Dear Language Friend,
In this issue of our newsletter, you will find out WHY Poland is a fascinating country, you will discover HOW not to call a Polish person, WHEN the Polish state was established, and WHAT we recommend you to see, taste and experience about Polish culture.
Contributed by Monika Gwara. Thanks for reading.
Poland (Polish: Polska) is one of the largest countries in the European Union with a territory comparable to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and an overall population bigger than Canada’s. The establishment of a Polish state goes back to 966 AD; and throughout more than a millennium of its existence, it has had a substantial influence on European history, politics and culture.
Poland as a Popular Travel Destination
Poland’s natural beauty, mild climate and interesting historic sites make it a great holiday destination. Poland is a country of diversity; a visitor can stay at a seaside or lakeside resort, in the mountains or in the woods, or still in one of the lively and fascinating Polish cities! The most beautiful Polish cities include Warsaw–Poland’s capital city with its historic Old Town and modern city centre, Cracow–a former royal seat attracting seven million visitors a year, Wroclaw and Gdansk.
Poland is a homogenous country, with almost 97% of the population considering themselves Polish. Approximately 90% of Poles are members of the Roman Catholic Church. The Polish word for a Polish man is ‘Polak’; however, when this noun is used in English (Polack), it is always offensive. A stereotypical Pole is stubborn and arrogant, but also hospitable and resourceful, whereas Polish women are said to be beautiful and well-groomed. Polish diaspora is one of the biggest in the world; 984,585 Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry.
Poland is the birthplace of some world famous individuals, including Pope John Paul II, Kazimierz Pulaski, and Fryderyk Chopin. But did you also know that Nicolaus Copernicus, the first astronomer to prove that the Sun is the centre of the universe, Marie Sklodowska Curie, a pioneer in the field of radioactivity who named the first chemical element she discovered “polonium” for her native country, and Joseph Conrad, one of the greatest novelists in the English language, were all Polish-born? The list of famous Poles also includes Lech Walesa, a leader of the Solidarity movement and the President of Poland from 1990 to 1995, Ryszard Kapuscinski, a journalist and author, Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski and a silent films actress Pola Negri.
Have you ever tried Polish dumplings (pierogi) with mashed potatoes and cheese, Polish sausage (kielbasa) or Polish red beet soup (barszcz)? If so, you must know how delicious Polish cuisine can be! Polish traditional dishes are made from simple and cheap ingredients which together make a savory and sometimes surprising combination. Check out Polish delis in Vancouver on Kingsway or Fraser Street and a Polish bakery on East Hastings for sausages, cheese, cabbage rolls (golabki) and cheesecake (sernik).
The Biggest and the Greatest
Just to give you a better idea of Poland, read on to find out some of the most interesting Polish trivia. And if you still crave for more details about Poland and Polish culture, join a Polish community near you or arrange a Polish language course with LingoStar, which will give you plenty of information about Polish culture! Or, if you are a Polish Canadian, let LingoStar assist you with your translation needs for immigration documents, personal letters, and genealogy research.
Geographically, the center of Europe is located in Poland.
In Europe, only Finland has a greater density of lakes.
Bialowieza Primeval Forest, shared between Poland and Belarus, is one of the largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest which once spread across Europe.
More than 1% of Poland’s territory is protected within 23 national parks, which puts Poland in the first rank in Europe.
Poland’s Bledow Desert is one of the only five natural deserts in Europe.
Every forth stork on Earth is from Poland.
Poland was the first country in Europe to adopt a written constitution.
Cracow’s town square is the biggest in Europe.
Bochnia salt mine located in southern Poland is the oldest in Europe.