Welcome to Poland
The Republic of Poland lies in the heart of Europe at a crossing of roads and cultures. Its boundaries are formed by the Baltic Sea to the north, Germany to the west, the Czech and Slovak Republics to the south, and Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia (the Kaliningrad Oblast) to the east.
Poland is the largest of the East European countries which joined the European Union in May 2004. It is comparable in size to Italy or Germany (and larger than New Mexico in the USA) and its population exceeds 38 million (i.e., more than California). Poland is a stable democracy with a truly fascinating history, great cultural heritage, and several areas of outstanding natural beauty. Over the recent years, it has ranked among the most influential and remarkable countries in the Central and Eastern Europe.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland
The capital of Poland is located in central Poland and spans both sides of the largest Polish river, the Vistula (Wisła in Polish). Warsaw has a unique coat of arms showing a young, topless woman with a fish tail below her waistline; a legend has it that a mermaid (syrenka in Polish) emerged from the blue Vistula in front of the Mazovian fisherman to foretell the founding of an imperishable city. Indeed, Warsaw is known as the "phoenix city", as it received extensive damage during World War II, and was rebuilt with the effort of Polish citizens. Today, a vibrant European metropolis, Warsaw abounds in attractions: historical sights, monuments, palaces, museums, art galleries, theatres, parks and romantic corners. Venture into the city to discover a fascinating blend of past and present. Take a stroll around the historical centre with its concentration of picturesque old architecture (in this area the Marie Curie Museum is located in the house where Maria Skłodowska-Curie was born in 1867), sample the splendour of the classical Łazienki (The Baths) and baroque Wilanów palaces surrounded by magnificent parks, or visit such delightful places around Warsaw as the Kampinos National Park, Frederic Chopin’s Żelazowa Wola, and/or the spa of Konstancin-Jeziorna.