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|national_anthem = File:Mazurek Dabrowskiego.ogg"Mazurek Dąbrowskiego"("Dąbrowski"s Mazurka")
|official_languages = Polish
|capital = Warsaw
|latd=52 |latm=13 |latNS=N |longd=21 |longm=02 |longEW=E
|largest_city = Warsaw
|demonym = Pole/Polish
|government_type = Parliamentary republic
|leader_title1 = President
|leader_title2 = Prime Minister
|leader_name1 = Bronisław Komorowski
|leader_name2 = Donald Tusk
|accessionEUdate = 1 May 2004
|EUseats = 54
|area_rank = 69th
|area_magnitude = 1 E11
|area_km2 = 312685
|area_sq_mi = 120,696.41
|area_footnote =
|percent_water = 3.07
|population_estimate = 38,192,000
|population_estimate_rank = 34th
|population_estimate_year = June 2010
|population_census = 38,116,000
|population_census_rank = 34th
|population_census_year = December 2007
|population_density_km2 = 120
|population_density_sq_mi = 319.9
|population_density_rank = 83rd
|GDP_PPP_year = 2009
|GDP_PPP = $727.086 billion
|GDP_PPP_rank = 19th
|GDP_PPP_per_capita = $18,705
|GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank =
|GDP_nominal_year = 2010
|GDP_nominal = $479.026 billion
|GDP_nominal_rank =
|GDP_nominal_per_capita = $12,575
|GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank =
|HDI_year = 2010
|HDI = 0.795
|HDI_rank = 41st
|HDI_category = very high
|Gini = 34.5
|Gini_year = 2002
|sovereignty_type = Formation
|established_event1 = Christianisation
|established_event2 = First Republic
|established_event3 = Second Republic
|established_event4 = People"s Republic
|established_event5 = Third Republic
|established_date1 = 966
|established_date2 = July 1, 1569
|established_date3 = November 11, 1918
|established_date4 = December 31, 1944
|established_date5 = January 30, 1990
|currency = "Złoty"
|currency_code = PLN
|time_zone = CET
|utc_offset = +1
|time_zone_DST = CEST
|utc_offset_DST = +2
|ethnic_groups = 96.7% Polish, 3.3% others
|drives_on = right
|cctld = .pl
|calling_code = 48
|footnote1 = See, however, Unofficial mottos of Poland.
|footnote2 = Although not official languages, Belarusian, Kashubian, Silesian, Lithuanian and German are used in 20 communal offices.
|footnote3 = The adoption of Christianity in Poland is seen by many Poles, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as one of the most significant national historical events; the new religion was used to unify the tribes in the region.. Restructuring and privatisation of "sensitive sectors" such as coal, steel, rail transport and energy has 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 Télécom in 2000, and an issue of 30% of the shares in Poland"s largest bank, PKO Bank Polski, on the Polish stockmarket in 2004.

Poland is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market, obliged to join the Eurozone (green).

Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector, with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the European Union. Structural reforms in health care, education, the pension system, and state administration have resulted in largerthanexpected fiscal pressures. Warsaw leads Central Europe in foreign investment.", "The Warsaw Voice", September 2002. Retrieved on August 11, 2007. GDP growth had been strong and steady from 1993 to 2000 with only a short slowdown from 2001 to 2002.

The economy had growth of 3.7% annually in 2003, a rise from 1.4% annually in 2002. In 2004, GDP growth equaled 5.4%, in 2005 3.3% and in 2006 6.2%. According to Eurostat data, Polish PPS GDP per capita stood at 61% of the EU average in 2009.

Gdynia, situated at Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, is an important seaport of Poland.

Although the Polish economy is currently undergoing economic development, there are many challenges ahead. The most notable task on the horizon is the preparation of the economy (through continuing deep structural reforms) to allow Poland to meet the strict economic criteria for entry into the Eurozone. According to the minister of finance Jacek Rostowski, Poland is likely to adopt the euro in 2012Gazeta Wyborcza, " or 2013.Jan Cienski, " EuropaRussia 30.05.2010. Some businesses may already accept the euro as payment.

Average salaries in the enterprise sector in October 2010 were 3440 PLN (880 euro or 1255 US dollars) | |date= |accessdate=20101104}} and growing sharply. Salaries vary between the regions: the median wage in the capital city Warsaw was 4,603 PLN (1,177 euro or 1,680 US dollars) while in Kielce it was only 3,083 PLN (788 euro or 1125 US dollars). Differences in salaries in various districts of Poland is even higher and range from 2,020 PLN (517 euro or 737 US dollars) in Kępno County, which is located in Greater Poland Voivodeship to 5,616 (1,436 euro or 2,050 US dollars) in Lubin County, which lies in Lower Silesian Voivodeship. | |date= |accessdate=20101119}}

According to a Credit Suisse report, Poles are the second wealthiest (after Czechs) of the Central European peoples, this in turn makes Poland an attractive destination for many guest workers from Asia and Eastern Europe (an average Polish citizen is three times richer than an average Russian). Even though Poland is rather an ethnically homogeneous country, the number of foreigners is growing every year.

Since UK, Ireland and some other European countries opened their job markets for Poles, many workers, especially from rural regions, have left the country to seek a better wages abroad. However, with the rapid growth of the salaries, booming economy, strong value of Polish currency, and quickly decreasing unemployment (from 14.2% in May 2006 to 6.7% in August 2008) exodus of Polish workers seems to be over. In 2008 people who came back outnumbered those leaving the country.

Commodities produced in Poland include: electronics, cars (including the luxurious Leopard car), buses (Autosan, Solaris, Solbus), helicopters (PZL Świdnik), transport equipment, locomotives, planes (PZL Mielec), ships, military engineering (including tanks, SPAAG systems), medicines (Polpharma, Polfa), food, clothes, glass, pottery (Bolesławiec), chemical products and others.
Corporations ===The Warsaw Stock Exchange is, by market capitalisation, one of Central Europe"s lar
Warsaw is home to many of Poland"s largest business enterprises

Poland is recognised as a regional economic power within Central Europe, possessing nearly 40 percent of the 500 biggest companies in the region (by revenues). Poland was the only member of the EU to avoid the recession of the late 2000s, a testament to the Polish economy"s stability. The country"s most competitive firms are components of the WIG 20 which is traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Well known Polish brands include, amongst others, Tyskie, LOT Polish Airlines, PKN Orlen, E. Wedel, Empik, Poczta Polska, PKO Bank, PKP, Mostostal, PZU Insurance, and TVP.. Retrieved 21 November 2010.

Poland is recognised as having an economy with significant development potential, overtaking the Netherlands in mid2010 to become Europe"s sixth largest economy. Foreign Direct Investment in Poland has remained strong ever since the country"s redemocratisation following the Round Table Agreement in 1989. Despite this, problems do exist, and further progress in achieving success depends largely on the government"s privatisation of Poland"s remaining state industries and continuing development and modernisation of the economy.

The list includes the largest companies by turnover in 2009, but does not include major banks or insurance companies:

The city of Zamość is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main tourist attractions of Lublin Voivodeship.
Poland is a major part of the global tourism market and is currently experiencing an upward trend in its number of visitors; this began shortly 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. The most attractive urban destinations for tourists are Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Lublin and Toruń; in addition to these the historic site of the Auschwitz concentration camp near Oświęcim is a noteworthy place of pilgrimage and a now constitutes a major monument to the prevention of war and suffering in Southern Poland. Popular areas of natural beauty include northeast Poland"s Masurian Lake District and Białowieża Forest. Poland"s main tourist offerings are thought to be based around citysightseeing and extraurban historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, and mountain hiking, among others.

Poland was the 17th most visited country by foreign tourists in 2008.
Energy ===Żerań power station in Wa
The electricity generation sector in Poland is still largely fossilfuel based. Many power plants nationwide use Poland"s position as a major European exporter of coal to their advantage by continuing to use coal as the primary raw material in production of their energy; in 2007, hard bituminous coal contributed 48% of energy generation, brown coal and gas 12% each and oil 23%. Currently the three largest Polish coal mining firms ("Weglokoks, Kompania Węglowa and JSW") extract around 100 million tonnes of coal annually; all three of these companies are key constituents of the Warsaw Stock Exchange"s lead economic indexes.

Renewable forms of energy currently only account for a small proportion of Poland"s full energy generation capacity. However, the national government has set targets for the development of renewable energy sources in Poland which should see the portion of power produced by renewable resources climb to 7.5% by 2010 and 15% by 2020. This is to be achieved mainly through the construction of wind farms and a number of hydroelectric stations.

Poland is thought to have around 164,800,000,000 m³ of proven natural gas reserves and around 96,380,000 barrels of proven oil reserves. These reserves are currently attended to and exploited by energy supply companies such as PKN Orlen ("the only Polish company listed in the Fortune Global 500"). However, due to the small amounts of fossil fuels naturally occurring in Poland not being enough to satisfy the full energy consumption needs of the population and thus need to buy from abroad, the country is considered to be a net importer of oil and natural gas.
Transport ===LOT Boeing 767 "City of Poznań" on stand at Warsaw Chopin Air

Today transport in Poland is provided by means of rail, road, shipping and air travel. Positioned in Central Europe and with an eastern border compromising the largest external border of the Schengen Area with the rest of Eastern Europe, Poland has long been, and remains a key country through which imports to and exports from the European Union pass.

Since joining the EU in 2004, Poland has invested large amounts of money into the modernisation of its transport networks. The country now has a developing expressways network compromised of motorways such as the A4 and express roads such as the S7. In addition to these newlybuilt roads, many local and regional roads are being rebuilt as part of a national program to rebuild all roads in Poland.
The A4 Motorway near Kraków
Again, with regard to railways, much the same situation is taking place. The Polish authorities have begun a program by which they hope to operating speeds across the entire Polish rail network; this is particularly true of a number of national trunk routes which are expected to soon receive new rolling stock capable of speeds over 200 km/h. Finally, there is a plan to introduce high speed rail to Poland from around 2014. The Polish government recently revealed that it intends to connect all major cities to a future highspeed rail network by 2020. Most intercity rail operations in Poland are operated by PKP Intercity whilst regional trains are run by a number of operators, the largest of which is Przewozy Regionalne.

The air and maritime transport markets in Poland are largely well developed, although construction of new airport and seaport facilities is ongoing. Poland has a number of international airports; the largest of which is Warsaw Chopin Airport, the primary global hub for LOT Polish Airlines, which is the largest airline of Eastern Central Europe and one of the world"s oldest airlines still in operation today. Seaports exist all along Poland"s Baltic Sea coast, with most freight operations using either Gdynia or Gdańsk as their base. Passenger ferries link Poland with Scandinavia all year round; these services are provided from Gdańsk by Polferries, Stena Line from Gdynia and Unity Line from the Port of Świnoujście.
Maria SkłodowskaCurie established the first Radium Institute in Poland

According to Frost & Sullivan"s Country Industry Forecast the country is becoming an interesting location for research and development investments.Newswire Multinational companies such as: ABB, Delphi, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hewlett–Packard, IBM, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Siemens and Samsung have set up research and development centres in Poland.Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency Over 40 research and development centers and 4,500 researchers make Poland the biggest research and development hub in Central and Eastern Europe. Companies chose Poland because of the availability of highly qualified labor force, presence of universities, support of authorities, and the largest market in Central Europe.
Warsaw"s Staszic Palace is home to the Polish Academy of Sciences
Today Poland"s tertiary education institutions; traditional universities (found in its major cities), as well as technical, medical, and economic institutions, employ around 61,000 researchers and members of staff. There are around 300 research and development institutes, with about 10,000 researchers. In total, there are around 91,000 scientists in Poland today. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries many Polish scientists worked abroad; one of the greatest of these exiles was Maria SkłodowskaCurie, a physicist and chemist who lived much of her life in France. In the first half of the 20th century, Poland was a flourishing centre of mathematics. Outstanding Polish mathematicians formed the Lwów School of Mathematics (with Stefan Banach, Hugo Steinhaus, Stanisław Ulam) and Warsaw School of Mathematics (with Alfred Tarski, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Wacław Sierpiński). The events of World War II pushed many of them into exile. Such was the case of Benoît Mandelbrot, whose family left Poland when he was still a child. An alumnus of the Warsaw School of Mathematics was Antoni Zygmund, one of the shapers of 20thcentury mathematical analysis.

According to KPMG reportKPMG, 80% of Poland"s current investors are content with their choice and willing to reinvest. In 2006, Intel decided to double the number of employees in its research and development centre in Gdańsk.
The Main Municipal Post Office of Bydgoszcz
The share of the telecom sector in the GDP is 4.4% (end of 2000 figure), compared to 2.5% in 1996. Nevertheless, despite high expenditures for telecom infrastructure (the coverage d from 78 users per 1,000 inhabitants in 1989 to 282 in 2000).

The value of the telecommunication market is zl 38.2bn (2006), and it grew by 12.4% in 2007 PMR. The coverage mobile cellular is over 1000 users per 1000 people (2007). Telephones—mobile cellular: 38.7 million ( & GUS Report, 2007), telephones—main lines in use: 12.5 million (Telecom Team Report, 2005).
TP S.A. headquarters in Warsaw
With regard to internet access, the most popular ADSL services for home users in Poland are Neostrada provided by TPSA, and Net24 provided by Netia. Business users as well as some home users use Internet DSL TP also offered by TPSA. According to Eurostat, OECD and others, Internet access in Poland is amidst the most expensive in Europe. This is mostly caused by the lack of competitiveness. Luckily, new operators like Dialog and GTS Energis are making their own provider lines and offer more attractive and cheaper service. Recently, the Polish Office of Electronical Communication passed a bill forcing the TPSA to rent 51% of their ADSL lines to other ISPs for 60% lower prices. This move will definitely affect the prices of DSL in Poland.

The public postal service in Poland is operated by Poczta Polska (The Polish Post). It was created on October 18, 1558, when king Zygmunt August established a permanent postal route from Kraków to Venice (later also to Wilno) in order to manage affairs in Italy that arose after the death of Queen Bona, his mother. Since then the service was dissolved on a number of occasions, most notably during the partitions of Poland. After regaining independence in 1918, the united territory of Poland was in need of a uniform network of communication. Thus, the interwar period saw the rapid development of the postal system as new services were introduced (e.g. money transfers, payment of pensions, delivery of magazines, air mail). Although during national uprisings and in the course of wars communication was provided mainly through field post, which was subject to military authority, postmen always took active part in the fight for independence by secretly delivering parcels and documents, or by providing vital information about the enemy. Many important events in the history of Poland involved the postal service, like the heroic Defence of the Polish Post Office in Gdańsk in 1939 and the participation of the Polish Scouts" Postal Service in the Warsaw Uprising. During the difficult times of the Second World War, the Polish Post in exile would lift up the spirits of compatriots by issuing postage stamps. Nowadays the service is a modern, functioning stateowned company which provides a number of standard and express delivery options, as well as operating the Polish postal homedelivery service. The postal service is currently expanding into the provision of logistical services.
Poland, with 38,116,000 inhabitants, has the eighthlargest population in Europe and the sixthlargest in the European Union. It has a population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometer (328 per square mile).

Long Market in Gdańsk filled with picturesque Dutch style tenements is a favourite meeting place in the Kashubian capital.

Poland historically contained many languages, cultures and religions on its soil. The country had a particularly large Jewish population prior to World War II, when the Nazi Holocaust caused Poland"s Jewish population, estimated at 3 million before the war, to drop to just 300,000. The outcome of the war, particularly the westward shift of Poland"s borders to the area between the Curzon Line and the OderNeisse line, coupled with postwar expulsion of minorities, significantly reduced the country"s ethnic diversity. Over 7 million Germans fled or were expelled from the Polish side of the OderNeisse boundary.", Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees, European University Institute, Florense. HEC No. 2004/1. p.29

According to the 2002 census, 36,983,700 people, or 96.74% of the population, consider themselves Polish, while 471,500 (1.23%) declared another nationality, and 774,900 (2.03%) did not declare any nationality. The largest minority nationalities and ethnic groups in Poland are Silesians (about 200,000), Germans (152,897 according to the census, 92% in Opole Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship), Belarusians (c. 49,000), Ukrainians (c. 30,000), Lithuanians, Russians, Roma, Jews, Lemkos, Slovaks, Czechs, and Lipka Tatars. Jakub Mirza Lipka Among foreign citizens, the Vietnamese are the largest ethnic group, followed by Greeks and Armenians.

Main Market Square in Kraków is the heart of Poland"s southern cultural capital

The Polish language, part of the West Slavic branch of the Slavic languages, functions as the official language of Poland. Until recent decades Russian was commonly learned as a second language but has been replaced by English and German as the most common second languages studied and spoken. The situation of modern language learning and teacing in Europe: Poland

In recent years, Poland"s population has d because of an in emigration and a sharp drop in the birth rate. Since Poland"s accession to the European Union, a significant number of Poles have emigrated to Western European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland in search of work. Some organizations have stated that Polish emigration is primarily caused by Poland"s high unemployment rate (10.5% in 2007), with Poles searching for better work opportunities abroad. In April 2007, the Polish population of the United Kingdom had risen to approximately 300,000, and estimates place the Polish population in Ireland at 65,000. Some sources claim that the number of Polish citizens who emigrated to the UK after 2004 is as high as 2 million.
This, however, is contrasted by a recent trend that shows that more Poles are entering the country than leaving it.

Polish minorities are still present in the neighboring countries of Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, as well as in other countries (see Poles for population numbers). Altogether, the number of ethnic Poles living abroad is estimated to be around 20 million. The largest number of Poles outside of Poland can be found in the United States.

Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń
Until World War II, Poland was a religiously diverse society, in which substantial Jewish, Protestant and Christian Orthodox minorities coexisted with a Roman Catholic majority. As a result of the Holocaust and the postWorld War II flight and expulsion of German and Ukrainian populations, Poland has become overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. In 2007, 88.4% of the population belonged to the Catholic Church. |date= |accessdate=20090926}} Though rates of religious observance, at 52% to 60%, – World Values Survey (WVS) Poland remains one of the most devoutly religious countries in Europe. Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej ("Centre for Public Opinion Research (Poland)" CBOS). Komunikat z badań; Warszawa, Marzec 2005. Preface. Retrieved 20071214.

Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Białystok

Religious minorities include Polish Orthodox (about 506,800), various Protestants (about 150,000), Jehovah"s Witnesses (126,827), Eastern Catholics, Mariavites, Polish Catholics, Jews, and Muslims (including the Tatars of Białystok). Members of Protestant churches include about 77,500 in the largest EvangelicalAugsburg Church, and a similar number in smaller Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.

From 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005 Karol Józef Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II), a natural born Pole, reigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City. His was the secondlongest documented pontificate; only Pope Pius IX served longer. He has been the only Slavic and Polish Pope to date, and was the first nonItalian Pope since Dutch Pope Adrian VI in 1522. Additionally he is credited with having played a significant role in hastening the downfall of communism in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe; he is famously quoted as having, at the height of communism in 1979, told Poles "not be afraid", later praying: "Let your Spirit descend and change the image of the land... this land".Domínguez, Juan: 2005 He is a deeply revered figure within Polish society, and his passing in 2005 was met with largescale outpourings of national grief.

Freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the 1989 statute of the Polish constitution, Dr Zbigniew Pasek, Jagiellonian University, Further reading: Ustawa o gwarancjach wolności sumienia i wyznania z dnia 17 V 1989 z najnowszymi nowelizacjami z 1997 roku. enabling the emergence of additional denominations. Michał Tymiński, However, because of pressure from the Polish Episcopate, the exposition of doctrine has entered the public education system as well. Dr. Paweł Borecki, Wirtualna Polska, Wiadomości. According to a 2007 survey, 72% of respondents were not opposed to religious instruction in public schools; alternative courses in ethics are available only in one percent of the entire public educational system. Olga Szpunar,

Famous sites of Christian pilgrimage in Poland include the Monastery of Jasna Góra in the southern Polish city of Częstochowa, as well as the Family home of John Paul II in Wadowice just outside of Kraków.
Poland"s population pyramid for 2010
Poland"s healthcare system is based on an allinclusive insurance system. State subsidised healthcare is available to all Polish citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program. However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a staterun hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide.

All medical service providers and hospitals in Poland are subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day to day administration of the healthcare system. In addition to these roles, the ministry is also tasked with the maintenance of standards of hygiene and patientcare.

Gdańsk University Medical Centre in Wrzeszcz
Hospitals in Poland are organised according to the regional administrative structure, resultantly most towns have their own hospital "(Szpital Miejski)". Larger and more specialised medical complexes tend only to be found in major cities, with some even more specialised units located only in the capital, Warsaw. However, all voivodeships have their own general hospital (most have more than one), all of which are obliged to have a trauma centre; these types of hospital, which are able to deal with almost all medical problems are called "regional hospitals" "(Szpital Wojewódzki)". The last category of hospital in Poland is that of specialised medical centres, an example of which would be the SkłodowskaCurie Institute of Oncology, Poland"s leading, and most highly specialised centre for the research and treatment of cancer.

The Polish healcare industry is currently undergoing a major transformation, with many hospitals being listed as top priorities for refurbishment. As a result of this process, many hospitals have already been thoroughly modernised throughout and are now equipped with the latest in medical hardware. The overall quality of healthcare provision nationwide, as judged by European standards, is generally regarded as being very high. This is reflected in the nation"s average life expectancy, which at 71 for males and 80 for females, has shown a marked from 63/68 in 2003, and now corresponds with the average figures for life expectancy in the European Union.
The "Collegium Maius" is the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków

The education of Polish society was a goal of rulers as early as the 12th century, and Poland soon became one of the most educated countries in Europe. The library catalogue of the Cathedral Chapter of Kraków dating back to 1110 shows that in the early 12th century Polish intellectuals had access to European literature. The Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364 by King Casimir III in Kraków, is one of Europe"s oldest universities. In 1773 King Stanisław August Poniatowski established the Commission of National Education ("Komisja Edukacji Narodowej"), the world"s first state ministry of education.

The first university in Poland, Kraków"s Jagiellonian University, was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kraków. It is the oldest university in Poland. It is the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world. The idea to found the university was first conceived when Poland"s King Casimir III realized that the nation needed a class of educated people, especially lawyers, who could codify the country"s laws and administer the courts and offices. His efforts to found an institution of higher learning in Poland were finally rewarded when Pope Urban V granted him permission to open the University of Krakow.
The wearing of traditional academic dress is an important feature of Polish educational ceremonies
Since changes made in 2009 education in Poland starts at the age of five or six for the 0 class (Kindergarten) and six or seven years in the 1st class of primary school (Polish "szkoła podstawowa"). It is compulsory that children do one year of formal education before entering 1st class at no later than 7 years of age. At the end of 6th class when the students are 13, they take a compulsory exam that will determine to which lower secondary school ("gimnazjum, pronounced gheemnahsium") (Middle School/Junior High) they will be accepted. They will attend this school for three years for classes, 7, 8, and 9. They then take another compulsory exam to determine the upper secondary level school they will attend. There are several alternatives, the most common being the three years in a "liceum" or four years in a technikum. Both end with a maturity examination (matura, quite similar to French baccalauréat), and may be followed by several forms of upper education, leading to licencjat or inżynier (the Polish Bologna Process first cycle qualification) , magister (the Polish Bologna Process second cycle qualification) and eventually doktor (the Polish Bologna Process third cycle qualification).
The Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
There are currently 18 fully accredited traditional universities in Poland, these are then further supplemented by 20 technical universities, nine independent medical universities and five universities for the study of economics. In addition to these institutions there are then nine agricultural academies, three pedagogical universities, a theological academy and three maritime service universities. Poland"s long and history of promoting the arts has led to the establishment of a number of higher educational institutes dedicated to the teaching of the arts. Amongst these are the seven higher state academies of music. All of these institutions are further supplemented by a large number of private educational institutions and the four national military academies (two for the army and one for each of the other branches of service), bringing the total number of organisations for the pursuit of higher education to well over 500, one of the largest numbers in Europe. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Poland"s educational system as the 23rd best in the world, being neither significantly higher nor lower than the OECD average.

The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate 1000 year historyAdam Zamoyski, . Published 1993, Hippocrene Books, Poland, ISBN 9780781802000 Its unique character developed as a result of its geography at the confluence of Western and Eastern Europe. With origins in the culture of the ProtoSlavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland.Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, 2002–2007, Access date 12132007. The people of Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances.
Famous people ===Nicolaus Copernicus, astron
Poland is the birthplace of some world famous individuals, including Pope John Paul II, Marie Skłodowska Curie, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Kazimierz Pułaski, Józef Piłsudski, Nicolaus Copernicus and Frederick Chopin. p. 141

The character of Polish art has reflected world trends. Painter Jan Matejko included many significant historical events in his paintings. Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz was an example of a Polish "Renaissance Man", along with the playwright, painter and poet Stanisław Wyspiański.

Polish literature dates back to the 12th century and includes many famous poets and writers such as Jan Kochanowski, Adam Mickiewicz, Bolesław Prus, Juliusz Słowacki, Witold Gombrowicz, Stanisław Lem and, Ryszard Kapuściński. Writers Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska have each won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Also a renowned Polish novelist, who wrote in the English language, was Joseph Conrad.

Many world famous Polish movie directors include Academy Awards winners Roman Polański, Andrzej Wajda, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Janusz Kamiński, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland. World renowned actresses were Helena Modjeska and Pola Negri.
Society ===The Grand Hotel, So
Poland has along standing tradition of tolerance towards minorities, as well as absence of discrimination on the grounds of religion, nationality or race. It has a high level of gender equality, promotes disability rights, and is, in general, legally and socially tolerant towards homosexuals. In fact, Poland is one of very few countries where historically homosexuality has never been banned, except when Poland lost sovereignty to foreign powers and for a few years after regaining independence. However, much of society still has a very conservative opinion of homosexuality, and with an overwhelmingly RomanCatholic religious makeup, Poland has not yet found the political will to afford homosexual couples the same marital rights as heterosexuals.

Polish born pope John Paul II is regarded as having been an important promoter of Poland"s image abroad
Poland has, throughout most of its long history, experienced only very limited immigration from abroad; this trend can largely be attributed to Poland"s lack of slavery and overseas colonies as well as its lack of existence as a state during much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite this, the country has for a long time been regarded as having a very tolerant society, which affords equal rights to all people no matter what their ethnic background. This can be said to stem largely from Casimir the Great"s acceptance of Poland"s Jewish minority in a time when much of Europe was largely antiSemitic. During the period of communist rule, immigration from fellow communist countries was supported by the government; this was particularly true of immigrants from Vietnam, and now around 30,000 50,000 people of Vietnamese origin live in the country.

Around 96.7% of the people of Poland claim Polish nationality, and 97.8% declare that they speak Polish at home (Census 2002). The population of Poland became one of the most ethnically homogeneous in the world as a result of the radically altered borders after World War II and the subsequent migrations. This homogeneity is a result of postWorld War II deportations ordered by the Soviet authorities, who wished to remove the sizeable Polish minorities from Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine and deportations of Ukrainians from Poland (see territorial changes of Poland and historical demography of Poland for details). Unlike in many other countries, the rights of ethnic minorities in Poland are guaranteed directly in the Constitution (art. 35), and today there are, amongst others, sizeable German, Ukrainian and Belarusian minorities present in the country.

Since the fall of communism in 1989, Poland has established a positive global image for itself; this has received further support from the country"s recent economic success and ascension to the European Union. Poles have established a particularly good reputation as workers for themselves in Europe; this stems largely from the opportunity to work abroad after joining the European Union in 2004, and has led to the rise in the use of the term "Polish Plumber" to characterise the hard work and quality of Polish labourers both within and outside of Poland"s borders. The results of an OSCE survey from 2004 showed that Poles work the second most number of hours per week of any nationality worldwide.
Fryderyk Chopin, composer
Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Chopin or Penderecki and traditional, regionalized folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognizes its own music genres, such as poezja śpiewana and disco polo. As of 2006, Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.

The origins of Polish music can be traced as far back as the 13th century; manuscripts have been found in Stary Sącz, containing polyphonic compositions related to the Parisian Notre Dame School. Other early compositions, such as the melody of "Bogurodzica" and "Bóg się rodzi" (a coronation polonaise for Polish kings by an unknown composer), may also date back to this period, however, the first known notable composer, Mikołaj z Radomia, was born and lived in the 15th century. During the 16th century, two main musical groups – both based in Kraków and belonging to the King and Archbishop of the Wawel – led to the rapid development of Polish music. Composers writing during this period include Wacław z Szamotuł, Mikołaj Zieleński, and Mikołaj Gomółka. Diomedes Cato, a nativeborn Italian who lived in Kraków from about the age of five, became one of the most famous lutenists at the court of Sigismund III, and not only imported some of the musical styles from southern Europe, but blended them with native folk music.

Tomasz Stańko is a popular contemporary Polish jazz musician
At the end of the 18th century, Polish classical music evolved into national forms like the polonaise. In the 19th century the most popular composers were: Józef Elsner and his pupils Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Dobrzyński. Important opera composers of the era were Karol Kurpiński and Stanisław Moniuszko whilst the list of famous soloists and composers included Henryk Wieniawski, Juliusz Zarębski. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the most promiment composers could said to have been Władysław Zeleński and Mieczysław Karłowicz, with Karol Szymanowski gaining prominence prior to World War II.

Traditional Polish folk music has had a major effect on the works of many wellknown Polish composers, and no more so than on Fryderyk Chopin, a widely recognised national hero of the arts. All of Chopin"s works involve the piano and are technically demanding, emphasising nuance and expressive depth. As a great composer, Chopin invented the musical form known as the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu and prélude, he was also the composer of a number of polonaises which borrowed heavily from traditional Polish folk music. It is largely thanks to him that the such pieces gained great popularity throughout Europe during the 19th century. Nowadays the most distinctive folk music can be heard in the towns and villages of the mountainous south, particularly in the region surrounding the winter resort town of Zakopane.

Today Poland has a very active musical scene, with the jazz and metal genres being particularly popular amongst the contemporary populace. Polish jazz musicians such as Krzysztof Komeda, created a very unique style, which was most famous in 60s and 70s and continues to be popular to this day. Since the fall of communism Poland has become a major venue for largescale music festivals, chief among which are the Warsaw Open"er Festival, Opole Festival and Sopot Festival.

Media ===Headquarters of national daily Gazeta Wyborcza in Wa
Poland has instituted freedom of press since the fall of communism, a system under which the media was heavily politically controlled and censored. However, public TV and radio are still regulated by the government, this is exercised through an agency called "Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji" ("The National Radio and Television Committee"), which is similar to television regulatory commissions in other developed nations.

Poland has a number of major media outlets, chief amongst which are the national television channels. TVP is Poland"s public broadcasting corporation; about a third of its income comes from a broadcast receiver licence, while the rest is made through revenue from commercials and sponsorships. State television operates two mainstream channels, TVP 1 and TVP 2, as well as regional programs for each of the country"s 16 voivodeships. In addition to these general channels, TVP runs a number of genrespecific programmes such as TVP Sport and TVP Historia; there are currently plans to run channels dedicated to the coverage of political affairs (TVP Parlament) and entertainment (TVP Rozrywka).

Studio set of TVP Wrocław"s "Fakty" news program
Poland has a number of internationally broadcast and 24 hour news channels, chief amongst which are TVN 24, and TV Polonia, the latter is a staterun channel dedicated to the transmission of Polish language television for the Polish diaspora abroad. There are a number of major private television outlets such as Polsat and the TVN network.

Poland has a highly developed printed news industry, with daily newspapers like Gazeta Wyborcza "(The Electoral Gazette)" and Rzeczpospolita "(The Republic)" providing more traditional, intellectually stimulating reporting and tabloids such as Fakt providing more sensationalist writing which is less current affairs orientated. Rzeczpospolita is one of the nation"s oldest publications still in operation today, founded in 1920, it has become a stalwart bastion of Polish reporting and in 2006 won a prestigious award for being, along with the Guardian (a British daily), the best designed newspaper in the world.,,1714643,00.html In early 2005, Rzeczpospolita found itself at the very centre of a heated public debate, after one of its employees, the former dissident and journalist Bronisław Wildstein, abstracted a list with the names of 240,000 informers and victims of the communist secret police from the Institute of National Remembrance and distributed it among colleagues. In the wake of the incident, Wildstein was dismissed from the paper"s staff. This event represents one of the most controversial episodes in the history of the modern Polish media; which is largely due to the ongoing dispute over whether the names of communist era agents and collaborators should be disclosed or not.

Major media outlets are experiencing an ongoing restructuring which is seeing many of them amalgamated into major media groups; a prime example of which is the German Axel Springer AG Publishing conglomerate"s purchase of Fakt. International cooperation is also a growing trend within Polish media; TVP recently began cooperating with the FrenchGerman TV network ARTE, however this cooperation was suspended in February 2009 as TVP"s new Intendant"s, Piotr Farfał, views were incompatible with Arte’s "philosophy based on intercultural exchange".

Polish literature has a long and complicated history. During the Middle Ages most Polish authors and academics wrote only in Latin, as at the time, this was the "academic" language which linked Europe together; Jan Długosz broke this trend and became the first author to write the majority of his works in the Polish language. A number of Polish authors have won great renown in the past few centuries, however, this largely stems from the initial success of the works of Adam Mickiewicz, who wrote the first Polish epic, Pan Tadeusz, in 1834.
Influential authors of the late 19th and 20th centuries include Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Witold Gombrowicz and Czesław Miłosz. To date four Polish authors have won the nobel prize for literature, with Władysław Reymont being one of only nine writers to receive the prestigious award for one particular, outstanding literary work "(awarded for the great national epic, "The Peasants" in 1924)" rather than their career as a whole.

With regard to poetry, Poland has a long and distinguished history of producing worldclass poets. Chief among these are the "three bards" (trzej wieszcze), Mickiewicz, Krasiński and Słowacki; the three national poets of Polish Romantic literature. Incidentally, the Polish word "Wieszcz" means "prophet" or "soothsayer", a fitting reference for the three, as the bards were thought to not only voice Polish national sentiments but to frequently foresee the nation"s future.

Today the great traditions of Polish literature and poetry are being carried forward by a new generation of writers. Included within this group of modernera writers is Wisława Szymborska, a bestselling author and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.

St Mary"s Basilica on the Main Market Square in Kraków
Polish cities and towns reflect the whole spectrum of European styles. Romanesque architecture is represented by St. Andrew"s Church in Kraków, and characteristic for Poland Brick Gothic by St. Mary"s Church in Gdańsk. Richly decorated attics and arcade loggias are the common elements of the Polish Renaissance architecture, Many designs imitated the arcaded courtyard and arched loggias of the Wawel palace. like in City Hall in Poznań. For some time the late renaissance, so called mannerism, most notably in Bishop’s Palace in Kielce, coexisted with the early baroque like in Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Kraków.

Renaissance City Hall in Poznań
History has not been good to Poland"s architectural monuments. However, a number of ancient structures have survived: castles, churches, and stately buildings, often unique in the regional or European context. Some of them have been painstakingly restored, like Wawel Castle, or completely reconstructed after being destroyed in the Second World War, including the Old Town and Royal Castle in Warsaw, as well as the Old Towns of Gdańsk and Wrocław. The architecture of Gdańsk is mostly of the Hanseatic variety, a Gothic style common amongst the former trading cities along the Baltic sea and in the northern part of Central Eastern Europe. The architectural style of Wrocław is mainly representative of German architecture, since it was for centuries located within the German states. The centre of Kazimierz Dolny on the Vistula is a good example of a wellpreserved medieval town. Poland"s ancient capital, Kraków, ranks among the bestpreserved Gothic and Renaissance urban complexes in Europe. Meanwhile, the legacy of the Kresy Marchlands of Poland"s eastern regions, where Wilno and Lwów (now "Vilnius" and "Lviv") were recognised as two major centres for the arts, played a special role in the development of Polish architecture, with RomanCatholic church architecture deserving special note. In Vilnius (Lithuania) there are about 40 baroque and Renaissance churches. In Lviv (Ukraine) there are also a number of Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque religious buildings which have borrowed from and been influenced by orthodox and Armenian church architecture.

The second half of the 17th century is marked by baroque architecture. Side towers, visible in Branicki Palace in Białystok are typical for Polish baroque. The classical Silesian baroque is represented by the University in Wrocław. Profuse decorations of Branicki Palace in Warsaw are characteristic of rococo style. The center of Polish classicism was Warsaw under the rule of the last Polish king Stanisław August Poniatowski. The Palace on the Water is the most notable example of Polish neoclassical architecture. Lublin Castle represents the Gothic Revival style in architecture, while the Izrael Poznański Palace in Łódź is an example of eclecticism.
The Tall Ships" Races 2007, Szczecin

Many sports are popular in Poland. Football (soccer) is the country"s most popular sport, with a rich history of international competition. Track and field, basketball, boxing, ski jumping, fencing, handball, ice hockey, swimming, volleyball, and weightlifting are other popular sports. The golden era of football in Poland occurred throughout the 1970s and went on until the early 1980s when the Polish national football team achieved their best results in any FIFA World Cup competitions finishing 3rd place in the 1974 and 1982 editions. The team won a gold medal in football at the 1972 Summer Olympics and also won two silver medals in 1976 and 1992. Poland, along with Ukraine, will host the UEFA European Football Championship in 2012.

The Polish men"s national volleyball team is ranked 5th in the world and the women"s volleyball team is ranked 10th. Mariusz Pudzianowski is a highly successful strongman competitor and has won more World"s Strongest Man titles than any other competitor in the world, winning the event in 2008 for the fifth time. The first Polish Formula One driver, Robert Kubica, has brought awareness of Formula One Racing to Poland. Poland has made a distinctive mark in motorcycle speedway racing thanks to Tomasz Gollob, a highly successful Polish rider. The national speedway team of Poland is one of the major teams in international speedway and is very successful in various competitions.

The Polish mountains are an ideal venue for hiking, skiing and mountain biking and attract millions of tourists every year from all over the world. Baltic beaches and resorts are popular locations for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and a broadrange of other waterthemed sports.
Kotlet schabowy served with salads
Polish cuisine has influenced the cuisines of its surrounding countries. For centuries the Polish kitchen has been the arena for competing with France and Italy. It is rich in meat, especially chicken and pork, and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices, as well as different kinds of pasta the most notable of which are the pierogi. It is related to other Slavic cuisines in usage of kasza and other cereals. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty. The preparation of traditional cuisine generally is time intensive and Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to prepare and enjoy their festive meals, with some meals (like Christmas Eve or Easter breakfast) taking a number of days to prepare in their entirety.

It is worth noting that most regions of Poland have their own local gastronomic traditions and distinctive flavours.

Notable foods in Polish cuisine include kiełbasa, barszcz, żurek, pierogi, flaczki (tripe soup), gołąbki, oscypek, kotlet schabowy, bigos, various potato dishes, a fast food sandwich (zapiekanka) and many more. Traditional Polish desserts include pączki, faworki, gingerbread, babka and others.

International rankings ===The following are links to international rankings of Pol

See also

* List of Poles
* Polish British
* Polish American
Geographic locale
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/ Baltic Sea
| North = Baltic Sea / (Kaliningrad)
| Northeast =
| West =
| Centre = Poland
| East =
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"Bydgoszcz" (, ) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of 358,029 (June 2009), agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. It has been the co-capital with Toruń
"Bydgoszcz" (, ) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of 358,029 (June 2009), agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. It has been the co-capital with Toruń
"Bydgoszcz" (, ) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of 358,029 (June 2009), agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. It has been the co-capital with Toruń
"Bydgoszcz" (, ) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of 358,029 (June 2009), agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. It has been the co-capital with Toruń
"Bydgoszcz" (, ) is a city located in northern Poland, on the Brda and Vistula rivers, with a population of 358,029 (June 2009), agglomeration more than 460 000, which makes it the 8th biggest city in Poland. It has been the co-capital with Toruń
"Lublin" (, ) is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 (June 2009). Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river. Lublin is a candidate for the title of European
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