Explore Poland with our fun and interesting facts and scroll down for our collection of flag printables and colouring pages.
Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland
Learn About Poland
Geography of Poland
- The Republic of Poland is a large Central European country with a population of 40 million. The Baltic coastline forms the northern border, with the Carpathian mountains in the far south adjoining Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. Germany lies to the west whilst Belarus, Lithuania and Kalingrad are to the north east border.
- Lowland plains cover most of the land.
- In the north, the land is heavily forested around the lake region of Mazury, which boasts 2,000 glacial lakes and 200 km of canals.
- Bialowieza Forest, in the east, is Europe's only remaining original lowland forest. Visitors to this National Park may only enter on foot or by horse drawn carriage. There is a herd of wild bison in the woods.
A Brief History of Poland
- The Kingdom of Poland was established in 1025 CE, led by Boleslaw I. Catholicism had been adopted at the end of the previous century. Poland united with the Kingdom of Lithuania in 1569 CE. The Commonwealth had elected kings and a parliament of nobles.
- Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1939. The people of Poland suffered hardship from both German and Soviet soldiers. During World War Two, thousands of Jewish residents died in the Warsaw ghetto uprising and in concentration camps alongside other Poles.
- After the war, Poland was a Communist Republic for 40 years, allied with the Soviet Union. Poland became independent in 1989 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
- Lech Walesa was elected President in 1990. He was a ship worker from Gdansk who led the Solidarity party when Poland became independent.
- Warsaw, the capital city, is a vibrant spiralling modern city with a moving memorial to the Warsaw Uprising. It was once part of the Russian Empire and its old centre is being renovated after the destruction suffering during World War II.
- Krakow is considered the most attractive city. This former capital is overlooked by Wawel Hill, site of the magnificent Cathedral and Castle (see photo above). Legend has it that a dragon called Smok once lived here and liked to eat people. A brave man called Krak put out the dragon’s fire and the town was named in his honour.
- Pope John Paul II was the Bishop of Krakow prior to his election in 1978.
- A trumpeter plays his horn from St Mary’s Church tower in Krakow every hour to remember a famous man was shot with an arrow as he warned the city when there was an invasion.
More About Poland
- Malbork Castle is one of Europe’s largest medieval fortresses. It was the stronghold of the Teutonic Knights who were crusaders loyal to the Pope. Within the walls are three castles and hundreds of houses.
- The national symbol of Poland is a white eagle with two heads.
- Polish children celebrate Christmas on December 24th when they have a feast of twelve dishes including fish but no meat.
- This predominantly Catholic nation has many Easter traditions. During Smigus-Dyngus, or Wet Monday after Easter, children splash water on each other for good luck.
- Marie Curie, the famous scientist, was Polish. Her birth name was Marie Slowdowska and she moved from Poland to Paris. She won the noble prize for Physics with her husband in 1903 and for chemistry in 1911. She is remembered for discovering radium.
- Chopin the composer was also born in Poland. He, like Mozart, was a performer when very young. Although he later moved to Paris he was a proud Pole and Warsaw’s Chopin Airport is named in his memory.