"Between East and West .... in central Europe" Top 5 Page for this destination Poland by magor65

Poland Travel Guide: 17,841 reviews and 48,467 photos

As the legend goes, there were three brothers: Lech, Czech and Rus. They were wandering through a forest in search of a place to settle down. Suddenly they saw a big oak and an eagle sitting on one of its branches. Lech said: "Here I will build my city and this bird will be the emblem of my people".

For years Poland has been considered as one of the Eastern European countries, which might be true politically but geographically speaking it is not correct at all. Actually, the geometrical centre of Europe lies very close to Warsaw.
With its 38 million people Poland is the 8th most populated country of Europe. Sadly speaking, the birth rate is on the decline with more and more young couples postponing having children until they find a job, have a house, etc., which often means at the age of thirty or more. Another worrying thing is that a lot of young people, especially those best educated and most talented, decide to emigrate, disappointed with high unemployment and lack of prospects in Poland. We can only hope that it's a temporary decision and they will come back to the country of their origin with money and experience gained abroad.

The history of Poland

The history of Poland has been very difficult and stormy throughout the centuries, including the latest times. In 1795 Poland disappeared for over 100 years from the maps of Europe, but not from the minds and hearts of Poles. Oppressed by the conquerors, Polish people fought for their own identity and never fully surrendered. After the years of partitions we regained the independence in 1918, but enjoyed the freedom for just 20 years between the two world wars. WWII reduced most of the country to ruins, both in literal and figurative sense. As a result of peace conferences in Potsdam and Yalta Poland lost about 20 % of its pre-war territory. The forty years after the war were stigmatized by Soviet domination, although we proudly claim that it was not as strong as in other countries of the eastern block. The strikes and protests against the communistic regime broke out several times until the climax of 1980. The Solidarity movement and its leader Lech Walesa played an undeniable part in doing away with communism both in Poland and Europe. In May 2004 Poland joined the European Union, and despite many problems like high unemployment, corruption or various phantoms of the past, hopefully is heading for better future.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:nature, architecture, history
  • Cons:unpredictable weather
  • In a nutshell:if you don't come soon, you may miss what is still left of tradition and folklore
  • Intro Updated Nov 6, 2005
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Reviews (36)

Comments (26)

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    They are not sure where the exact center of Europe is. Some maps show it is in Ukraine, some show it is in Lithuania.
    I agree, that geographically Poland is in Center Europe, but there is no actual political region called Central Europe.
    I am Polish and even I did not know that stuff about the egale, and about the kids. I just know that buying a house in Poland is a very long process, which is probably why it takes them so long to have kids.

    Good page.

    • magor65's Profile Photo
      Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Buying a house nowadays doesn't require time but money. Young people seem to put off starting a family until they can well afford it. On the one hand it seems reasonable, on the other giving birth to the first child when a woman is 35 seems a bit late.

    • briantravelman's Profile Photo
      Mar 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Time also. I know because we were selling my grandma's house in Poland and it took forever. And I watch House Hunters, and they sometimes buy a house in Poland and it takes forever. There is so much bueracracy involved.
      Also, getting the loan from the bank takes a very long time.

  • elpariente's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2011 at 6:10 AM

    Very good photos and interesting tips , they are very helpful Our hard task is now to decide were to go in 15 days in Poland Gracias !!!

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Apr 23, 2011 at 5:54 AM

    A very fine overview of your country with much interesting information's.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 4, 2009 at 8:21 AM

    Fabulous overview. I have already been to quite a few places you mention here, including Poznan and Gniezno where we were in April. Oh and in two weeks we will be in Szczecin for a long weekend. W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie. *winkygrin*

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2009 at 12:09 AM

    Again a fascinating reading, Malgorzata :-)) I love all the mountains and will definitely put them high on my wishlist, as well as the wooden church and definitely the peace churches! Thanks so much for a n exciting morning read :-)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2008 at 6:08 AM

    Many places still undiscovered. I hope to explore more in the spring. Zakopane on my list.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Great overview of the country which I love so much, where I have been rather often but unfortunately as a transit to Germany and back to Russia. I saw a lot but so much left to see! Thanks Malgorzata for sharing!

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2008 at 11:56 AM


  • Kinia's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2007 at 12:16 PM

    ?wietna strona o Polsce :)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2007 at 6:43 AM

    Malgorzata shalom! Thought you might be interested in the story of my in-laws escape from Poland (now in a travelogue on my home page). I like your customs tips!

magor65 Used To Live Here!


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