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POLAND
 
   
   
 

Poland Identity Card

Country name:
~ conventional long form: Republic of Poland
~ conventional short form: Poland
~ local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
~ local short form: Polska
 
Area: 312,685 sq km
Coastline: 491 km
Highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
Population: 38,635,144
Density: 123/km2
Population growth rate: 0.03%
Language: Polish
Religions: Predominately Roman Catholic
Government type: republic
Capital: Warsaw
GDP - per capita: $12,000
Inflation rate: 3.4%
Currency (code): zloty (PLN)
Vehicle Country Id-Code: PL
ISO CODE Alpha2: PL
ISO CODE Alpha3: POL
ISO NUMERIC CODE: 616
Calling code: +48
Internet country code: .pl
Time Zone: + 1.0 H

 
 
 
 

Lake Masurian

Poland is a country that served as the cradle of the opposite polarities since time immemorial; being the birthplace of the Pope, the country has also helped in spawning the evil imagery of Luciferian melodies that once perturbed the religious scene of entire Europe. Poland also stands as the only country next to Scandinavia on the context of pushing forth the bludgeoning heavy rock’n roll scenario. Considered by many as the land of myths and historical brutality, the Republic of Poland (alternative Commonwealth of Poland) generated inhuman terror among its past inhabitants; thanks go by and large to Contessa Erzbet Bathory, her biggest offering to the medieval Europe being the Iron Maiden, which later bloodied the path of countless martyrs besides paving her way to solitary confinement. But that’s another story. For the time being, we shall concentrate upon the Poland of 2005, with bits and parts of its ancient and modern history.

Geography

Poland, the country in Central Europe has Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south and Ukraine and Belarus to the east. The Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia (in the form of the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave) are on the northern part of Poland. The Polish landscape covers almost entirely the lowlands of the North European Plain though the Sudetes and the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatra Mountains house the highest point of Poland, Rysy – which is 2,499 m. high and near the southern border. The rivers that cross the plains are the Vistula, Oder and Warta. The 9300 lakes of Poland are predominantly spread over the northern parts of the country, with Masuria being the largest and most-visited Lake District.


Lublin Castle

Climate

Poland’s climate is a temperate one, though the winters are pretty morbid. Decembers offer the country with cold, cloudy and moderately severe winters while the summer months offer a mild temperature with frequent showers and accompanied occasionally by thunder.

History

Zamosc City Hall

It’s slightly over a thousand years that the Polish state was formed. The Piast dynasty is held responsible for laying the foundation stones of the state and the Jagiellonian dynasty, for making it reach the golden age near the end of the 16th century. This time, Poland was one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful countries in entire Europe.
After 1791, Poland was partitioned by its neighbouring countries, namely Russia, Austria, and Prussia. 1918 saw the country regaining its independence; this time it was the Second Polish Republic. Following the World War II this country was transformed into a communist satellite state of the USSR, and it was re-named as the People's Republic of Poland. 1989 initiated the first free elections in Post World War II Poland, giving rise to the Solidarity movement struggle for freedom, thereby defeating Poland's communist rulers. The present Third Polish Republic was established with the downfall of Communism with the new constitution being drafted in 1997. Two years later Poland gave in to NATO and in 2004 it joined hands with the European Union.
A detailed history of Poland shall reveal a few more things, like the mid-17th century Swedish invasion Deluge that initiated several wars against the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Cossacks, Transylvania and Brandenburg-Prussia which, ended in 1699 followed by the deterioration of the central government in the next 80 years.
A different Polish state was also created by Napoleon known as the Duchy of Warsaw which met its untimely death with his downfall. This made Poland split, this time the responsible ones were the Allies at the Congress of Vienna. The eastern part thus came under the Russian tsar as a Congress Kingdom who initiated a liberal constitution, only to reduce the Polish freedoms later and to annex the country with Russia. However, Poland found its urge to regain freedom once more from the Austrian-ruled Galicia later in the 19th century.
Poland also instituted the new communist government of The Soviet till 1948, after which Stalinism brought in the totalitarian rule. 1952 saw the advent of The People's Republic of Poland (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa) and in 1956 the régime, due to its liberal bent of mind freed many of the state’s prisoners. 1970 brought about a transformation in the Polish Governing body, initiating a more modern economy and a large governmental credit. Poland became free of Communism with its collapse all over Eastern Europe.
Education wise, the Polish society developed in as early as the 12th century; the library catalog of the Cathedral Chapter of Kraków providing the evidence of Polish intellectuals’ access to the medieval European literature. The Jagiellonian University in Krakow was founded by King Kazimierz Wielki in 1364 which is one of the greatest early universities of Europe. The Commission on National Education, the world's first state ministry of education was initiated in 1773, by King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Currently, Poland constitutes of more than a hundred institutions of post-secondary education, ranging from technical, medical, economics to the traditional universities of Gdańsk, Bydgoszcz, Katowice, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Rzeszów, Warsaw and Wrocław. These universities have together yielded more than 61 thousand scientists. The 300-odd research and development institutes employ around ten thousand researchers, which happens to be just a-tenth of the total number of scientists in Poland today.


Warsaw: Overview of the Old Town

Economy

Gdansk street

Poland’s policy of liberalising the economy has been the country’s resolute determination. As of currently, Poland stands out as one of the most successful countries of Europe and is an open example of the changeover that took place from the partially state-capitalist market economy. Today’s Poland enjoys primarily a privately owned market economy.
The small and medium state-owned companies are now been privatised; a newly introduced liberal law permits the establishment of new firms to rapidly develop an aggressive private sector. This has been boosted further by the development of the consumer rights organisations. Restructured privatisation of industries dealing with the country’s resources and transportation (e.g., coal, steel, energy resources, and railways) have already been initiated; the sale of Telekomunikacja Polska and 30% shares of the biggest Polish bank, PKO BP, on the Polish stockmarket, being the biggest example of it.
Poland’s large agricultural sector comprises of private farms, enough to become a leading producer of food in the European Union. But major changes that were ushered in the health care, education, the pension system and state administrative structure have confronted fiscal pressures, more than what was expected. Warsaw, the leader in foreign investment throughout Central Europe is in need of a continued large inflow, though GDP growth has received a firm footage and is going steady since 1993. A short slowdown was noticed between 2001 and 2002, but the prospect of a closer integration with the European Union has made Poland put back the economy on the right track. The current GDP has witnessed a growth of 5.4% per annum since 2003 which, is a rise from a mere 1.4% if compared to the year before. The industries of Poland are namely: garments, electronic goods, automobiles and heavy, industrial vehicles, aero planes, ships, military engineering, medical equipments and medicines and food. The Polish economy, though currently undergoing a boom, has to meet the strict economic criteria to enter the European Single Currency (Euro).


Malbork Castle

Politics

Poland, a democratic republic has a constitution that’s in practice since 1997. The government structure pivots around the Council of Ministers, who in turn, have a prime minister as the commanding authority. The Cabinet is chosen by the president as per the proposals received from the prime minister, who chooses the candidates from the majority coalition in the bicameral legislature's lower house (the Sejm). The president is elected by popular vote once in every five years under normal circumstances and is the head of state.
Poland has a two house parliament - the 460 member lower house Sejm and a 100 member Senate (Senat). Except for the ethnic minority parties, at least 5% of the total national vote is required to enter Sejm. The members of Sejm and Senate together form the National Assembly, under special occasions like, during taking oath by the new president, to accuse someone in case he has gone against the President of the Republic or for declaring the President's permanent incapacity towards his duties.
The Polish judicial branch includes the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Constitutional Tribunal and the Tribunal of State. The Ombudsman or the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection serves a five-year term and is elected by the Sejm after the Polish Senate approves the nomination. This Ombudsman is usually given the charge of guarding and implementation of the human rights and liberties of the citizens apart from keeping a track of the law and principles of community life and social justice.


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