Over 38 million people live in an area of 312, 000 square kilometres extending over the meeting place of east with west and north with south. At the centre of the continent lies one of its largest countries, between the Bug and Odra rivers and between the Baltic Sea and the peaks of the Carpatian and Sudety mountains.
With over 1,000 years of statehood behind it, modern Poland is a parliamentary-cabinet democracy, a member state of NATO and the European Union. In 1989 the country began a far-reaching economic transformation, and now about $10 billion in the form of direct investment comes into the country annually, inflation is among the lowest on the continent and the annual economic growth is 5%. Financial means obtained from the EU allow for a very rapid development of the infrastructure, especially communication.
The capital city Warsaw is one of the most dynamic big-city centres in the region. The standard of living there is gradually and steadily approaching that seen in other metropolises of the EU. The same is true for other main cities of Poland: Cracow, Lodz, Poznan, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and the Upper Silesia industrial region.
For tourists Poland is a very attractive country, which is due mainly to its diversity. The temperate climate causes many foreigners to look with delight at the lush Polish verdure. A number of legally protected areas, including 20 national parks, have been established in order to preserve the landscape and natural environment.
The Tatra Mountains of southern Poland are the only Alpine-like mountain range between the Alps and the Caucasus, with peaks reaching an altitude of 2,500 m above sea level. Other mountain ranges – from the Bieszczady in the south-east to the Sudety in the south-west – offer many hiking and cycling routes. In winter, modern skiing stations, many of which have artificial snow facilities, invite lovers of skiing.
In the central, lower part of the country, among others, at the Biebrza river and the Warta river there are a number of natural bird sanctuaries. The northern part of Poland is scattered with lakes grouped in lake district belts. The Mazurian Lake District situated in the north-east of the country is the best known of them, and is a real paradise for sailors, wind-surfers, divers, water-skiers and lovers of the quiet lakeside atmosphere.
The 500-km Baltic coast with its wonderful, sandy beaches attracts millions of tourists. Alonside the vibrant entertainment, cultural and sports events of major centres like Sopot, Kolobrzeg and Swinoujscie there are numerous quiet localities guaranteeing relaxation in complete peace. Throughout the country a great many fascinating relics of the past are to be found, including splendid castles, elegant palaces, churches, monuments of technology, and museums with rich collections. There is no room for only one thing – boredom.
Poland – beautiful country in Central Europe
Poland Stories Primary by BBC Scotland Malarek Tour worked for production of this program.