Poland (Polish: Polska ?p?lska ( listen)), officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska,a About this sound listen (help?info)), is a country in Central Europe,11 bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) and Lithuania to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi),9 making it the 71st largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people,9 Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world,12 the 8th most populous country in Europe and the sixth most populous member of the European Union, as well as the most populous post-communist member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions.
Despite the large number of casualties and destruction the country experienced during World War II, Poland managed to preserve much of its cultural wealth. There are 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage19 and 54 Historical Monuments and many objects of cultural heritage in Poland.
Try local food
Poland is famous for natural green food products. It is a great treasure of many regions - delicious smoked sausage, delicate cottage cheese, little vineyards, every region has some culinary secrets - they are waiting for you to discover. If you think that the polish cuisine is just a "bigos" or "pierogi", you should get to know more about it. In the mountains you can try unique smoked sheep cheese called "oscypek", delicious trout from organic farming, and full of flavor soups. Try local specialties, take some away and share them with your friends.
Some facts about Cracow
Kraków (Polish pronunciation: ?krakuf About this sound listen (help?info)), also Cracow or Krakow (US English /?kr??ka?/, UK English /?kr?ka?/),23 is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century.4 Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland from 1038 to 1569; the Polish?Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596;5 the Free City of Kraków from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1998. It has been the capital of Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999.
The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965.4 With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000, with approximately 8 million additional people living within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of its main square.6