Portal:Poland


Welcome to the Poland Portal Witaj w Portalu o Polsce

Cityscape of Kraków, Poland's former capital
Coat of arms of Poland

Poland is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north. It is an ancient nation whose history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century when it united with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to form the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements in the late 18th century, Russia, Prussia and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. It regained independence as the Second Polish Republic in the aftermath of World War I only to lose it again when it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. The nation lost over six million citizens in the war, following which it emerged as the communist Polish People's Republic under strong Soviet influence within the Eastern Bloc. A westward border shift followed by forced population transfers after the war turned a once multiethnic country into a mostly homogeneous nation state. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union called Solidarity (Solidarność) that over time became a political force which by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A shock therapy program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country completed, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.

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Polish-made replica of the German Enigma
The Cipher Bureau (Biuro Szyfrów) was the interwar Polish General Staff's agency charged with both cryptography (the use of ciphers and codes) and cryptology (the study of ciphers and codes, particularly for the purpose of "breaking" them). It was formed in 1931 by the merger of pre-existing agencies. In December 1932, the Bureau began breaking Germany's Enigma ciphers. Over the next seven years, Polish cryptologists overcame the growing structural and operating complexities of the plugboard-equipped Enigma. The Bureau also broke Soviet cryptography. Five weeks before the outbreak of World War II, on 25 July 1939, in Warsaw, the Polish Cipher Bureau revealed its Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment (example pictured) to representatives of French and British military intelligence, which had been unable to make any headway against Enigma. This Polish intelligence and technology transfer would give the Allies an unprecedented advantage (see Ultra) in their ultimately victorious prosecution of the war. (Full article...)

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Interior of a spa resort in Lądek Zdrój
Interior of a spa resort in Lądek Zdrój (German: Bad Landeck), Lower Silesia. Erected in the 17th century, it was rebuilt in the late 19th century, in Neo-Baroque style. Its guests have included Frederick the Great, John Quincy Adams, Ivan Turgenev, and Władysław Gomułka.

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Bolesław Prus
Bolesław Prus, born Aleksander Głowacki (1847–1912), was a Polish journalist and novelist, best known for his novels The Doll and Pharaoh. He was the leading representative of realism in 19th-century Polish literature and remains a distinctive voice in world literature. An indelible mark was left on Prus by his experiences as a 15-year-old soldier in the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia, in which he suffered severe injuries and imprisonment. In 1872, in Warsaw, Prus settled into a distinguished 40-year journalistic career. As a sideline, to augment his income and to appeal to readers through their aesthetic sensibilities, he began writing short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a broader canvas; between 1886 and 1895, he completed four major novels on "great questions of our age." The Doll describes the romantic infatuation of a man of action who is frustrated by the backwardness of his society. Pharaoh, Prus's only historical novel, is a study of political power and statecraft, set in ancient Egypt at the fall of its 20th Dynasty. (Full article...)

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Słupsk town hall
Słupsk is a city on the Słupia River, 18 km away from the Baltic Sea coast. It dates back to a medieval Slavic settlement on a ford along a trade route connecting eastern and western parts of Pomerania. Incorporated in 1265, the town gradually fell under Brandenburgian rule, becoming a German town known as Stolp. In Polish hands since the end of World War II, Słupsk is developing thanks to local footwear industry and a bus factory owned by Scania. With the election of Robert Biedroń in 2014, it became the first town in Poland with an openly gay mayor. (Full article...)

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Holidays and observances in June 2021
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