Poland

Beyond being the threshold over which Hitler stepped to start the Second World War, Poland is famed for its long and cultured history that today is just waiting to welcome travellers into its midst. Though much of the country was devastated during the Nazi occupation and many repairs and improvements were suppressed during the Communist era, Poland was lucky enough to preserve a great deal of its cultural treasures, including a number of castles and churches, and several pieces of art and sculpture that are on display throughout the nation. While world-renown cities Warsaw and Krakow are likely to be first on every visitor's mind given the richness of their respective fabric, travellers would do well to keep in mind that the threads of this country's unique cultural and historic tapestry are woven throughout almost every town and village. With thirteen UNESCO World Heritage sites within its borders - and six more on the organization's 'tentative list' - Poland certainly has lots for the traveller to enjoy, including the (in)famous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration-camp-turned-museum, an 800-year old salt mine in Wieliczka, the medieval wooden churches in Southern Lesser Poland and the ancient city of Torun, where people have lived (including famed astronomer Copernicus) for over 3000 years. Whether it's skiing in the southern mountains or hiking near the Baltic Sea, eating pierogi and kielbasa or listening to Chopin while strolling along the banks of the Vistula, travellers to Poland will leave with memories to cherish for a lifetime. ~ WBB Staff Writer


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 Full name: Republic of Poland

 Population: 38.4 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Warsaw

 Largest city: Warsaw

 Area: 312,685 sq.km. (120,728.4 sq. mi.)

 Major languages: Polish, Other

 Major religions: Roman Catholic, Eastern  Orthodox, Protestant, Other

 Monetary unit: Zloty

 GDP per capita: US $20,100

 Internet domain: .pl

 International dialling code: +48

 Source: CIA World Factbook