Poland Travel And Tours
Poland is a part of the global tourism market with constantly increasing number of visitors. Tourism in Poland contributes to the country’s overall economy. The most popular cities are Kraków, Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań, Szczecin, Lublin, Toruń, Zakopane, the Salt Mine in Wieliczka and the historic site of Auschwitz – A German nazi concentration camp in Oświęcim. The best recreational destinations include Poland’s Masurian Lake District, Baltic Sea coast, Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range of Carpathians), Sudetes and Białowieża Forest. Poland’s main tourist offers consist of sightseeing within cities and out-of-town historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, mountain hiking (trekking) and climbing among others.


One of the first recognized permanent settlements within contemporary Polish borders is the Iron Age fort of Biskupin, dating to 700 BC. Centuries later, Roman writers recalled the existence of the towns Kalisz and Elbląg along the Amber Road, a trade route linking the Baltic and Mediterranean seas originating back to prehistoric times. At the time, the Polish lands were inhabited by an assortment of Celtic, Samartian, Germanic, Baltic, and scattered Slavic tribes.

Following increased Slavic migration from the east and the consolidation of these tribes into larger political units during the Dark Ages, Poland became a unified kingdom under the reign of Mieszko I, who officially adopted Catholicism in 966. Major settlements in the infant kingdom at the time were PoznańGnieznoGiecz, and Ostrów Lednicki, with Gniezno the center of royal politics in its first decades. In 1038, the royal capital was moved to Kraków, where it remained for half a millennium. After the death of King Bolesław III Wrymouth in 1138, the Polish kingdom fragmented into smaller, bickering units, with Bolesław’s sons (and their descendants) competing for the Kraków throne for nearly 200 years. The kingdom’s fragmentation and loss of central authority could not have come at a worse time, with the Mongol Empire invading and wreaking havoc on the realm repeatedly in 1240-1241, 1259-1260, and lastly between 1287-1288.

Following Poland’s reunification in the 14th century, the kingdom experienced a golden age lasting into the 17th century, under the competent reigns of King Casimir III the Great and the monarchs of the Jagiellonian dynasty, whose rule extended from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic seas. After politically uniting with Lithuania in 1569, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth stood as the largest country in Europe, and became an immigration magnet for Germans, Jews, Armenians, and Dutch. The Commonwealth’s freedom of confession, guaranteed by the state, and its general atmosphere of tolerance made the country rather exceptional for early modern Europe. At the same time, the Commonwealth became one of the centers of the European Renaissance, as Italian architects, craftsman, and thinkers came to Poland-Lithuania to share their knowledge. Their legacy remains largely evident, especially in the architecture of Kraków and Zamość.

Under the rule of the Vasa dynasty, the capital moved to more centrally-located Warsaw in 1596. The Commonwealth’s golden era came to an abrupt end in the 17th century. A disastrous war with Russia between 1654-1667 coincided with an even more destructive five-year invasion and occupation by Sweden, known today as the Deluge (pоtор), an event that arguably rivals World War II in its widespread destruction. Economically devastated by these events, the Commonwealth’s power dramatically declined in the 18th century. Weak in foreign affairs and internally divided by its nobility (szlachta), Russia, Prussia, and Austria seized on Poland-Lithuania’s weakness and coordinated three partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795. Responding to these partitions and a drastic need for political reform, Poland became the first country in Europe (and the second in the world after the United States) to pass a written constitution in 1791, a highly progressive and strong document for its time. Despite the constitution, the Commonwealth ceased to exist after 1795, with its lands annexed by the three competing imperial powers.

The following period of foreign domination was met with fierce resistance. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French-backed semi-autonomous Duchy of Warsaw arose, before being erased from the map in 1813. Further uprisings ensued, including the 29 November uprising of 1830-1831 (in Russian Poland), the 1848 Revolution (in Austrian and Prussian Poland), and the January Uprising between 1863-1864 (also in Russian Poland). Throughout the occupation, Poles retained their sense of national identity and defied the three occupying powers with armed struggle or passive resistance.

Warsaw in the 1900s.

Poland returned to the European map at the end of World War I, with a declaration of independence from the defeated German and Austro-Hungarian empires on 11 November 1918. From their ashes, the infant Second Polish Republic quickly became embroiled in violent border disputes with other new post-war states, including Czechoslovakia to the south, Lithuania to the northeast, and revolutionary Soviet Russia to the east. In particular, the Soviet-Polish War of 1919-1921 became the most serious of these conflicts, when the Soviets unsuccessfully pushed to reincorporate Poland back into Russia. International relations were further complicated by a hostile Weimar Germany to the west, which strongly resented a series of post-war Polish ethnic nationalist rebellions, Poland’s annexations of eastern Prussian territories, and the detachment of German-speaking Danzig (contemporary Gdańsk) as a free city overseen by the League of Nations. Diplomatic difficulties were further compounded by domestic political chaos throughout the 1920s, with the republic’s infant, fragile, and often rowdy parliamentary democracy was undermined by a military coup in May 1926. The May Coup brought about the semi-authoritarian junta of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, a highly-revered WWI and Polish-Soviet War commander.

All of these factors placed Poland in a precarious position of having potential enemies facing her from all sides by the end of the 1930s.

<Source: https://wikitravel.org/en/Poland>

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