Poland: Overview

Updated: 2017-06-01.

Republic of Poland | Rzeczpospolita Polska

Poland is a country in central Europe of about 39 million people. It is bordered by Germany to the west, Czechia and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east, and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast on the north. Poland is officially a republic (the Republic of Poland), and is made up of 16 voivodeships (administrative divisions/states/districts). The capital of Poland is Warsaw, located in the eastern-central part of the country, straddling the Vistula River, like so many other great European cities.

Poland as we know it now is a very new country; between 1989 through 1991, Poland went through a democratic transition which ended the Polish People’s Republic and led to a democratic regime, called Polish Third Republic. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. The Republic of Poland was established on September 13, 1989. Poland is also credited with being the second country in the world (after the United States) to pass a constitution.

Poland is a country that is fairly homogeneous, yet there are many cities and regions with distinct personalities to explore. Warsaw is the capital and largest city in Poland, and its hub for finance and business. Its people are extremely strong and resilient, a point that can be attested to by its survival through numerous wars and occupations throughout its history. Kraków is the second-largest city, and was the capital for over 500 years, until it was moved to Warsaw. Łódź and Lublin are two cities with a lot of historical footnotes, especially for the Jewish communities throughout the 20th century. Gdańsk is a city on Poland’s Baltic coast, another popular tourist destination.

flag of Poland

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