Poland

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About

Royal Palace in Warsaw

  • Poland is a large central European nation that borders on the Baltic Sea.
  • Warsaw is Poland’s capital and largest city.
  • Poland is named after the Polane, a Slavic tribe that lived more than a thousand years ago in what is now Poland. The name Polane comes from a Slavic word that means plain or field. Flat plains and gently rolling hills cover most of the country.
  • Rugged mountains form part of the southern boundary of Poland, and thousands of small, scenic lakes dot the northern regions of the country.
  • Foreign visitors should be aware that virtually all official information will usually be in Polish only. Street signs, directions, information signs, etc. are routinely only in Polish, as are schedules and announcements at train and bus stations (airports and a few major train stations seem to be an exception to this)
  • The official language of Poland is Polish. Apart from that, English, German, Russian and French are also spoken there.
  • Majority of the people in Poland follow Roman Catholicism.

HISTORY

  • Poland gained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II.
  • It became a Soviet satellite country following the war, but one that was comparatively tolerant and progressive.
  • Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of an independent trade union “Solidarity” that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency.
  • Complete freedom came with the implosion of the USSR in 1991.
  • A “shock therapy” program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, boosting hopes for early acceptance to the EU.
  • Poland joined the NATO alliance in 1999.


FACTS

    Wroclaw

    • Poland is the 69th largest country in the world as well as the 9th largest country in Europe.
    • Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, and Gdansk make up the six biggest cities of Poland.
    • Rysy, sited in the Tatra Mountains and soaring to a height of 2,499m, forms the highest point in Poland
    • Poland joined NATO in 1999, while it became a member of the European Union in 2004
    • The year 1989 saw Poland holding its first free elections, in more than 40 years
    • Most of the Poles consider their name day more important than their birthday
    • The White tailed Eagle is the national symbol of Poland
    • Poland is the 6th most populous and the 6th largest of the 27 member states in the European Union
    • Amongst all the members of the European Union, the residents of Poland marry the youngest
    • Polish people have the largest households in the European Union
    • Poland has the highest unemployment level in the European Union
    • Poles have won 17 Nobel prizes to date, including 4 Peace Prizes and 5 in Literature

Avg. Costs

Gdansk

  • A good coffee can be had for 5 – 10 PLZ a cup
  • Most public toilets have turned to pay-per-use schemes; expect to pay 1-2 PLZ to use a public restroom
  • Double Room at 3 star hotel 200-350 PLZ
  • 1 km Taxi 2-2.50 PLZ
  • Museum 8-20 PLZ
  • Movie Ticket 17-23 PLZ
  • One Day Bus Ticket 2.50 PLZ
  • Two Dish Dinner 20-50 PLZ
  • Disco Entrance 15-20 PLZ
  • Beer In Pub 6-8 PLZ
  • Cappucino 6-10 PLZ
  • Big Mac 7.6 PLZ

 

Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index.  It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Tatra Mountains

  • The European unified emergency number 112
  • Poland is overall a fairly safe country. In general, just use common sense and be aware of what you’re doing.
  • In cities, follow standard city travel rules: don’t leave valuables in the car in plain sight, don’t display money or expensive things needlessly, know where you’re going, and be suspicious of strangers asking for money or trying to sell you something.
  • Pickpockets operate, pay attention to your belongings in crowds, at stations, in crowded trains/buses, and clubs.
  • Driving in Poland is very dangerous, and the number of casualties per capita is almost twice higher than European average. Most of it is attributed to irresponsible driving habits, so if you stick to the rules, you are safe.

 

Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on http://www.voyage.gc.ca/. Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.

Climate

Torun

  • Poland’s climate has features of both the moderate climate of Western Europe and the more severe climate of Eastern Europe.
  • The climate of the western part may be classified as marine west coast, and the eastern part as humid continental with cool summers.
  • Weather conditions are highly variable, particularly in the winter.
  • Summers are less humid with occasional showers
  • Rainy season is in November
  • Longest growing season in southwest, shortest in northeast. Average annual precipitation 600 millimeters, higher in mountains. Summer precipitation averages twice that in winter.
  • The north-east regions of Poland are the coldest, while the south-west regions are the warmest

Places to See

Winter Landscape near Pasterka Village

Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

  • A church located on Wawel Hill in Kraków
  • It has a 1,000-year history and was the traditional coronation site of Polish monarchs
  • Pope John Paul II offered his first Mass as a priest in the Crypt of the Cathedral on November 2, 1946

View Map

 

 

 

Gdansk Waterfront

  • A commercial site uniquely located in the Polish city of Gdansk on the banks of the Martwa Wisla River
  • Recognized as one of the best development sites in Central Europe, it is within walking distance from the Gdansk Central Station and the Old Town
  • After World War II, the Old Town was meticulously rebuilt
  • As many of the original bricks were reused as possible

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The Old Town Market Place

  • It dates back to the end of the 13th century
  • It is the true heart of the Old Town, and until the end of the 18th century it was the heart of all of Warsaw

 

 

 

Castle Square

  • Enclosed between the Old Town and the Royal Castle, Castle Square is steeped in history
  • The square was in its glory in the 17th century when Warsaw became the country capital

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Canon Square

  • A small triangular square, located behind St. John’s Cathedral
  • Its name comes from the 17th-century tenement houses which belonged to the canons of the Warsaw chapter.
  • In the middle of the square is the bronze bell of Warsaw
  • Also the thinnest house in Warsaw is located here

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Wieliczka Salt Mine

  • Located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland
  • The mine continuously produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007 as one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines
  • It is believed to be the world’s 14th-oldest company still in operation.
  • The mine’s attractions for tourists include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners
  • The Wieliczka salt mine reaches a depth of 327 meters and is over 300 km long

View Map

 

 

 

Bialowieza National Park

  • An ancient woodland straddling the border between the two countries, Belarus and Poland
  • It is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest which once spread across the European Plain
  • The border between the two countries runs through the forest
  • There is a border crossing for hikers and cyclists
  • The forest is home to 800 wisent, the continent’s heaviest land animals

View Map

 

 

 

Torun

  • An ancient city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River
  • Torun is one of the oldest cities in Poland
  • The medieval old town of Torun is the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus
  • National Geographic Polska rated the old town market and the Gothic town hall as one of the “30 Most Beautiful Places in the World.”

View Map

Etiquette

Communication Etiquette:
• Greetings are courteous yet reserved
– Handshake
– Direct eye contact
– Smile
– Appropriate greeting for the time of day
• Address people by their title of:
– Men – “Pan”
– Women “Pani”
• Judge others by their personal qualities
– Like to spend time to get to know people
• Honesty is highly valued in Poland
– Especially in business relationships
• Relationship levels can be determined by how direct someone is to another

Business Etiquette:
• There is a formal approach to business in Poland
– Shake hands with everyone upon arriving and leaving
– Handshakes are very firm and direct eye contact is valued
• Wait for women to extend their hand
– Title are very prestigious
– Wait to be invited to first name
– Business cards can be exchanged at initial meeting
– If possible have one side translated into polish
– Include all degrees that you may have
• These are seen as impressive
• Meetings will start with the most senior Pole opening
– Small talk ids the norm at the start of meetings
– Don’t rush any proceedings
– First few meetings will consist of a lot of small talk
– Decision making is based on a hierarchal basis

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