Poland, a country situated in the very heart of Europe, occupies today an area similar to the historical frontiers of the Polish state that emerged towards the end of the 10th century. It is now the 7th largest country in Europe - with 312 685 square kilometres in total area and approximately 40 million inhabitants. It shares land borders with as many as seven neighbouring countries - with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia and Lithuania. The capital and the biggest city in Poland is Warszawa with its 1.6 million inhabitants. Other bigger cities are: Lódz, Kraków, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw.

Over the centuries Poland has been going through numerous changes and stormy times, dramatic events, sudden turns. After the World War II, the new state emerged amid sharp political struggle. Although a majority of Poles did not accept the new socio-political system, efforts to rebuilt the country and reactivate various fields of public life were launched, and the country was raised from ruins. The authoritarian rule of the Marxist party and the growing economic crisis of the late 1970s led to the eruption of mass strikes and social conflicts, which eventually brought about the collapse of the totalitarian system. As a result, a democratic state emerged in 1989. New stage in the history of the Polish state and nation began, involving a broad programme of reforms and integration with the European Community. Following years of economic stagnation, Poland is now emerging as a dynamic and thriving market with a significant role to play on the world stage.

Last Modified: 21.01.2002