What you need to know about Poland
Basic information about Poland
Poland (Poland, Republic of Poland, Rzeczpospolita Polska, Polska) is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and 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, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.

Borders: Belarus 605 km, Czech Republic 615 km, Germany 456 km, Lithuania 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 432 km, Slovakia 420 km, Ukraine 428 km

Population: 38,441,588

Capital with population: Warsaw - 1,642,700

Administration: 16 administrative provinces known as voivodeships, the voivodeships are divided into powiaty (counties) and then gminy (communes).

Currency: Polish zloty (PLN)

Time zone:  GMT + 1 in winter (GMT + 2 in summer)

Official language:  Polish

Form of government: republic

Religion: Roman Catholic

Highest point: Rysy, at 2,499 m

National emblem: Crowned white eagle

Flag: White and red

Climate:
The geographical location and surface features are the two most important factors determining the climate of Poland. The climate has transitional character between the maritime and continental climates. Winters are sometimes mild and sometimes cold, similarly the summers are cool and rainy or hot and dry. Generally, summer is usually warm and the most pleasant time to visit, but the plentiful sunshine is mixed together with rain. Spring starts in March with temperatures varying from -1 to +20 °C, until about April or May. July is the hottest month, but the rest of the summer is also quite warm with temperatures from 21 to 32 °C. Initially warm September is the beginning of Poland's autumn. Thereafter, the days become more cold until December, when winter begins and the temperature drops from a few degrees below zero to sometimes - 20 °C. Winter lasts from December to March and includes shorter or longer period of snow. In the high mountains snow lies till May.

More information about Poland is available here.
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