Coat of Arms
President Andrzej Duda
»312,679 km2 (71st)
»$990.568 billion (21st)
» Per capita -$25,703 (49th)
»$593.758 billion (23rd)
» Per capita -$15,406 (54th)
Poland is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) and Lithuania to the north.
The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi), making it the 71st largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the sixth most populous member of the European Union, and the most populous post-communist member of the European Union.
Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions.
Many historians trace the establishment of a Polish state to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler, of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity.
The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Poland’s high-income economy is considered to be one of the healthiest of the post-Communist countries and is one of the fastest growing within the EU. Having a strong domestic market, low private debt, flexible currency, and not being dependent on a single export sector.
Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s recession. Since the fall of the communist government, Poland has pursued a policy of liberalising the economy.
It is an example of the transition from a centrally planned to a primarily market-based economy. In 2009 Poland had the highest GDP growth in the EU – 1.6%.
The country’s most successful exports include machinery, furniture, foods and meats, motor boats, light planes, hardwood products, casual clothing, shoes and cosmetics. Germany is by far the biggest importer of Poland’s exports as of 2013.
Poland is a member of the Schengen Area and the EU single market
The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of the private sector.
As a consequence, consumer rights organizations have also appeared. Restructuring and privatisation of “sensitive sectors” such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy have been continuing since 1990. Between 2007 and 2010, the government plans to float twenty public companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, including parts of the coal industry.
The biggest privatisations have been the sale of the national telecoms firm Telekomunikacja Polska to France Télécomin 2000, and an issue of 30% of the shares in Poland’s largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stock market in 2004.
The Polish banking market is the largest in East Central and Eastern European region, with 32.3 branches per 100,000 adults. The banks are the largest and most developed sector of the country’s financial markets.
They are regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. During the transformation to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized some of them, recapitalized the rest, and introduced legal reforms that made the sector competitive.
This has attracted a significant number of strategic foreign investors (ICFI). Poland’s banking sector has approximately 5 national banks, a network of nearly 600 cooperative banks and 18 branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors have controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which make up 68% of the banking capital.
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after joining the European Union. Tourism in Poland contributes to the country’s overall economy and makes up a relatively large proportion of the country’s service market.
Kraków was the former capital and a relic of Poland’s Golden Age of Renaissance.
It contains the place of coronation of most Polish kings. It was named a European Capital of Culture by the European Union for the year 2000. The city of Wrocław, designated as a European Capital of Culture in 2016, is one of the oldest in Poland.
During World War II, Wrocław was a fortress (Festung Breslau), and was heavily damaged in the nearly three months long Siege of Breslau. The city has been restored and attracts several million tourists every year.
Table Mountains are a popular destination for hikers from across the country. The mountains are a 42 kilometre (26 mi) long range which forms part of the Central Sudetes in south-western Poland
Poland’s main tourist offerings include qualified tourism such as skiing, sailing and mountain hiking, as well as agrotourism, sightseeing walks, countryside excursions, as well as holiday and business trips.
It is the 17th most visited country in the world by foreign tourists, as ranked by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2012.
Tourist destinations include Baltic Sea coast in the north of Poland, Masurian Lake District and Białowieża Forest in the east, the southern Karkonosze, Table Mountains, Tatra Mountains, in which has the highest peak of Polish (Rysy) and the famous Orla Perć; Pieniny as well as Bieszczady Mountains in the extreme south-east.There are over 100 castles in the country, many along the popular Trail of the Eagles’ Nests.
- Ever since Poland joined the European Union, international travellers have rapidly rediscovered the country’s rich cultural heritage, stunning historic sites and just gorgeous array of landscapes.
- Whether you’re looking for architecture, urban vibes or a taste of the past: Poland’s bustling cities and towns offer something for everyone.
- If you’d rather get away from the crowds and enjoy nature, the country’s vast natural areas provide anything from dense forests, high peaks and lush hills to beaches and lake reserves.