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                                          The Republic of Poland


Poland, a country with the rich fascinating history, is located in Central Europe at the Baltic Sea coast. The country gained its fame due to unique historical monuments, including palaces, castles, ancient town buildings, striking festivals and museums with valuable collections of rare works of art. And its pristine nature won’t leave indifferent anyone – the Tatra Mountains, the Beskids, the Bieszczady Mountains, Bialowieza Forest, Ojców National Park, Masurian Lake District, and Slowinski National Park, located on the Baltic Sea coast.


The thousand-year history of Poland has left much to explore, including magnificent architectural monuments, some of which are included in the UNESCO’s list of world cultural heritage. Warsaw, a wonderful city, has been the capital of Poland for more than 400 years. The most striking symbol of the capital’s heritage is the Royal Castle, a former residence of Polish rulers. Not far from this place you can find Warsaw’s Old Town, a capital’s historical part built in the Middle Ages, which occupies the territory around central Market Square along narrow streets. Here you can visit cosy restaurants, museums and art galleries. You can follow the famous Royal Route, for centuries had been used by Polish kings, to get to Wilanow Palace, Royal Castle and amazing Lazienki Park.


The magnificent city of kings – Krakow – has inherited old traditions and gained its unique colour combining the modernity with the past, so this feature can be noted by you in the architecture of Krakow. Your attention will be attracted by facades of old Polish buildings, towers, churches and streets. The city’s gem is considered to be Wawel Castle, which for centuries had been the residence of Polish kings and bishops. Today it is a large museum where you can see valuable artefacts. You are well advised to visit interesting festivals in Krakow: Ludwig van Beethoven Festival, Krakow Film Festival, Jewish Culture Festival and others.


Every Polish city is unique – some of them are famous for their magnificent palaces, churches, castles, and historic districts. Unusual architecture is notable for ancient city Przemysl, numerous monuments have been preserved in Lublin, and gothic Toruń has gained its special charm. Not far from Krakow there is one of the oldest centres of salt production in Europe – Wieliczka. Go down in the salt mines, and at the depth of one hundred meters you will see a unique chapel, which had been cut by local miners. It is artfully decorated with statues and bas-relieves of salt deposits, and illuminated by a chandelier made of salt.


Poland is a beautiful country endowed with scenic beauty. There are many landscape parks, dozens of reserves, thousands of natural monuments in the country. One of the most beautiful places in Poland is Masurian Lake District, where more than 3,000 lakes are located. It is a real paradise for those to be fond of sailing and canoe trips, biking or horseback riding, a great place to stay in silence, to walk in a wood. Neighbouring gothic churches and castles, built by the Crusaders, their former owners, complete this beauty.


Many natural corners of Poland have preserved their original beauty. First of all, the Tatra Mountains with deep valleys and mountain peaks should be mentioned. The mountains are located within Tatra National Park, and picturesque Morskie Oko Lake is considered to be its gem. Near the Tatra Mountains, the Pieniny Mountains rise up.


South-eastern part of Poland is attractive for its scenic beauty, specially for its large forests – Pieniny National Park, Bialowieza Forest, Ojców National Park and each is unique. Pieniny Park offers rafting along the river. Ojców Park is well known for its rocks of unusual form. Cliffs and hills, ravines and valleys form a wonderful combination of rocks and lush vegetation. In addition, it is a perfect place to explore caves, as the park’s territory is covered by about 700 caves, including the largest of them – Ciemna Cave, Krakow Cave, Zbojecka Cave and Lokietek Cave. Slowinski National Park, recognized as a world reserve, is located on the seaside between towns Rowy and Leba. On its territory you can see moving dunes, under which a "dead wood" is hidden, and its water is a home for rare bird species, where they build their nests. This park will stay in your memory thanks to its green forest, blue lakes, sea water, and golden sand dunes.


The only virgin forests in Europe – Bialowieza Forest – have been preserved in Eastern Poland, and today are listed in the register of UNESCO. Many tourists come here to admire the king of the forest – a bison. Here you can also see deer, roe deer, elk and wild boars.


Ski resorts of Poland are popular among the travellers from all over Europe. The most famous Polish mountain resort Zakopane with ski tracks of any level is located among majestic mountains.


The Northern border of Poland is the Baltic Sea, thus offering great conditions for beach holidays. The most famous town on the coast is Sopot, surrounded by numerous lakes and rivers. Its surroundings provide perfect conditions for windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and canoeing.


Health tours to Poland have become quite popular lately. There are numerous health resorts in the country; the most famous of them are Kudowa Zdrój, Ustron, Polanica Zdroj, Szczawnica and others.


Poland has got strong musical and theatrical traditions. The country hosts a variety of festivals attracting artists, poets, and composers from around the world. Thus, in May you can visit Classical Music Festival in Lantsute, Torun in September and Wroclaw in December host modern music festivals. Those to be fond of organ music come in Krakow every April and to Gdansk in August. The most popular song contests are held every year in June in Sopot, and in April in Krakow. Krakow hosts Polish Short Film Festival in early May, and in August Solo Duo Trio Jazz Festival is held there.


National Polish cuisine is original and various as well. Most Polish dishes are very rich in calories and nourishing. It should be mentioned local chefs do not use much spices and salt, such way giving the food special softness. World-famous are Polish sausages, roast veal, ham seasoned with horseradish, chicken stewed in tomato sauce, as well as stuffed goose neck, rabbit’s paste and "bigos" made from several types of meat with sauerkraut. In addition, the Poles like soups, so you might count more than a hundred of its kinds. Recipes of many dishes include mushrooms – fried, stewed, salted or pickled. Fish is popular as well. Once you have visited Poland, be sure to taste delicious Polish pastries, cakes and pretzels.


Poland will captivate you with its rich cultural achievements, ancient monuments and picturesque landscapes. Polish cities with their long history and rich culture will give you unforgettable experience. Visit this wonderful country, and you’ll definitely desire to come there again.

Administrative division — Poland

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