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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Situated at the centre of Europe, and the largest of the former Eastern European states, Poland's position is crucial. Poland has become one of the major destinations for travellers. Its beauty can be admired in both its old cities and in the wild scenery of its national parks and nature reserves. The country's regions are largely divided into horizontal bands: the Baltic Coast and the hilly post-glacial lake district. Central Poland is split into northern lowlands and southern uplands, including the Kraków-Wielun Upland with its limestone areas, caves and medieval castles. The Carpathian Mountains, including the Tatras, lie in the extreme south; their mountain scenery, folklore and sports facilities contributing to their charm.Poland is a nation with a proud cultural heritage, and theatre, music and opera companies abound. The former textile city of Lodz is proud of its film school, alma mater to directors Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieslowski. There is also a strong tradition of graphic design and glassware.Although the native soil for composer Frederick Chopin, scientist Marie Curie (neé Skladowska) and astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, Poland is best remembered for being the birthplace of the former Soviet bloc's first officially recognised independent mass political movement when strikes at the Gdansk shipyard in August 1980 led to agreement with the authorities on the establishment of the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) trade union. Elections in summer 1989 ushered in eastern Europe's first post-Communist government. Poland is a member of the European Union and has achieved success in creating a market economy and attracting foreign investment. Growth is slow-moving and growing pains are apparent in the high unemployment rate and mass exodus of qualified people to other countries in search of a decent wage, but the potential exists for a healthier economy