Top 50 Interesting Facts About Poland!

I am sure you know I am a real Polish Girl who felt in love with Lyon yet she also and first of all loves her own country – Poland!

Top 50 Interesting Facts About Poland!1

And as much as I love exploring Lyon and France I would also like to introduce you to my beloved country. I have been thinking about writing it for a long time. I am proud of being a Pole and I think Poland is an undiscovered, forgotten country that is very beautiful, interesting, welcoming and rich in good people, culture  and history. If you only take a few minutes to look at Poland and what it offers I bet you will fell in love with It! You don’t believe me? Well, have a look at my brief summary of the top 50 interesting facts about Poland. I think this can be a good start and I promise you will be amazed and nicely surprised by Poland. Ready?

Map of Poland

Here you are – The Top 50 Interesting Facts About Poland:

  1. Poland has 312,255 km2 of area, and the population of 38 million. Poland has the seventh largest population in Europe (omitting Russia), and the sixth largest in the European Union.

    This is Poland - in the heart of Europe
    This is Poland – in the heart of Europe
  2. Poland’s highest point is the north-western summit of Rysy, 2,499 metres located in the High Tatras. The lowest point in Poland – at 1.8 metres ( below sea level) – is at Raczki Elbląskie, near Elbląg in the Vistula Delta.

    Szczyt Rysy
    Szczyt Rysy
  3. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. Poland is also a member state of  the Schengen Area, the United Nations, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, and the Visegrád Group.
  4. Poland’s national anthem is Dąbrowski’s Mazurek. The anthem, commonly known as “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęla” (“Poland Has Not Been Yet Lost”), was written in 1797 by Jozef Wybicki. The anthem was composed in Italy, where Polish troops were fighting at the side of Napoleon.
  5. About A.D. 963 Poland got its first ruler – Mieszko who in 966 adopted Christianity. Yet,  the Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025.

    Polish bison
    Polish bison
  6. Poland has a forest Puszcza Białowieża which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site It is a home to 800 European bisons. They are the Europe’s heaviest land animals. And so Poland is famous for its Bison Vodka Zubrowka (note: the vodka is not made from animals😉😂😀
  7. Poland disappeared from the Europe map for 123 years! How possible? In the late 1700s Poland’s three powerful neighbors, Austria, Prussia and Russia decided to divide Poland in a series of agreements called the Three Partitions of Poland (1772, 1793 and 1795). Each of those countries took a part of Poland so it disappeared from the map but was carefully kept and protected in Poles heart.

    Zubrowka Vodka - the best with apple juice
    Zubrowka Vodka – the best with apple juice
  8. Poland was the first country in Europe to get its constitution. The Constitution of May 3rd. was the 1st in Europe and the 2nd in the world after the U.S. constitution.
  9. On November 11, 1918, Poland declared itself a republic, independent of Russia. Poles have celebrated their Independence Day as a national holiday on November 11th since 1937. However, public celebration of the holiday was forbidden from 1939–1989, while Poland was under a Communist government.
  10. In 1922, Gabriel Narutowicz became Poland’s first democratically elected president.

    One of the signs and symbols of World War II
    One of the signs and symbols of World War II
  11. World War II started in Poland. On September 1, 1939, the German Wehrmacht invaded Poland without any prior declaration of war and this was a beginning of  WWII.
  12. Poland was the only European country which never officially collaborated with the Nazis at any level, and no Polish units fought alongside the Nazi army. Poland never officially surrendered to Germany, and the Polish Resistance movement in German-occupied Poland during World War II was the largest resistance movement in Europe.

    Ghetto
    Ghetto
  13. I am sure you heard somewhere the name Lech Wałęsa. But do you know who this Pole was and why he was so important for the history of Poland and Europe that he got the Nobel Peace Prize? Leah Walesa was the leader of the Solidarity movement of the 1980s and he led Polish people to free election of the first noncommunist government. Goodbye communism!

    Young Lech Walesa
    Young Lech Walesa
  14. The 646.38 m high Warsaw Radio Mast was the world’s tallest structure from 1974 until its collapse on 8 August 1991.
  15. Now very sad! During World War II, the Polish town of Oświeçim was the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps, where at least 1.1. million Nazi prisoners were killed by gassing with the pesticide Zyklon-B and many more died in other ways. 6 millions of Poles perished in WW2.
  16. And now a bit of clarification. The concentration camps were German/Nazi. There was not a ‘Polish Concentration Camp.’ And secondly, the reason why Poland was chosen in the first place for the concentration camps was that it was the most religiously tolerant in Europe, and therefore it had the highest number of Jewish people.

    Auschwitz Concentration Camp
    Auschwitz Concentration Camp
  17. Very sad fact again! Over 50,000+ Polish people gave their lives to save the lives of over 450,000+ Jewish people. More than any other country. Poland is also the highest number of people honored by the Righteous Among Nations.
  18. Poland was the only country the Germans enforced the death penalty for helping a Jew. But this is not all but also the death penalty was not only for them but also for the whole family.

    So many people died here...were murdered really - a real bunker
    So many people died here…were murdered really – a real bunker
  19. When most countries have their pancakes day, Poland has its Tlusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday – the Thursday before Ash Wednesday). It is estimated that 100 million pączki (typical Polish doughnuts) are consumed every year. How many pancakes does your country can eat in a day?

    Yummy Polish Donuts - Paczki
    Yummy Polish Donuts – Paczki
  20. Poland has also the National Pierogi Day on October 8th. And pierogi are the traditional Polish food speciality. They are stuffed dumplings but don’t confused them with the Chinese dumplings. They are totally different and interesting and come in many varieties: sweet and savoury.  Both provide different experience and have to be tastes.
  21. Napoleon Bonaparte met the Polish elite and his future mistress, Countess Maria Waleska, in the ballroom of Warsaw’s Zamek Królewski (Royal Castle) in 1806.
  22. Extremely clever Pole-Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) the man who ‘stopped the sun and moved the earth,’ gave the world its first Heliocentric model of the solar system, was born in 1473 in Toruń, Poland. He was educated at Kraków’s Jagiellonian University and after that joined the Catholic priesthood. On his return home from studying in the famous Renaissance universities in Padua and Bologna, he became administrator of the northern bishopric of Warmia in 1497, also working as a doctor, lawyer, architect, and soldier. He lived for 15 years in Frombork, where he constructed an observatory and undertook his research, which he later wrote down in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium; its revolutionary contention was that the sun, not Earth, was the center of the planetary system. The work was published by church authorities in Nuremberg in 1543, the year Copernicus died. It was later banned by the papacy, but re-allowed into scholasticism in 1582 with Pope Gregory.

    Mikolaj Kopernik
    Mikolaj Kopernik
  23. The artificial language of Esperanto was created in Poland by Ludwig Zamenhof, from Białystok! The Esperanto’s International Language was published in 1887 for the first time. The first world Esperanto conference was held in France in 1905, the same year Zamenhof published Fundamento de Esperanto, his main work, which became the basic Esperanto textbook and is still use today.
  24. A bit more and more interesting about Marie Curie who I assume everyone associate with Poland, Nobel x2 and chemistry. She was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, moved to Paris in early 1880 and married Frenchman Pierre Curie in 1895. With her husband, she discovered the elements polonium (Po), named after her native Poland, in the summer of 1898 and, soon thereafter, radium (Ra). She is credited for coining the term “radioactivity” and won her first Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband and another colleague, Henri Becquerel, in 1903. Following Pierre’s death in 1906, Marie was appointed to her husband’s professorship and was the first woman to teach at Paris’ Sorbonne University. She won a second Nobel Prize in 1911 for her research in the isolation of pure radium.

    Krakow - the previous capital of Poland
    Krakow – the previous capital of Poland
  25. Gniezno was the very first capital of Poland. Than the Polish capi moved to the beautiful city of Krakow and finally Warsaw become the capital of Poland with no further plans to move😉
  26. Whatever they show in Hollywood movie, it was Poland who did it! Being more precise 3 Poles: Jerzy Rozycki, Henryk Zygalski and Marian Rejewski were the Polish mathematicians behind the breaking of the German Enigma Machine code, helping the Allied war effort. It’s estimated that help ended the war 2 years earlier. Bravo👏👏👏!
  27. Art + Politics =  Ignacy Jan Paderewski who was a celebrated pianist and composer and became Poland’s first prime minister post World War I, as the country regained its independence from Nazi Germany
  28. Polish people has always been very shy, so shy they haven’t been writing in Polish for many centuries that is why Mikołaj Rej has become very important to Poles. He is the so-called Father of Polish Literature, being the first author to write in the Polish language.
  29. The real name of the 264th head of the Roman Catholic Church – the Pope John Paul II was Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła. He come from Wadowice, a little village next to Krakow and he was appointed a Pope in October 1978. He was an amazing person and Catholic and finally a Pope, serving God and us all for many years. He was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on April 27, 2014.
  30. Poland is quite an intelligent and recognised country. Poles have won a total of 17 Nobel Prizes (more than Japan, China, India, or Australia), including four Peace Prizes and five in Literature.

    Wieliczka - the oldest salt mine in Europe
    Wieliczka – the oldest salt mine in Europe
  31. One of the world’s oldest salt mines, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the southern Polish town of Wieliczka, was built in the 13th century and produced table salt until 2007. The mine’s attractions include dozens of statues, three chapels, and an entire cathedral carved out of rock salt by the miners. Approximately 1.2 million visitors walk through the salt mine each year. The mine reaches a depth of 1,073 feet (327 m) and is over 178 miles (287 km) long. It is often referred to as the “Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland.”By the way it is worth a visit!
  32. Do you know the novels Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness by the  English writer Joseph Conrad. Actually he wasn’t that English but he was born in Poland and his real name was Józef Teodor Konrad Nałęcz Korzeniowski in Poland.
  33. Did you know that the moon has its own map? Apparently yes and apparently the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius published the earliest exact maps of the moon.How cool is that?

    Chopin - the Polish famous pianist
    Chopin – the Polish famous pianist
  34. Frédéric François Chopin –  very famous composer, was born in Żelazowa Wola, Poland, in 1810. In the summer of 1830, he left Poland, never to return. He died in Paris in 1849 in his home at Place Vendôme 12 and is buried in Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
  35. Poland’s Stanisław Lem is known as one of the world’s greatest science fiction writers. His novel Solaris was made into a movie in 2002.
  36. Kraków’s Jagiellonian University was established by King Kazimierz III the Great in 1364 and is the oldest university in Poland and second oldest in Central Europe.
  37. The American Academy of Motion Pictures recognized the outstanding merit of Andrzej Wajda, Poland’s most famous contemporary film director, awarding him a special Oscar for lifetime achievement in March 2000.
  38. Poland has strong man and one the strongest in the world – Polish-born Mariusz Pudzianowski is a five-time winner of the “World’s Strongest Man” title
  39. Barbara Piasecka Johnson, of Johnson & Johnson Company fame, was born in Staniewicze, Poland. In 1971, she married John Steward Johnson, who left her the bulk of his fortune when he died in 1983. In 2007, she was listed on the Forbes 400 World’s Richest People List with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion US, making her the 149th richest person in the world. She died in Sobótka, Poland, in 2013, and was buried in Wrocław.
  40. Polish people don’t drink so much! Poles drink, on average, 92 liters of beer a year, which places Poland third in consumption in Europe behind Germany and the Czech Republic. But where are French and English beer lovers and drinkers? LINK
  41. Vodka prescribed by doctors?! Poland has a history of producing high-quality vodka for more than 500 years. The first Polish vodkas appeared in the 11th century when they were called gorzalka and used as medicines.
  42. But vodka isn’t a Polish invention; the word ‘wodka’ was used in Poland, but alcohol was actually invented by the Turks. The Russians adopted vodka as their national drink and have been debating with the Poles over it since. (It’s called ‘The Vodka War.’)
  43. Do you know where is the oldest restaurant in Europe? In Poland! In a beautiful city of Wrocław, the “Piwnica Swidnicka” is the oldest restaurant in Europe, open since 1275.

    Zapiekanki
    Zapiekanki
  44. Zapiekanka is in Poland a very popular street food, served on a baguette (sometimes very, very long ones which makes it so funny yet possible to eat) with melted cheese, mushrooms, ham and you put a ketchup on it. Obligatory!
  45. Poland is very religious country, About 90% of Polish people are Catholics and a small secret here …there is, very popular, a Christian Channel (TV Trwam).  Did you know that
  46. Poland is one of the biggest exporter of amber. We have almost 70% share in the production of amber jewellery on the global market. The most important directions for the export of amber are American, Asian and European markets.

    Polish amber
    Polish amber
  47. Poland is one of the few countries in the world where a woman should be kissed in a hand to greet. This old custom from noble times is usually perceived as a sign of respect for women. It has survived for a long time in Western cultures, but with the advancing wave of women’s emancipation began to slowly disappear. But not in Poland, where such behavior is still desirable from men who want to be gentlemen…I always blush when I am in Poland!
  48. Poland has a desert! It is the Błędowska Desert (32 km2) and we call it ‘Polish Sahara’. It is one hour away from Krakow, if you are around to visit.
  49. There is totally twisted building in Sopot, at Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street. Called ‘Krzywy Domek’, that house seems to melt in the sun. It may seem that it is only a reflection in one of the curves of the mirrors, but in reality it is a real building.

    Krzywy Dom in Sopot
    Krzywy Dom in Sopot
  50. Lastly, the thing that many Polish people will not notice when not told, but it exists and it’s true and so strange if you think about it. The Polish TV has a special ‘lektor’ for voiceovers of foreign programs and films. That meant: one man and only man read all of the parts (male and female) with the original audio in the background. Sounds strange? It is real!

Discover Poland

Please tell me now: are you surprised, amazed by this beautiful country of Poland? Did you learn something new today? I hope so. But maybe you know some other interesting facts about Poland and you can share with me? I would appreciate a lot. Thank you!

jadorelyon

I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

5 thoughts on “Top 50 Interesting Facts About Poland!

  1. Watching a movie with a single voice translating into polish is so strange ! The sound of original movie is still there but ver low so you can even hear the english voices of actors behind the translation 😂

  2. Great list, thank you !
    Please correct the points 15 and 28.
    15 : 6 millions of Poles perished in WW2, not all in Auschwitz;
    28 : Ignacy Jan Paderewski became prime minister after WW1, not after WW2.

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