poland for tourists
Travellers who have had the opportunity to visit Poland for either a vacation or work-related reasons will agree that the country provides unforgettable experiences for tourists. Many restored old town complexes, spectacular scenery, an abundance of culture and more than 1000 years of turbulent history.
Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of European history will know that Polandís history has been turbulent. Between 1795 and 1918, Poland disappeared from Europeís maps and then re-emerged once more independent and proud. Soon they hope to join the European Community. Many of itís towns and monuments remind you of the turbulent history. Auschwitz comes to mind as does Polandís participation in the Battle of Vienna (1683). The battle of Legnica, the crusaders of Malbork at the battle of Grunwald, facts of history that are well know to Polish schoolchildren.
Krakůw: this important tourist city was the royal capital for 500 years. No other city in Poland has so many historic buildings and monuments (for more information on the European Cultural Capital in 2000 we refer you to Tourist Attractions). The capital of Poland, Warszawa, is a blend of old and new Ė respecting tradition but with an outlook to the future. Destroyed during World War II but meticulously rebuilt and offering the visitors: theatre, museums, bazaars and music (Frederic Chopin being one of the best known composers). Warszawa is Polandís most cosmopolitan, dynamic and progressive urban centre. Numerous embassies are housed there including the Dutch embassy in a fine new building. A few interesting cities in a row: Toruń, Wrocław (Breslau), Poznań, Zamość, Lublin.
Poland has an abundance of national parks. The most well-known are undoubtedly Białowieża, the largest original lowland forest in Europe and home to the bison. Karkonosze, just south of Jelenia Góra, stretching up to the Czech border. Tatry (with itís bare granite peaks Ė the High Tatraís) close to Zakopane, Polandís winter sport capital. Pieniński National Park offers the thrill of a raft ride on the Dunajec River. All nature enthusiasts will enjoy the rocky crags of the mountains in the south or the golden sands of itís Baltic coastal beaches to the north. Enjoy the wonderful network of the Mazurian Lakes and the green wilds of the Bieszczady Mountains to hike in.
Polandís distinct sense of culture shows itself in the numerous music-, opera and (folk) dance ensembles. Apart from the well-established national or international film, theatre and music festivals (for example in Sopot or Mrągowo) there are many small local feasts, fairs, competitions etc., many involving local folklore. A boat trip over the main part of the Elbląg - Ostróda canal shows the wonders of 19th century engineering. Wieliczka is famous for itís salt mine which has been operating uninterrupted for 700 years.