About Poland

Poland lies in the heart of Europe; the geometric center of the continent lies very near the capital city of Warsaw.  The historic boundary between the East and West European continental masses also runs through Poland.

Poland's surface area of 312,683 sq km makes it the ninth largest country in Europe, after Russia, Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Norway, and the 63rd largest in the world. Poland is 120 times bigger than Liechtenstein and 520 times bigger than Singapore. It is also roughly the size of the U.S. state of Ohio.

To the west, Poland has a border with Germany, to the south with the Czech Republic and Slovakia; to the east and north-east with Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and a small Baltic territory of Russia.

Over the centuries, Poland's territory has changed many times, but it has always comprised the basins of the Warta and Vistula Rivers, and the lands between the Carpathians and the Baltic Sea. In the 16th-18th centuries the country's area was as much as 1 million sq km. Before the Partitions (late 18th century) it was about 733,000 sq km.

Partitioned and annexed by Russia, Prussia and Austria in 1795, Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for the next 123 years.  On the restoration of independence in 1918 it covered 388,000 sq km.

Today's territory of Poland was determined after the Second World War by the victorious powers:  Great Britain, the USA, and the Soviet Union, as a result of the peace conferences at Yalta and Potsdam.  She lost some 20 percent of its prewar territory. As a result of those dramatic shifts, the current territory of Poland is more or less the same as it was a thousand years ago.

The country has a roughly circular shape with a characteristic narrow spit of land, the Hel Peninsula, jutting out 34 km into the Baltic Sea, with an average breadth of just 500 m. Poland's geometrical center lies some 20 km north-east of Lódz. The maximum north-to-south and west-to-east distances are 649 km and 689 km respectively. The summer days are longer in the north by about an hour than they are in the south; and shorter by an hour in winter. Poland lies in the Central European time zone, with East European time operating in summer.

Poland is quite diverse geographically. You can find alpine mountains, clean and wide beaches, huge sand dunes, navigable rivers, Europe’s only remaining primeval forest, and the second highest concentration of lakes in Europe. It also has some of the largest and best know castles, thirteen UNESCO World Heritage sites, many world-class historic monuments, and friendly people.

The climate is temperate, and the people warm and hospitable. Polish cities with a thousand-year history invite their visitors to encounter historic culture, and Poland's countryside offers the opportunity to get away from the bustle of modern life. And all this comes with the  backdrop of breathtaking natural landscapes which are wild, untouched and more diverse than most countries in Europe and easily accessible from Warsaw.

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Poland's Central Location
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