Interesting Facts About Poland for Kids
Poland, with the official name the Republic of Poland, is also known as Polska in Polish. The country got its name from the Lechitic tribe of western Polans, who inhabited the Warta River basin. People of Poland are known as Poles and speak the Polish language. Poland has a Jewish heritage, medieval architecture and is home to impressive historic castles, museums, and buildings. Take a look here at some interesting Poland facts and information for kids!
Geography of Poland for Kids
Poland’s geography is historically enriching, as its borders kept changing due to multiple invasions and wars. The facts for Poland given below are informative about Poland’s diverse geography.
- Being the 9th largest country, it borders Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
- Poland is 312,696 square kilometers in size, of which 98.52% is dry land, and the remaining 1.42% is covered with water.
- The population of Poland is about 38.5 million people and is the fifth most populous country of the European Union.
- Poland is divided into sixteen provinces, called Voivodeships. The largest voivodeships are Greater Poland, Silesian, and Masovian in terms of population.
- Most polish people live in large cities like Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Szczecin and Poznan.
- Poland is almost the same size as New Mexico and about 1.3 times larger than the United Kingdom.
- Poland’s topography is diverse, with access to the mountains, sea, and open terrain.
- 29.6% of Poland’s land area is covered with Forests. Lower Silesian Wilderness is the largest forest in Poland.
- The famous Carpathians and the Sudeten mountain ranges are found in Poland.
- To the northwest lies the Baltic seacoast from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk.
- The geographical high point in Poland is Rysy Peak in the Tatra Mountains, which is 2499 meters (8199 feet) high.
- The geographical low point is Raczki Elblaskie which is about -6 feet from sea level.
- More than 1300 lakes are housed in Poland.
- The famous and the longest rivers in Poland are Oder 531 miles (854 kilometers long and Lake Vistula 651 miles (1047 kilometers). Both of them flow into the Baltic Sea.
- Varied geography has led to different weather conditions in Poland. The climate is temperate across the country. It is oceanic in the northwest and warmer in the southeast.
- Summers are warm with an average temperature ranging from 64.4 °F & 86.0°F ( 18°C and 30°C), while the temperature in winters is around 37.4°F (3°C) in the northwest and 21°F (-6°C) in the northeast.
History of Poland for Kids
Throughout history, Polish people have traveled worldwide to find a better life and living conditions in different countries. Poland’s history has defining moments that you will get to know as you read the facts on Poland’s history.
- Settlers in Poland have been living since 2000 BC
- Mieszko was the first ruler of Poland in 936 AD
- Queen Jadwiga of Poland married the Duke of Lithuania, Wladyslaw II Jagiello, in 1386 and united both the countries.
- Poland and Lithuania annexed Ukraine and parts of Russian territory in the 16th century. This made Russians a major opponent of Poland.
- Poland got into wars with Russia, Sweden, and Turkey. However, Sweden’s invasion and Russian advances in the Polish territory created a major crisis in 1655. The Polish fought back and gained it in 1683, which also prevented the Turkish invasion.
- In 1772 Russia, Prussia and Austria annexed part of Poland and occupied the remaining territory in 1795.
- In 1807 French Emperor Napoleon I formed a small and weak Polish state. However, the Russian emperor Alexander- I occupied it and allowed a Russian-controlled Polish kingdom. Russians suppressed Polish culture and institutions resulting in the complete extinction of Poland as an individual political state.
- Russians fought Germany & Austria on Polish territory during World War-I. With French support Poland became independent in 1918, making Jozef Pilsudski the head of the state.
- The Poles and Soviets signed a peace treaty in 1921. However, political instability and unrest developed after Pilsudski died in 1935.
- In the 1930s, Nazi Germany demanded the annexation of the free city of Gdansk by forming events on the Polish-German border.
- The Battle of Krojanty was a face-off between the Polish Army and the Germans at World War II in 1939, where the Germans soundly defeated the Polish forces.
- Nazi Germany invaded Poland on 1st September 1939, forcing France and Britain to declare war.
- The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland on 17th September 1939. The Germans and the Soviet Union annexed parts of the Polish Territory.
- During this time, the Jewish population was forced into Ghettos and slowly moved to Death Camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Majdanek.
- The Germans brutally suppressed the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. 4300 mass graves of Polish officers were discovered near Smolensk in the Soviet Union
- In 1944 Soviet army entered Poland while the Germans were in control. The fight went on for more than two months, and by the end, Warsaw was destroyed.
- In 1945, after the Potsdam Conference, Poland began to gain areas in the West under German control, along with upper Silesia, Szczecin, Baltic coastline, and parts of Gdansk.
- In 1956 Wladyslaw Gomulka returned to power as the first secretary of Poland’s communist party. The government took over businesses during this period, arrested, jailed, and killed people who disagreed with the communist government.
- The Gomulka government fell after the bloody riots of 1970. Much unrest continued until the 1980s, with an increase in prices and the economy going down.
- Solidarity was restored on 5th April 1980 and won most seats of the new senate. Tadeusz Mazowiecki became Poland’s first non-communist Prime Minster after 40 years.
- In the late 1990’s Poland’s economy improved, slowing down inflation and increase in employment. In 1999 Poland became a member of NATO.
- On 1st May 2004, Poland became a member of the European Union.
Cultural Facts About Poland
The Cultural facts will help you understand what life is like in Poland and its various cultural aspects.
- Religion plays an essential role in the life of the Polish people. The majority of Poland’s population is Roman Catholic.
- Roman Catholic Churches have immense social and political influence in Poland. The minority population includes Jews, Orthodox Christians, Protestants, and Muslims.
- Literature has been one of the most important cultural contributions to the world from Poland. Polish writers and poets have been thriving since the early 1500s.
- Henryk Sienkiewicz and Wladyslaw Reymont won Nobel Prize for literature in the late 1890s and early 1900s. From the postwar period, Poets Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska also received Nobel Prizes for literature in 1980 and 1996, respectively.
- Music has played a significant role in Polish culture. Frederic Chopin’s work reflects Polish National Spirit, after which world-famous pianists like Ignacy Paderewski, Artur Rubinstein, and other music composers emerged in the 20th century.
- Poland does have several chamber music groups and symphony orchestras.
- Even today, folk music is played in Poland during traditional dances like Mazur, Krakowiak, etc.
- Poland has a list of eminent painters and artists of international reputation from the 19th century till today.
- Poland holds a lot of Film festivals, Music festivals, Street Art festivals, and Medieval Festivals.
- Polish people are very hospitable; they treat visitors at homes like royals.
Polish Food Facts
Polish food has been evolving over the centuries. It has similarities with Jewish, German, Austrian, French, Italian, and even Turkish culinary traditions.
- The polish food is rich in meat, chicken, pork, beef, winter vegetables, and spices.
- Cream, milk, cheese, and butter are used in abundance in Polish cuisine.
- Poland’s national and famous food is Pierogi. It is a dumpling made of meat and cheese or strawberries and blueberries.
- Traditional food still widely popular is Bigos, a stew made of sausages, mushrooms, and cabbage. Borscht is a soup which is made of beetroot.
- Every year, 100 million Polish donuts are eaten on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.
- Vodka is the traditional alcohol of Poland. It is served at weddings, anniversaries, and birthday parties.
- Polish Vodka is world-famous and is known to be of the highest quality.
- Gifting Vodka is common in Polish culture and is seen as a symbol of sympathy.
- Honey Mead has been the traditional alcoholic beverage followed by beer, wine, and vodka. Other beverages like coffee and tea have been popular since the 18th and 19th century respectively.
- Polish people don’t use tomato sauce on their pizza. When you order a Pizza in a restaurant, the waiter will get you some ketchup or sauce to put over the cooked pizza.
- Ice cream, also known as lody, cheesecake, pastry, cream pies, rice baked with apples, and pancakes are the most loved desserts in Poland.
Facts About Animals in Poland
Animals found in Poland are similar to what is found in other European countries. Pollution and wars over the years have hurt and damaged the animal population depending on these habitats
- Poland is known for its horse breeding across Europe
- Bailowieza Forest of Poland is home to the world’s largest population of European bison or wisent. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
- The forests of Poland are a habitat for many European endangered species like wild horses, brown bears, chamois goats, Eurasian lynxes.
- Poland has 100 bird sanctuaries, 23 national parks, and 1269 nature reserves.
- Cranes, Swans, and Grouse are the commonly found birds in lakes and forests.
- The largest population of beautiful white storks (more than 40,000 pairs) live in Poland
- Game animals like the roe deer, wild boar, and red deer are found in the woodlands of Poland.
- The Polish government is making a conscious effort in reversing the damages to its forests and is continuously building more parks and nature reserves to grow the animal population.
Other Interesting Facts About Poland for Children
Apart from the facts mentioned above, there is a host of miscellaneous facts about Poland. Here are a few:
- The city of Warsaw is the capital of Poland.
- Warsaw is considered a global city and is often ranked as the most livable city of Easter and Central Europe.
- The flag of Poland has two horizontal stripes of white and red. The white is from the white eagle of Poland, and the red is from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
- Polish is the first language spoken by 97% of the population living in Poland and is also the official language of Poland.
- Poland has more than 15 Nobel Prize Laureates, with five in literature and four in Peace.
- Polish Zloty is the currency of Poland.
- There are 32 letters in the alphabet of the Polish Language.
- Polish is one of the most challenging languages to learn, speak, pronounce, and write.
- There are a lot of beautiful castles for visitors.
- Poland produces more than 260 million liters of vodka every year and exports it to countries worldwide.
- The Jagiellonian University, founded by King Casimir III in 1364, is the second oldest university globally.
- Nicolaus Copernicus is the world’s most famous astronomer and is also known as the Renaissance Mathematician.
- Polish men kiss women on their hands to greet them. It is a gesture to indicate respect, friendship, and sympathy.
- Newborn boys get the last name that ends with ‘cka’ or ‘cki,’ and baby girls with ‘ska’ or ‘ski.’
- Poland disappeared from the world map between 1772 and 1795
- Christmas Eve and Easter are two main important holidays in Poland
- The white eagle is the national symbol of Poland
- Marie Curie, the famous physicist, chemist, and Nobel Laureate, couldn’t attend university as she was a woman.
- Poland is famous for its ‘Wieliczka Salt Mine.’ The largest underground tourist attraction of Europe.
- The national anthem of Poland is “Mazurek Dabrowskiego,” which means “Poland Is Not Yet Lost.”
A country that once witnessed a turbulent history and suffered years of invasion and war has rebuilt it from scratch. Today Poland is known for its beautiful cities, music, and food. In this way, with these Poland interesting facts and information, kids can learn a lot about the country’s rich history, culture, geography, and other diverse and interesting facts.