Twelve mazurek cakes

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Marian Rejewski
Marian Rejewski
Marian Rejewski (1905–1980) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who, in 1932, solved the Enigma machine, the main cipher machine then in use by Germany. While studying mathematics at Poznań University, Rejewski attended a secret cryptology course conducted by the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau, which he joined full-time in 1932. Rejewski and his two colleagues then developed an assortment of techniques for the regular decryption of Enigma messages, including the cryptologic "card catalog", the "cyclometer", and the cryptologic "bomb". Five weeks before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, they presented their results on Enigma decryption to their French and British counterparts. Their success jump-started British reading of Enigma in World War II, and the intelligence so gained contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany. (Full article...)

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Poznań town hall
Poznań town hall
Poznań is the fifth largest city in Poland and one of the nation's oldest. In the early years of Poland's history, it was the seat of Polish rulers, some of whom are buried in the Poznań Cathedral. Located on the Warta river in west-central Poland, it is now the capital of Greater Poland and an important centre of education, industry, and trade, hosting regular international trade fairs. With high GDP per capita and low unemployment, it is Poland's most prosperous city after Warsaw. The city's most important cultural event is the annual Malta Theatre Festival. (Full article...)

Poland now

Recent events

Szymon Hołownia

Constitutional crisis • Belarus–EU border crisis • Ukrainian refugee crisis

Holidays and observances in December 2023
(statutory public holidays in bold)

Polish Christmas tree baubles

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