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Diego Delso
Cezary p
Poland (Polish: Polska) is a Central Europe country that has, for the last few centuries, sat at the crossroads of three of Europe's great empires. As a result, it has a rich and eventful history, and a strong basis for its booking tourism industry.
Its heritage is reflected in its architecture, museums, galleries and monuments. Its landscape is varied, and extends from the Baltic Sea coast in the north to the Tatra Mountains in the south. In between, lush primeval forests are home to fascinating species of animals including bisons in Białowieża; beautiful lakes and rivers for various watersports, the best known of which are in Warmińsko-Mazurskie; rolling hills; flat plains; and deserts. Among Poland's cities you can find the perfectly preserved Gothic old town of Toruń, Hanseatic heritage in Gdańsk and evidence of the 19th-century industrial boom in Łódź.
Today's Poland has a very homogenous society in terms of ethnicity, language and religion. The historical Republics of Poland, whose boundaries were very different from those of today, were very multi-cultural, and, for a period, Poland was known as Europe's most religiously tolerant. Poland held Europe's largest Jewish population, which was all but wiped out by the Holocaust of World War II and after the war by the anti-Semitic communist government.
Poland's western regions, including large parts of Lower Silesia, Lubuskie and Zachodniopomorskie, were parts of neighbouring Germany at different periods of time. The natural border of mountain ridges separating Poland from its southern neighbours, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, did not stop the cultural influence (and periodic warring). In the middle ages, Poland was part of a powerful Commonwealth with Lithuania that governed much of today's Belarus and Ukraine. The cultural evidence of it can be found closer to the present-day borders. Lastly, the entire eastern half of Poland used to be controlled by the Russian Empire, and there was a strong Soviet influence during the communist era, leaving behind many traces in both culture and built heritage.
Despite losing a third of its population, including a disproportionally large part of its elites, in World War II, and suffering many economic setbacks as a Soviet satellite state afterwards, Poland in many ways flourished culturally in the 20th century. Paving the way for its fellow Soviet-block states, Poland had a painful transition to democracy and capitalism in the late 1980s and 90s. In the 21st century, Poland joined the European Union and has enjoyed continuous economic growth unlike any other EU country. This has allowed it to markedly improve its infrastructure and had a profound effect on its society. Creative and enterprising, Poles continually come up with various ideas for events and festivals, and new buildings and institutions spring up almost before your eyes, so that every time you come back, you are bound to discover something new.



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