The geometrical center of Europe is located near Warsaw, the Polish capital. Throughout more than a thousand years of history, Poland went from being a major continental power, to loosing our independence to finally becoming Central and Eastern Europe’s economic pioneer. Today, Poland is known for the enthusiasm, creativity and potential of Polish entrepreneurship, while Poland’s rich cultural traditions and customs attract millions of tourists from all over the world.
Culture and art have for centuries strengthened the national identity of Poles, helping us survive the worst moments in our history, and even today Polish artists keep to inspire the world. Frideric Chopin, one of the world’s greatest composers and pianists, was born in Poland. The International Frederic Chopin’s Piano Competition, dedicated to his music, held in Warsaw every five years since 1927, is one of the most important musical competitions in the world. Poland is also the home to Nobel Prize Laureates, Oscar and Grammy award winners. Thanks to the Nobel Prize winners in Literature, including Wisława Szymborska, Czesław Miłosz and Olga Tokarczuk, Poland has gained a reputation of the land of poets and writers. The vibrant Polish language, spoken by over 40 million people in Poland and abroad, contributes to the development of literature. Andrzej Wajda, winner of prestigious film awards, including the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement, created his films in Polish. Krzysztof Penderecki, an outstanding composer and four times Grammy Award winner, was also a Pole.
Poland is a country of people with ideas. Polish scientists can be proud of important discoveries and inventions, whichchanged the world. The famous astronomer Mikołaj Kopernik, creator of the heliocentric theory, built the basis for a breakthrough in modern natural and philosophical sciences in his work “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies.” His theory was far ahead of its time and was only fully accepted two centuries later. Maria Sklodowska-Curie – an acclaimed scholar of all time – came from Warsaw. To this day, she remains the only woman ever to receive the Nobel Prize twice (in 1903 and 1911) and the only scientist to be honored for accomplishments in two separate sciences. She was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (for the discovery of polonium and radium), the first woman appointed a professor at the La Sorbonne University in Paris. Whereas Jan Czochralski, a Polish physicist, invented the method for growing single crystals, which is the basis of modern electronics. Semiconductor devices are made of silicon monocrystals obtained by this method. Thanks to them, computers, tablets, mobile phones, digital cameras, mp3 players and other electronic devices work. Polish mathematicians: Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski broke the codes of the most famous cipher machine in history – the German Enigma. With their achievements, they contributed to the end of World War II.
Poland is a country attractive for its wildlife, spread from the Baltic Sea and Masurian lakes in the north, through the lowlands of the central part of the country up to the mountain ranges in the south. It has 23 national parks, 1,500 nature reserves and 145 landscape parks, encouraging active recreation during mountain trips, bike rallies, river and lake canoeing, sailing, surfing, horse riding (e.g., on one of the longest routes in Europe with 1,800 km, which runs through the center of the country), or observing rare species of birds in their natural habitats.
Tourists visit Poland to attend the numerous cultural events, including music, film and theater festivals, hosted by Polish cities famous for their amazing architecture, awarded at international competitions. Among them is the beautiful M. Karlowicz Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin, which was the first building in Poland to receive the most prestigious European prize – Mies van der Rohe; or the National Museum in Szczecin – Center of Dialogue Breakthroughs awarded the best building in the world award at te2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin. Other Polish public buildings that stand out on the world map of architecture are the Shakespeare Theater and the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, Silesian Museum in Katowice, built on the site of a former coal mine, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Luslawice, Cricoteca (Center for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor) in Cracow, and the Warsaw Uprising Museum and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
Visiting these unusual cutural sites gives an insight into the complex history of Poland and the sometimes tragic fate of its inhabitants, particularly related to the experience of World War II. Poland cares for the rebirth of what is lost. It became a guardian of memory – protecting the Jewish heritage lost during World War II by supporting the development of contemporary culture of the Jewish minority in Poland. An example of this support is, among others, the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, organized for over 30 years. It’s the most spectacular and interdisciplinary festival of its kind in the world, visited by tens of thousands of tourists.
Poland also attracts film, theater and music lovers. It is a real treat for them to meet with the greatest contemporary music creators at the Warsaw Autumn Festival; movie stars and world-renowned cinematographers at the EnergaCAMERIMAGE festival in Torun, or with independent artists from around the world participating in the New Horizons International Festival in Wroclaw, which presents artistic, visionary and experimental cinema.
More about Poland:
- For latest news from Poland in various languages listen to the Polish Radio