Poland – Country in the Heart of Europe
The Republic of Poland is a country in eastern Europe. Its area is 312,685 square kilometers. It borders Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia. The Baltic Sea lies to the north.
Most of Poland’s people are Poles. They speak Polish. Small numbers of Ukrainians, Germans, and Belarusians also live in the country. The main religion is Roman Catholicism.
Warsaw is the capital and it is also the largest city. Other important cities include Lodz, Gdansk, and Krakow.
The written history of Poland begins in the AD 900s. The Piast dynasty ruled Poland until the 1300s. In 1386 Poland’s Queen Jadwiga married Wladyslaw II Jagiello, the grand duke of Lithuania. So, the two countries were united.
In the mid-1500s Poland was the largest country in Europe. In the late 1700s it was no longer a separate country after it was divided by the countries of Russia, Prussia, and Austria. In 1815 the Poles formed a new Polish kingdom, but the Russians controlled it. Poland became an independent republic in 1918.
During World War II the Nazis of Germany killed about 3 million Polish Jews. This was part of a massacre called the Holocaust.
Poland joined the European Union in 2004.
In literature Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz won the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, and poet Wislawa Szymborska won it in 1996. Frédéric Chopin, a famous composer, was from Poland. And one of the most famous scientists in history, Nicolaus Copernicus, was born in Poland. Another Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) created the very first accurate map of the Moon. In 1932 Polish runner Stanislava Valasevich established a 100-metre dash world record, and after her death it turned out that she was a man.
Max Factor, the world-famous cosmetic company, was founded by Maximilian Faktorovich, who was born in 1877 in Poland. He opened his first store in Ryazan, Russia. In 1904 he emigrated to the United States.
There are no homeless animals here. There are a lot of river gulls on the banks of the Vistula River and many squirrels in the parks.
The largest number of white storks live in Poland (23% of the world population). Storks are one of the symbols of the country.
Football is the most popular sport in Poland.
In Warsaw there is a street named after Winnie the Pooh.