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Poland Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Poland, one of the largest countries of Europe, is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and Germany.

Warsaw is the capital city. Other Polish cities include Bialystok, Bydgoszcz, Czestochowa, Gliwice, Krakow, Lodz, Lublin, Olsztyn, Poznan, Radom, Rzeszow, Swinoujscie, Torun, Ustka, Wieliczka, Wroclaw and Zakopane. Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin are important ports.

Poland is mostly low-lying with some mountainous regions. The main rivers are the Oder and Vistula.

The climate is temperate with cold winters and mild summers.

Environment
Bialowiesk Forest, on the World Heritage List, is Poland's oldest National Park. Trees growing in Bialowiesk include alder, ash, aspen, birch, hornbeam, lime, maple, oak, pine and spruce.

Some of Poland's parks are listed by Ramsar as Wetlands of International Importance: Biebrza National Park, Narew River National Park, Poleski National Park, Slowinski National Park and Wigry National Park. Milicz Ponds in the Barycz Valley are also on the Ramsar wetlands list.

Tatra National Park is one of Poland's UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserves.

Muskauer Park, a mid nineteenth century park, is a landscape park shared between Poland and Germany. The park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

Wildlife found in Poland includes beavers, boars, elk, European bisons, tarpans (small horses) and bats.

Architecture
A number of buildings in Poland are inscribed on the World Heritage List. Inscriptions include the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, the Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland, the Medieval Town of Torun, the Old City of Zamosc, the Centennial Hall of Wroclaw, Cracow's Historic Centre and the Historic Centre of Warsaw.

Much of the historic centre of Warsaw was destroyed during the Second World War. The Old Town, built between the thirteenth to the twentieth century, was reconstructed: churches, palaces and market-place. In 1978 the World Heritage Committee decided that the reconstruction symbolised the will to ensure the survival of one of the prime settings of Polish culture and illustrated the efficiency of restoration techniques of the second half of the twentieth century. (UNESCO World Heritage Report, 1978)

Daniel Libeskind, the architect, was born in Poland after the War (1939-1945) and became a US citizen in 1965. He designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin and was chosen in February 2003 as the architect to redevelop the World Trade Centre site in New York.

Population
The population of Poland was estimated at 38,500,696 in 2008.

Languages
Polish is the official language.

Religion
The majority of the people are Roman Catholic. There are minorities of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Protestants.

Food
Food eaten in Poland has been influenced by the cuisine of the neighbouring countries of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Russia.

Meat, especially pork, ham and sausage, is eaten with vegetables, dumplings, noodles, buckwheat and rye bread. Beetroot and cabbage are used in salads, soups and stews. Soured cream is often used in cooking. Pickled foods such as vegetables and fish are popular.

Hunter's stew, made with five or six types of wild game, is a national dish.

Desserts include honey cake, strudel, pancakes and doughnuts.

Tea is preferred without milk, often with a slice of lemon and sugar. Coffee is also a popular drink. Mineral waters are produced in the spas and Polish fruit juices include apple and blackcurrant. Poland produces its own beer, wine and vodka.

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