Poland is home to one of Europe’s most vibrant cultures and history. Sandwiched between Ukraine, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Belarus, it truly is a crossroads of Eastern Europe and truly the core of the region. Whether you’re planning to visit for the incredible food and hospitality or are just curious, here are some incredible facts about Poland.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Poland
1. Poland is in the top ten largest European countries
Poland’s size might surprise you. Spanning some 300,000 square km across Eastern Europe, Poland hold’s the title for the 9th largest country in Europe. Well, 8th if you don’t include Russia. It comes in shortly after Norway, Finland and Germany beating out Italy, Romania and Belarus.
2. The name Poland has a special meaning
The name of Poland has a unique, and beautiful meaning tied to its landscape. It is derived from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means people living in open fields. While Poland has a wide variety of landscapes far beyond fields, the name speaks to the regional tribes’ rich history throughout the country.
3. Poland has a long and often tragic history
It’s no secret that history hasn’t been kind to Poland. Even beyond WW2, Poland has tirelessly fought for its status as a nation for centuries. In fact, the country has been invaded or has fought for freedom a whopping 40 times. Moreover, it disappeared from world maps between 1772 and 1795. And in WWII, the iconic city of Warsaw was completely obliterated. Yep, the Old Town you see today has been almost completely rebuilt.
4. The Polish landscape is extremely varied
The natural beauty in Poland is second to none. With nearly 800 km of seashore and breathtaking mountain chains like the Carpathians and Tatra, the natural landscape is as impressive as the culture is rich. There are even dunes in the Pomerania region, wetlands in Biebrzanski and almost 10,000 distinct lakes.
5. It’s home to Europe’s heaviest animal
In the Białowieża Primeval Forest, Europe’s last and most important ancient forest, you’ll find the European bison. Around 800 of them in fact. The Białowieża Primeval Forest is also the last original lowland forest in Europe and has managed to retain much of its primeval landscape.
6. Tons of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Poland is home to a whopping 16 World Heritage Sites. And among them is the ever beautiful 13th century Malbork Castle. Not only is it visually stunning, it’s also the largest castle in the world by land area. Other popular sites include the Białowieża Primeval Forest, Wieliczka Salt Mine and Historic Centre of Kraków.
7. You can eat in Europe’s oldest restaurant
In the long list of amazing facts about Poland, you’ll find that it’s home to the oldest restaurant in Europe. Open since 1275, Piwnica Świdnicka is the oldest in Europe and one of the oldest restaurants in the whole world. Even better? You can still dine there!