Culture of Poland
The culture in Poland is in basic Latin and Byzantine and was influenced by several European nations.
Poland is the birthplace of many world famous people as Pope John Paul II, Lech Wałęsa (the Nobel Peace Prize winner), Nicolaus Copernicus and Frederic Chopin.
In the 19th century Romanticism flourished. This style is recognisable in the works of Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki and Zygmunt Krasinski.
Polish Nobel Prize winners are Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905), Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont (1924) and Wislawa Szymborska (1996).
We can say, that Frederic Chopin was the most famous and great composer in Poland. Chopin Festival held in Warsaw and Duszniki Zdroj commemorates his works through impressive performances.
Other notable composer is Stanislaw Moniuszko, who composed the first national opera, Halka in 1847.
Poland provides several possibilities for entertainment in music festivals and concerts.
Also famous are the theatre productions in Poland.
Traditional customs, folk art and folk costumes show eastern and western influences, but there are also original branches of Polish folk art, for example the paper cut-outs, which decorate the interiors on Christmas and Easter. And it's also showed in exhibitions.
The Polish kitchen has been influenced for a long time from France and Italy, but we can feel also the impression of Tartar, Armenian, Lithuanian, Cossack, Hungarian and Jewish cuisine. Real Polish cosine uses mainly ingredients as cereals, fish, crayfish, venison and fruits of the forest. Also beloved ingredients are sour cabbage, sour cucumber, cereals, dried mushroom, curdled milk and sour rye.
To try the typical and famous dishes of Poland you have to taste the kielbasy (sausages) and placki (potato pancakes), golabki (stuffed cabbage), pierogi (potato ravioli with various fillings) and sledz (herring). Also soups are very delicious, for example the Zurek. As quick food try the zapiekanka (an open-faced baguette-style bread grilled or micro waved, with cheese, mushrooms, ketchup and mayo).
Auschwitz Concentration Camp
The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest in the Third Reich. According to historical investigations, 1.5 million people, among them a great number of Jews, were systematically starved, tortured and murdered in this camp, the symbol of humanity's cruelty to its fellow human beings in the 20th century.
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork
This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fell into decay, but was meticulously restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved here. Following severe damage in the Second World War it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by earlier conservators.
Centennial Hall in Wroclaw
The Centennial Hall (Jahrhunderthalle in German and Hala Ludowa in Polish), a landmark in the history of reinforced concrete architecture, was erected in 1911-1913 by Max Berg, at the time municipal architect in Breslau, as the Polish city of Wrocław was called at the time, when it was part of Germany. The Centennial Hall, a multi-purpose recreational building, is a centrally-planned structure situated on the Exhibition Grounds. The structure of the Centennial Hall is a symmetrical quatrefoil form with a vast circular central space (65m diameter, 42m high) that can seat some 6,000 persons.
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century, amid the religious strife that followed the Peace of Westphalia. Constrained by the physical and political conditions, the Churches of Peace bear testimony to the quest for religious freedom and are a rare expression of Lutheran ideology in an idiom generally associated with the Catholic Church.
Cracow's Historic Centre
The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants' town has Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with their magnificent interiors. Further evidence of the town's fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in the southern part of town, Jagellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.
Historic Centre of Warsaw
During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw's historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a breathtaking cultural landscape of great spiritual significance. Its natural setting - in which a series of symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary was laid out at the beginning of the 17th century - has remained virtually unchanged. It is still today a place of pilgrimage.
Medieval Town of Torun
Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries (among them the house of Copernicus) are striking evidence of Torun's importance.
Muskauer Park / Park Muzakowski
A landscaped park of 559.90-ha astride the Neisse river and the border between Poland and Germany, it was created by Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau from 1815 to 1844. Blending seamlessly with the surrounding farmed landscape, the park pioneered new approaches to landscape design and influenced the development of landscape architecture in Europe and America. Designed as a "painting with plants", it did not seek to evoke classical landscapes, paradise, or some lost perfection, instead it used local plants to enhance the inherent qualities of the existing landscape. This integrated landscape extends into the town of Muskau with green passages that formed urban parks framing areas for development. The town thus became a design component in a utopian landscape. The site also features a reconstructed castle, bridges and an arboretum.
Old City of Zamosc
Zamosc was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of Padua, Zamosc is a perfect example of a late-16th-century Renaissance town. It has retained its original layout and fortifications and a large number of buildings that combine Italian and central European architectural traditions.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
This deposit of rock salt in Wieliczka-Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century. Spread over nine levels, it has 300 km of galleries with works of art, altars, and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past of a major industrial undertaking.
Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland
The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. Built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages, these churches were sponsored by noble families and became status symbols. They offered an alternative to the stone structures erected in urban centres.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Białowieża Forest
Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this immense forest range, consisting of evergreens and broad-leaved trees, is home to some remarkable animal life, including rare mammals such as the wolf, the lynx and the otter, as well as some 300 European Bison, a species which has been reintroduced into the park.