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OLD

TOWN

The UNESCO World Heritage Old Town is unmissable - quite literally, seeing as many of the city's attractions and a whole host of cafs, bars and restaurants are located within its environs. The Old Town is both a physical and symbolic expression of the city's spirit and determination to come back from the brink of annihilation at the end of World War II. Most visitors to Warsaw spend their first day strolling around the Old Town.

ROYAL

CASTLE

Walking through the Royal Castle, one has to constantly remind oneself that most of it was reconstructed between 1971 and 1984, although the darker elements of the decor were actually salvaged from the ruins. The castle, located on a plateau overlooking the Vistula River, was built for the Dukes of Mazovia and expanded when King Zygmunt III Vasa moved the capital to Warsaw. From the early 17th until the late 18th century, this was the seat of the Polish kings. It subsequently housed the parliament and is now a museum displaying tapestries, period furniture, coffin portraits and collections of porcelain and other decorative arts. Work is underway to recreate the castle gardens, set on the slopes of the Vistula River, which were also badly scarred when the Nazis levelled the rest of the castle complex.

WARSAW'S

CATHEDRAL

CHURCH

St John's Cathedral claims to be the oldest church in Warsaw. Although a major church in the Mazovian Gothic style, completed in the 15th century, St John's was only upgraded from a parish church to a cathedral in 1798. Destroyed during World War II, is has been reconstructed in its original style. The cathedral was used in 1764, for the coronation of the last Polish king (Stanislaw II) and for the swearing in of the Sejm (Polish Parliament) after the 3rd of May constitution of 1791. The covered footbridge connecting it to the Royal Palace was the result of a failed assassination attempt on King Zygmunt III.

LAZIENKI

ROYAL

PARK

AND

PALACE

In addition to a number of palaces, Lazienki Park contains the Chopin Monument - where the annual Chopin Festival is held each summer - and the Orangerie, set within extensive 18th-century gardens. Palac Lazienkowski (Palace on the Water) is best viewed from near the monument to Jan Sobieski, on the bridge where Agrykola street crosses the water. Originally built in 1624, for King Zygmunt III Vasa, Zamek Ujazdowski (Ujazdowski Castle) now houses the Centre of Contemporary Art. The 1764 Palac Belweder (Belvedere Palace) was the residence of King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski and later of Poland's 20th-century presidents. On warm summer days, rowing boats offer short cruises around the park's lake. Cycling is banned in the park.

WILANW

PALACE

In the mid-1600s, King Jan III Sobieski commissioned Augustyn Locci to build the Baroque palace and garden of Wilanow for his summer residence. Construction continued from 1677 until the king's death in 1696. It remained popular with subsequent monarchs. Visitors can tour the interior and the gallery, which features portraits of famous Poles. Artistic handicrafts are on display in the Orangerie. Also here is the Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie (Poster Museum at Wilanow), the first of its kind in the world. Entrance to the palace requires a guide, for a group of one to 35 people, although the park is open to unaccompanied visitors. Restoration work, the speed and scale of which is determined by current funding levels, is ongoing but affects few visits.

The below options are only examples which you can change according to your needs. Please e-mail me giv preferences, so I could tailor a programme exclusively for Prices are estimated for small private groups or individuals. For larger groups than specified (mini-bus o bus required) please contact for quotation. The best of Warsaw Time: 4-6 hours including driving time Participants: 1-4 persons Type: walking and car tour

Cost: 1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees Additional costs: Optional - Royal Castle entrance fee (5 Euro per person), Palace on the Water in Lazienki entrance fee (4 Euro per person), Palace of Science and Culture panorama terrace (5 Euro per person).

Warsaw has changed a lot since 1989 when the Communist regime ended. New opportunities for democratic Poland and its capital city resulted in rapid growth of life level - see a bit of history mixed with modern city of Warsaw. ROUTE: The Old Town, The Royal Route, Lazienki Park and Palace on the Water, today's Warsaw with Palace of Science and Culture and modern 21st century architecture (roof garden in Warsaw University Library, city centre skyscapers, modern Supreme Court building)

2010 - International Chopin Year - Warsaw: Frederic Chopin Home Town Time: 1-5 hours Participants: 1-4 persons Type: car and walking tour Cost: 1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service and tax, private car transportation up to 4 pax, parking fees

Additional costs: Optional - Frederic Chopin Museum (Ostrogski Castle) entrance fee (ca 6 Euro per person Chopin family apartment entrance fee (ca 1.5 Euro per person), on demand - Chopin music piano recital (c Euro per person, transportation from / to hotel included - must be booked in advance)

"it is absolutely inconceivable how two genius abilities beca united in Chopin's person: that of the greatest melodist and most original master of harmony. " Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin Chopin and his work makes us Poles proud. He was born in Wars and then grew up in Warsaw which he later missed while abroad. and its surroundings are the best place to search the roots of family as it all started here.... Visit places where Chopin lived, co and fell in love, listen to Chopin's music in its natural enviroment -

ROUTE: family apartment, places where he lived, walked, performe love... the cemetery where his family was burried, to finish with a church where his heart was pla monument and museum (museum visit must be booked in advance, individual visit only with audi

Optional: Chopin music recital (must be booked in advance); free of charge 30 minute open air recitals ava Sundays from May to September at 12.00 and 16.00 in Lazienki Royal

Old and New Towns walking tour Time: 1-4 hours Participants: 1-30 persons Type: walking tour Cost: 1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service and tax, Royal Castle museum guiding service

Additional costs: Optional - Royal Castle entrance fee (about 5 Euro per person), documentary film about t distruction of Warsaw during WW2 at Warsaw Historical Museum (1.5 Euro per person)

ROUTE: the a-must essential Warsaw, history of Warsaw as a capital of Poland. Walk around the most important architecture of the Old and New Towns - including Royal Castle square with Sigismund's Column, Royal Castle interior - the magnificent residence of the Polish Kings (Royal Apartments of 18th cent.), narrow street of Old Town, st. John's Cathedral, St. Martin church, Market square, the Barbican and city walls, monuments of Old Town and others. Optional - documentary film about the destruction of Warsaw at Warsaw Historical Museum (20 min) - available in English at noon (Tuesday Sunday)

Historical Warsaw mixed walking and car tour Time: 5-6 hours including driving time Participants: 1-4 persons Type: walking and car tour Cost: 1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees Additional costs: Optional - Royal Castle entrance fee (5 Euro per person), Palace on the Water in Lazienki entrance fee (4 Euro per person)

Thorough look on the history of Warsaw - short walk around Old Tow 19th centuries architecture of the city including magnificent Royal Ro historic way which connected The Royal Castle with Summer Resid the Polish

ROUTE: Old Town (churches, streets, monuments), Royal Route ( government buildings), historical centre of Warsaw (Theatre square square and garden), charming Three Crosses square, Ujazdowskie a many Embassies and Polish Government buildings plus beautifu Lazienki Park with F. Chopin monument and Palace on the Water residence of King Stanislaw August Pon

Illuminated Warsaw evening tour Time: 2.5 hours including driving time Participants: 1-4 persons Type: walking and car tour Cost: 120 Euro per tour

the tour may be extended on demand (see optional extras) - no extra charge for up to total 4 hour duratio additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees Additional costs: optional (additional time needed): - Dinner in Polish style restaurant (ca 20-25 Euro per person) + the cost of guide's dinner or

- Revue Show in Cabaret Theatre in Warsaw (available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday) - ca 35 Euro per + the cost of guide's ticket or

- evening Chopin's music piano recital (available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) - ca 35 Euro per per

In the bloom of flickering illumination the city seems to look charming and romantic. Visiting Warsaw on business trip? No time during the day? Why not add something extra and plan your evening for special Warsaw tour? ROUTE: See the most beautiful parts of town in the night sparkling beauty the Royal Route, the Old Town and the city centre from different perspective. Drive around the city and walk a bit to see its hidden evening atmosphere. Some extras could be arranged depending on your choice - Polish style dinner, Chopin's music piano recital or crazy show of Cabaret in the heart of Warsaw by night (additional time needed, not included in the tour price)

Warsaw Uprising mixed tour Time: 4-6 hours including driving time Participants: 1-4 persons Type: walking and car tour Cost:

1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees

Additional costs: Optional - Museum of Warsaw Uprising entrance fee (1.5 Euro per person), optional - guid Warsaw Uprising Museum (18 Euro per tour - must be booked in advance)

General 'Bor' Komorowski, commander of the Polish Unde Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), set the beginning of the up Warsaw against the German occupying forces at '

ROUTE: district of Wola civilians slaughter, Old and New Tow of fighting, Monument to Warsaw Uprising, memorial sites, transportation system, Vistula river bank battle, Military ce optional - Museum of Warsaw Uprising (individual visit, gui possible must be booked in a

Communist Warsaw mixed tour Time: 4-6 hours including driving time Participants: 1-4 persons Type: walking and car tour Cost: 1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees Additional costs: Optional - Palace of Science and Culture panorama terrace (5 Euro per person)

Warsaw was liberated in January 1945, and by 1948 a Communist regime firmly controlled Poland. Under the Communists, Warsaw was physically restored but the terror began. Rebuilding of Warsaw coincided with emergence of socialist realism. The city fate was determined by Moscow, a fact symbolized by the Palace of Culture (originally named in honour of Joseph Stalin) towering over the city centre since 1955. ROUTE: Palace of Science and Culture (including 30th-floor city panoramic view terrace), soc-realistic architecture, communist terror monuments

Tailored tours Cost within the city:

1-4 hours: 120 Euro per tour each additional hour - 30 Euro Price includes: guiding service, tax, car transportation for up to 4 pax, parking fees Cost outside of Warsaw: Cost depends on the route and driving distance - please contact for quotation Please contact giving your preferences / special interest for the special itinerary could be tailored for you Sample programmes: Jewish Praga district, WW2 Warsaw tour, shopping tour and others

OTHER SYMBOLS OF WARSAW


WARSAW MERMAID

Warsaw is situated over 300km (200 miles) from the closest sea coast. Therefore, it seems strange that the city should adopt a mermaid as its symbol. Nevertheless, city records as far back as 1609 document the use of a crude form of a sea monster with a female upper body and holding a sword in its claws. The emblem gradually evolved into the present day form. It ap on a shield on every municipal building, on buses, and taxis. Needless to say, during 50 years of comm rule, the crown was removed from the "Syrena" and from the national emblem - the White E

KING

SIGISMUND's

CO

You cannot get anywhere nea Royal Castle without noticing Sigismond's Column. Erecte 1644 to commemorate Sigismond III Vasa, this impre structure honours the ruler w the turn of 16th and 17th moved from Cracow to Wa Levelled to the ground durin Warsaw Uprising and rebuilt

the war (pieces of the original column, destroyed d WWII, are also on display here). The statue of the k original - it fell down however it was not destr

PALACE OF CULTURE AND SCIENCE

Dominating the city skyline, the fearsome Palace of Culture (PKiN) towers at just over 231 metres in height - making it the tallest and largest structure in Poland. Commissioned by Stalin as a 'gift from the Soviet people,' it was originally interpreted as a reminder from Moscow that Big Brother really was watching. To this day it still stirs mixed feelings from locals and architecture buffs, and the collapse of communism saw calls to demolish it. Designed by Soviet architec Rudnyev (also responsible for Lomonosov Univers Moscow), it is a fabulous example of socialis architecture and also incorporates several traditional s

Built using an estim 40 million bricks housing 3,288 ro the vast Palace allegedly be seen f distance of 3 Originally intende serve as the Comm party HQ, the purpose bu currently h museums, restaurants, theatres, conference halls, o etc. Most recently, the highest clock tower in the has been added to the structure and visitors s pencil in a visit to the viewing platform on the 30th

WARSAW

UPRISING

1944

By 1944 with the tide of war turning, and their resources and morale seemingly in disarray, German forces had begun a strategic retreat from Warsaw. The Home Army (Poland's wartime underground movement) launched a

military strike with the aim of liberating Warsaw installing an independent government.The battle la 63 days had cost the lives of over 20,000 troop some 150,000 civilians. With the uprising defeated, ordered all remaining civilians to be expelled, surviving buildings to be numbered in their ord importance to Polish culture and systema dynamited. The darkest chapter of Warsaw's histor been written. On the 60'th anniversary of this event August 2004) The Museum of Warsaw Uprising has opened.

DISTRICT

OF

Warsaw's eastern suburb, P has long been regarded as offto Western visitors. Often paint the bastion of the cr underclass, Praga is ac enjoying a snail-like renaiss and as such offers visito combination of strange sights sounds. Although in a sorry st disrepair, much of Praga survived the war. Nowada walk around the bullet-scarred tenement houses fou the riverside is to immerse yourself in pre-war Praga oldest surviving residential building in the district c found on Targowa street.

General Information
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The city is situated on the Vistula River, about 160 miles from the Baltic Sea, covers an area of about 200 square miles (metropolitan are ~2,355 sq mi), and has a population of 1,716,855 (metropolitan, 2,631,900). Called Warszawa by Poles, the city was named for Warsz, a 12th/13th century nobleman who owned a village on the site. History The site on which Warsaw now sits has been occupied since ancient times, but the city itself was founded ~1300 by Prince Boleshaw II of Masovia. It became the capital of Masovia in 1413.

When Warsaw became part of the Kingdom of Poland in 1596, King Sigismund III Vasa moved his capital from Krakow to Warsaw because it was more centrally located. Swedish forces invaded Poland in the mid-1600's and destroyed much of Warsaw in 1656, but the city remained the capital of Poland until 1795. That year, Austria, Prussia and Russia divided Poland among themselves, and Warsaw became the capital of the Prussian province of South Prussia. From 1807 to 1813, Warsaw was the capital of the Duchy of Warsaw, a state created by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. After Napoleon's defeat, Russia gained control of Warsaw. World War I brought an end to Russian rule, and Germany controlled the city from 1915 to 1918, when Poland again became independent. World War II brought the almost total destruction of Warsaw. In 1939, the Germans held the city in a three-week siege that caused great damage. Warsaw surrendered to the Germans, but it became the heart of the Polish underground. During the German occupation, about 500,000 Polish Jews were confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Thousands of Jews died of hunger and disease, and the Germans executed thousands more. In April 1943, the 60,000 or so remaining Jews revolted, but the Germans quickly suppressed the revolt and executed almost all of the survivors. By the summer of 1944, the Russian Army had advanced to the outskirts of Warsaw, and on August 1st the people of Warsaw rose up against the German Army. Unfortunately, the Soviet Army chose to wait outside the city while the residents fought against the Germans. Despite some initial gains, Warsaw was finally forced to surrender once again to the Germans on October 3. The Germans then evacuated almost the entire population and systematically destroyed virtually every building that still stood. The Soviet Army finally liberated the city on January 17, 1945, and Warsaw became the capital of the Polish People's Republic. The Warsaw Pact was signed in the city in 1955. Warsaw remained the capital of the Republic of Poland, which was established in 1989. Economy The federal government is the principal employer in Warsaw, but financial services, manufacturing, electronics, and high-tech industries are also important. The city has a modern street/highway system, as well as a public transportation system that connects most of the city. The city is also served by Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport, which handles both domestic and international flights. Government Warsaw is divided into eighteen administrative districts, each of which has its own elected Mayor and Council to handle district affairs. The City of Warsaw as a whole is governed by a City Council, which establishes laws, budgets, etc, and a Mayor, who handles day-to-day affairs. All city government leaders are elected by popular vote. Cultural Life

Warsaw is home to the Polish National Opera, the National Theatre, the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition, and other internationally recognized performing arts programs. The Warsaw Film Festival is held in the city every October. Despite being a major metropolitan area, a number of magnificent gardens and parks, thirteen nature reserves, and the Warsaw Zoo are all located within the city's boundaries. Museums in Warsaw include: National Museum, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Centre for Contemporary Art, MUSEUM of Modern Art, Museum of the Polish army, Royal Castle, Frederic Chopin Museum, Historical Museum of Warsaw, Polish History Museum, Museum of Independence, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Museum of Sports and Tourism, Museum of Communism, Museum of Caricature, Motorisation Museum, and Erotic Museum. The University of Warsaw (1816) is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Poland. Other major educational institutions include: Warsaw University of Technology (1826), Warsaw School of Economics (1906), Warsaw University of Life Sciences (1818), Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University (1999), Medical University of Warsaw (1950), Academy of Fine Arts (1844), Academy of National Defence (1947), University of Physical Education in Warsaw (1929), Frederic Chopin Music Academy (1810), and Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy (1946).

Warsaw's Old Town section was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
Notable persons born in Warsaw include: Marie Curie, discoverer of radium; author Isaac Bashevis Singer; Casimir Pulaski, hero of the American Revolution; artist Tamara de Lempicka; and, composers Frederic Chopin and Moshe Vilenski.

Did you Know?


1. In 2007, Warsaw was ranked as being the 67th worlds most expensive city to live in and was ranked as a minor world city. 2. Warsaw is also known as the "phoenix city", as it was completely destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt with the heroic effort of Polish citizens. 3. Greenspace covers a quarter of the surface area of Warsaw, including a broad range of greenstructures, from small neighborhood parks, green spaces along streets and in courtyards, trees and avenues to large historic parks, nature conservation areas and the urban forests at the fringe of the city. 4. There are as many as 82 parks in the city which cover 8 % of its area. The oldest ones, once parts of representative palaces, are Saxon Garden, the Krasinski Palace Garden, the Royal Baths Park, the Wilanw Palace Park and the Krlikarnia Palace Park.

5. Warsaw's climate is classed as being Continental Humid with the average temperature in January being 2 C (28 F) and 18 C (64 F) in July. Temperatures may often reach 30 C (86 F) in the summer months. Yearly rainfall averages 680 millimeters (26.8 in). July tends to be the wettest month of the year. 6. Warsaw is a county (powiat), which is divided into 18 boroughs with each borough having its own administrative body. Warsaw has two historic districts, Old Town ( Stare Miasto) and New Town (Nowe Miasto). 7. Warsaw is one of the tallest cities in Europe with 11 of the tallest skyscrapers in Poland being located in Warsaw. The tallest structure, Palace of Culture and Science is the 7th tallest building in the EU. 8. The official name of the city is The Capital City of Warsaw and it has also been known historically as Varsovia (Latin). A resident of Warsaw is known as being Varsovian. 9. Warsaw is the political centre of Poland and as you would expect, all state agencies including the Polish Parliament, the Presidential Office and Supreme Court are located in the city. 10. The symbol of Warsaw is the mermaid, which can be found on the coat of arms of Warsaw and on various statues throughout the city. 11. The two most famous Varsovians are Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Fryderyk Chopin. 12. Warsaw holds the distiction of opening the world's first public library in 1747.

What the tourism board doesn't tell you

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Ask any tourist about Poland and you might get a mumble of beautiful cities, vodka, communist rule, Pope John Paul II and Euro 2012. While touring the country I realised that this was a nation of resilient people who have survived decades of difficult times to emerge as one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and the world. I decided to speak to some locals to find out more about the country, culture and people. Here are 55 facts I picked up to help make your visit even more meaningful and interesting. 1) Nearly 35% of the 60 million Poles live abroad and large Polish speaking communities can be found in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. 2) The name "Poland" originates from the name of the tribe "Polanie" which means "people living in open fields". 3) It has been invaded or has fought for freedom in insurrections 43 times from 1600 to 1945. 4) The highest mountain in Australia was named in 1840 by Polish explorer

Paul Edmund Strzeleck as Mount Kosciuszko because of the mountain's resemblance to the Kosciuszko Mound in Krakow.

Lift level 4 was actually level 5 in Poland large image

5) The 1st floor is regarded as floor "0" so you press "1" when you want to go to the 2nd floor in the elevator. 6) Famous English novelist Joseph Conrad's real name was Teodor Jzef Konrad Nacz-Korzeniowski (3 December 1857 to 3 August 1924). 7) Poles are well educated. 90% of Poland's youths complete at least secondary education and 50% have an academic degree. 8) It adopted the first constitution of its type in Europe and the second ever in the world after that of the United States on 3 May 1791 and was in effect for only 14 months and 3 weeks. It was referred to as "the last will and testament of the expiring Country" and of Polish sovereignty before Poland entered into 123 years of partition. 9) It held its first free elections in more than 40 years in 1989.

10) Historians believe that 284 Poles who were seen as threats to the communist regime were murdered and buried by Stalin's secret police between 1945 and 1956. An exhumation at the military cemetery in Warsaw by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance is a part of a nationwide project to find the final burial places of the victims of Communist terror and to identify the bodies.

Polish beers brands like Tyskie and Lech large image

11) Poles drink some 92 litres of beer a year and according to the oldest document recalling beer in Poland, 'The Polish Chronicle' by Thetmar from Merseburg, beer already appeared during the reign of Polish King Bolesaw I the Brave (992-1025) 12) It boasts 17 Nobel prize winners, including four Peace Prizes and five in Literature. 13) It contributes soldiers to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan; maintains troops in the Balkans, mainly in the NATO Kosovo Force; and is contributing a full battalion to the NATO Response Force, with soldiers on call for rapid deployment.

Old Town Market Square in Krakw / Photo by Diether of Wikimedia Commons large image

14) Krakw was the headquarters and the place of coronation of Polish kings and the nation's capital from 1038 until the move to Warsaw in 1596. 15) It was the centre of the Euopean Jewish world with 3.3 million Jews living in Poland. 16) 3 small cycle-cars called the SKAF, which sat 2 persons and could go 25 m.p.h in 1921 and a 4-seater car named the Polonia, which went 60 m.p.h in 1924 were the only Polish-made cars.

Piwnica Swidnicka / Photo by Julo of Wikimedia Commons large image

17) Located in Wrocaw is the oldest restaurant in Europe, "Piwnica Swidnicka", operating since 1275. 18) It was "stolen" between 1772 and 1795 when the country was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria and erased from the map. In 1807, Poland was reborn as the Duchy of Warsaw under Napoleon Bonaparte but his defeat in 1815 ended with Poland being partitioned by Austria and Prussia. 19) The Fiat was the first mass produced car in Poland and 10,000 were sold before the eve of WWII. 20) Polish has the second largest number of speakers among the Slavic languages after Russian. 21) The first surviving Polish recipes cookbook dates back to 1682 with dishes influenced by strong Lithuanian and Tartar-Turkish influences and German culinary traditions.

Poles love their candies and chocolates large image

22) The biggest section of any grocery store in Poland is the candy section. 23) It is among the world's biggest producers of hard coal. Poland's reserves of hard coal are estimated at 45.4 billion tons, enough to meet the country's demand for almost 500 years, twice as long as the world's average. 24) I have to agree that the Polish language is a difficult language to master for non-native speakers especially with its tongue-bending pronunciation and complex gender system.

Chopin's family home in the village of Zelazowa Wola large image

25) Famous musical composer Frederic Chopin was Polish and he was born

in elazowa Wola, a village in east-central Poland. 26) Susz is one of the main food of the Christmas Eve supper table in Poland. It is a compote prepared from the blend of dried fruits and has a brown, muddy look. 27) Poles represent the biggest number of people by nationality to rescue Jews during the German Nazi-organised Holocaust, up to around 450,000 from certain death. Poland holds the world record with the most people at 6,135 being awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations by the State of Israel.

Euro 2012 t-shirt large image

28) The Euro 2012 helped Poland to raise its public profile and marked its 20 year journey into "Central European Powerhouse". 29) It is the world's 6th producer of brown coal used by large power plants with 78 documented deposits, of which the exploited twelve have 2.1 billion tons. 30) The Polish alphabet consists of 32 letters.

31) A popular drink in Poland, orangeade or oranzada, is a sweet carbonated drink with an orange taste that originated in France and spread to Poland in the 18th century. 32) Nazi-occupied Poland was the only territory where the Germans decreed that any kind of help for Jews was punishable by death. Up to 50,000 Poles were executed by the Nazis for saving Jews. 33) Traditionally, the main meal of 3 courses is eaten around 2pm, starting with a soup, a main course of meat and a desert.

Traditional pierogi at bar mleczny large image

34) Polish dumplings or "pierogi" are one of national dishes and one of the best recognizable Polish food outside Poland. 35) Covering 1/3 of Poland, it's geothermal waters resources are ranked among the richest in Europe. Equivalent to some 3.5 billion tons of oil, it is sufficient for heating the houses of about 30 million people. 36) It's first documented ruler was Mieszko I in the 10th century. 37) Polish born Marie Curie or Maria Sklodowska (1867-1934) was the first and only Nobel laureate in two different sciences and first female professor at the Sorbonne University.

Pope John Paul II / Photo by Eric Draper of Wikimedia Commons large image

38) Pope John Paul II also known as Karol Wojtyla (1920-2005) was Polish. He was the only Polish Pope to date and served the second longest. Additionally he is credited with contributing to hastening the end of communism in Poland and throughout Central and Eastern Europe. His popularity resulted in a TV channel dedicated entirely to the Pope. His family home in Wadowice just outside of Krakw is now a famous site of Christian pilgrimage in Poland. 39) The 1st oil refinery in the world was built in 1856 by Polish pharmacist and petroleum industry pioneer, Ignacy Lukasiewicz. 40) Beer is often served with raspberry or blackcurrant juice (piwo z sokiem) and drunk using a straw. During colder seasons the popular refreshment is hot beer with cloves and cinnamon, sweetened with honey (piwo grzane). 41) Polish born astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (14731543) was the first person to propose that the earth was not the center of the universe. Another Polish astronomer, Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) published the earliest exact maps of the moon.

Wyborowa is the oldest brand of Vodka large image

42) It is part of the 'Vodka belt countries' and has a history of producing high quality vodka for more than 500 years. They are made from specially selected variety of Stobrawa potatoes, rye or the grass Hierochloe odorata. BOLS from the Netherlands has also been produced in Poland since 1994. 43) The Katy Massacre records the murder of some 22,000 of Poland's finest soldiers, academics, professionals and business owners in the 1940 by the Soviet Secret Police who were buried in the Katy Forest in what is today Russia. 44) It boasts the most winners of the "World's Strongest Man" title. 45) Poles love their cold cut and Polish butcher shops or "sklep miesny" are known for their enormous selection. 46) KGHM Polska Miedz, 32 percent owned by the Polish government, is the 10th largest copper produce in the world with 543,000 tonnes in 2011.

Main entrance to the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau / Photo by angelo celedon AKA lito sheppard of Wikimedia Commons large image

47) It is estimated that more than 6 million Poles including soldiers and civilians died in concentration camps, labor camps, prisons, and forced labor during the 5 years of Nazi occupation.The historic site of the Auschwitz German concentration camp near Owicim is now a site of pilgrimage and monument to the prevention of war and suffering. 48) One of the most famous songs in Poland is the"eby Polska bya Polsk", a Polish protest song written in 1976 by Jan Pietrzak which became the informal anthem protesting the totalitarian Communist regime. Ronald Reagan named a speech after the song, and Queen Elizabeth II quoted from it in her speech to the Polish Parliament. 49) All Saints' Day on 1st November is an important religious holiday where Poles visit cemeteries to honour their loved ones who have passed away.

Paczki from confectioner A. Blikle

50) The "Paczki" or Polish doughnut is one of the most traditional Polish desserts appearing since the time of King Augustus III of Poland in the early 18th century. It is most consumed on the last Thursday or "tlusty czwartek", which is a Thursday before Ash Wednesday. It has been recorded that 100 million "paczki" are consumed every year just on this one day. 51) It was famous for its amber, transported along the Amber Route from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic coast for over 1000 years. Gdansk on the northern tip of Poland holds the world famous Amber Market. 52) Poland is largely ethnically homogeneous with minorities including Ukrainian, Belorussian, Slovakian, Lithuanian and Germans. 53) It is home to one of the world's best preserved Neolithic flint workings (3500-1200 BC) and one of the most valuable archeological sites in Europe.

Wieliczka salt mine / Photo by Cdric Puisney of Wikimedia Commons large image

54) Wieliczka Salt Mine or "Kopalnia soli Wieliczka" build in the 13th century is one of the world's old salt mines still in operation until 2007. It is also referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland" due to its three chapels and an entire cathedral carved out of the rock salt by the miners and placed on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites in 1978. 55) In addition to birthdays, Poles celebrate their name day or "imieniny", which is the day commemorating the saint they are named after. The names associated with each day is listed in all calendars in Poland. Just like birthdays, there are parties with food, drinks, presents and the singing of the traditional birthday song, "sto lat". And if you want to wish someone on their name day, just say "Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji imienin!"

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