Poland's history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in Central and Eastern Europe. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among themselves.
Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the communist era to a close. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
Temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
Polish 96.9%, Silesian 1.1%, German 0.2%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 1.7% (2011 est.)
Many households will ask you to remove your shoes upon entry.
Bigos — a stew of white cabbage, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), mushrooms, tomatoes, ham, and meats such as pork, beef, veal, bacon, or venison; Pierogi – small dumplings stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings including cheese, onions, ground meat, mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, or various berries
Diversified, high-growth European economy; COVID-19 led to first recession in nearly 3 decades, albeit small; EU and NATO member; bolstering US relations; economic concentration in western region; aging labor force; growing debt