Welcome to Poland
Poland (Polish: Polska [ˈpɔlska]), officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska [ʐɛt͡ʂpɔˈspɔlita ˈpɔlska]), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
The establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to A.D. 966, when Mieszko I. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest (about 1 million km2) and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791. Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany. More than six million Poles died in the war. After World War II, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, Poland reestablished itself as a democratic republic.
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after joining the European Union in 2004. Tourism contributes significantly to the overall economy and makes up a relatively large proportion of the country's service market. Poland is the 16th most visited country in the world by foreign tourists, as ranked by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Tourist attractions in Poland vary, from the mountains in the south to the sandy beaches in the north, with a trail of nearly every architectural style. The most visited city is Kraków, which was the former capital of Poland and serves as a relic of Polish Golden Age of Renaissance. Kraków also held royal coronations of most Polish kings. Among other notable sites in the country is Wrocław, one of the oldest cities in Poland. Wrocław possesses a huge market square with two city halls, as well as the oldest Zoological Gardens with one of the world's largest number of animal species and is famous for its dwarfs. The Polish capital Warsaw and its historical Old Town were entirely reconstructed after wartime destruction. Other cities attracting tourists include Gdańsk, Poznań, Szczecin, Lublin, Toruń and the historic site of the German Auschwitz concentration camp in Oświęcim. Poland's main tourist offerings include outdoor activities such as skiing, sailing, mountain hiking and climbing, as well as agrotourism, sightseeing historical monuments. Tourist destinations include the Baltic Sea coast in the north; the Masurian Lake District and Białowieża Forest in the east; on the south Karkonosze, the Table Mountains and the Tatra Mountains, where Rysy, the highest peak of Poland, and the famous Orla Perć mountain trail are located. The Pieniny and Bieszczady Mountains lie in the extreme south-east. There are over 100 castles in the country, many in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and along the popular Trail of the Eagles' Nests.