Country - Poland
Poland Country Information
Poland is a high-income republic in Central Europe. Warsaw is the capital and the largest city. Poland has common borders with Lithuania in the northeast, Belarus in the east, Ukraine in the southeast, Slovakia and Czech Republic in the south and Germany in the west. The northern border is a coastline with Baltic Sea. Polish is the official language and Roman Catholicism is the main religion.
According the estimate of 2017, Poland had a total population of 38,433,600 and the average density of population was 123 people per square kilometer. Poland has recorded the per capita GDP (nominal) at US$ 16,200 as per the estimates in 2018. Poland is regarded as the one and only European nation that has eschewed the recession in the late 2000s (and the early 2010s) on account of its robust economy. Poland is favoured with consistently strong internal domestic market, low private debt and lower levels of unemployment. The successful performance on macro-economic level can be attributed to the highly efficient management in transition from the centrally planned economy to the market-based economy. The strong performance at domestic level makes the country less dependent on export revenue.
The main items of exports from Poland are furniture, foodstuff, motorboats, light planes, hardwood products, clothing, shoes and cosmetics. The top imports into Poland are computer machinery, electric equipment, vehicles, mineral fuels, plastics, iron and steel and pharmaceuticals. The total value of imports in 2017 was US$ 217.98 billion and that of exports was US$ 221.30 billion, as per the reports of Global Business Knowledge.
Tourism contributes a good share of 5-6 % to the GDP in Polish economy. Apart from fetching foreign revenue, the tourism industry is a bread winner for about 7.6 lakhs of people who form 4.7% of the total workforce.
Poland is mainly known for flat lands except at the places like Carpathian Mountains which lie all along the common borders with Germany stretching to Ukraine. The cable benches/sofas that glide smoothly over the snow covered mountains offer a panoramic view and a passing-show of the surroundings. Mountain-biking at Karkonosze range, skiing at Krakow and the Tatras and hiking at the unspoilt open meadows and thick forests at the region around Bieszczady between Ukraine and Slovakia are the activities that lure even the tourists who are wet behind ears in adventurist avocations.
The Gdansk seaport at the coast of Baltic Sea is famous for having been the chaotic hub of Poland’s anti-communist revolt in 1980s led by the dynamic leader Lech Walesa. Gdansk flourished well in the Middle Ages as a key trade link to the external world and the seaport continues to play a crucial role in export-import logistics. The European Solidarity Centre at Gdansk was inaugurated in 2014 and this consists of seven halls marked from A to G in alphabetical order. Visitors can go through the visual presentations of photos and video footages narrating different stages of triumphant rebellion by the dockyard workers, visit the former prison cells and the interrogation rooms and learn about the active revolutionary role played by Lech Walesa. However, the hall G is earmarked for theological theme advocated by the Pope John II of the Vatican City who was born in the city of Wadowice in Poland.
The ghastly massacre, by the German invaders, of about one million Jews and Polish resisters within a period of four years can be evidenced in the memorial and museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau which had been the site for the wicked German extermination camps set up during the World War II. The monument that stands as a testimony for the savage macabre is situated in the city of Oswiecim.
The Rynek Glowny, touted as the Europe’s largest medieval magnificent town square and Poland’s cultural centre, is in the ancient capital city of Krakow that withstood and survived safely the ravage of wartime. The mammoth building complex or the cloth hall houses a lengthy array of vendors’ stalls. St. Mary’s Church is a colossal structure of European architecture, topped by elongated tapering conical tops and crucifixes.
Poland is full of high-tech museums and home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The spectacular Malbork Castle built with red bricks in Gothic style standing by the river Nogat is one of the sites identified by the UNESCO. Notable among such other sites are Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal salt mines, Auschwitz Birkenau (the German Nazi concentration/extermination camp), Old City of Zamosc, Medieval Town of Torun, Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, Centennial Hall in Warsaw and Wooden Tserkvas churches.
A complete and comprehensive tour in Poland can be extremely exhaustive and elaborate. To get the sense of having visited Poland in its entirety, planning for a trip lasting more than a couple of weeks would be essential.
Poland is a self-contradictory mélange of egregious genocide of historical past, heart-stealing locations of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the state-of-the-art museums. Poland today remains as one of the best examples that showed resilience to the foreign aggression resulting in large scale aftermath and emerged successfully from the war-torn history in the not-too-distant past and race ahead as an economically developed and progressive country in the world.