Poland is a nation with a proud cultural heritage. Its roots can be traced back over 1,000 years. Poland’s position in the centre of Europe, has caused great turbulence in the past, but nowadays results in vast amounts of business coming from countries all around. The history of Poland has seen periods of independence and times of domination. In May 2004, Poland joined the European Union and since then, it has enjoyed a new era.
Poland was the birthplace of Solidarity – the former Soviet bloc’s first officially recognised independent mass political movement. The roots of political freedom were temporarily subdued a short time later when communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law. But the movement towards democracy was irreversible. Elections in summer 1989 ushered in eastern Europe’s first post-communist government. The presence of Pope John-Paul II was an important influence on Solidarity throughout the 1980s.
Most of the country is located on lowlands. In the southern part, there are two major mountainous areas – the Carpathians and the Sudetes. The Baltic sea is to the north and the coastline measures 770 km. The longest river is the Vistula. The climate is moderate. The average summer temperature ranges from 20 °C to 30 °C. Winters are often cold – the average temperatures range from 3 °C in the northwest to –8 °C in the northeast.
The success of Poland
This country has made major economic improvements since the fall of communism. This has been particularly noticeable since joining the European Union. In 2009, when many European economies were contracting as a result of the credit crunch, Poland was the only country in Europe to experience economic growth. It has successfully created a market economy and attracted vast amounts of foreign investment. Germany is now Poland’s biggest trading partner. Soon after joining the European Union many workers left Poland, but the exodus has now slowed down as a result of the global economic crisis in 2009. Poland has a huge farming sector. Agriculture accounts for approximately 60% of the land area. Warsaw’s profile on the international stage was raised by its support of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Poland has joined the border-less Europe agreement. It has open borders to Germany, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Slovakia etc. It is on track to adopt the Euro currency in a few years time.