What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Poland? Posted by Kasia on Aug 8, 2019 in Culture, Places to visit
What do people think of when they hear about Poland today? The first person people mention is Pope John Paul II, then Solidarity and Lech Wałęsa. Some people remember Frederic Chopin or Copernicus (if they know they were Polish), while film enthusiast know of Wajda or Kieślowski. People talk about Polish vodka, beautiful Polish women and amazing Polish food!
But besides all these common things and names, there is a beautiful, natural, quiet country…Just simple nature that I love.
Poland is changing every day, but it has never lost its identity and somewhat old-fashioned charm. Tourists visiting Poland value the country mostly for its unspoiled naturalness. A man with horses ploughing a field, crosses and roadside shrines and crazy scarecrows in the fields bring to mind an open air ethnographic museum, except these are not just for show.
In Poland you can still lose yourself in time among ancient oaks and chestnut trees in the parks or on the porch of a small village house, sitting with older people, listening to their stories from the past.
Nature was definitely very generous to Poland, providing it with a beautiful and extraordinary diversified landscape, enriched by a colorful culture and stormy history. It has the waves of the sea wash its shores and the rocky alpine peaks of the Tatry Mountains look down on it’s lands.
It’s like Europe in a nutshell! Puck Bay, which has steep cliffs and wide, sandy beaches, could be the envy of French Riviera. We have Kashubian Switzerland, Polish Venice in Bydgoszcz and the beautiful land of thousand lakes – Mazury. The land of the lakes may not be equal to the one in Finland in size, but definitely matches it’s beauty. We also have some of the wildest forest in Europe – The Białowieża Primeval Forest inhabited by the mighty bison! There are swift mountain streams and vast wetlands, bright green meadows, deep ravines and gorges and moving sand dunes! Beautiful castles and palaces bring to mind the stormy history of Poland.
When you ask Poles, they would say the symbols of our country are the Wawel Castle, the stork, the bison, Jasna Góra Monastery, amber (known here as a baltic gold) and a Vistula River. And of course, the eagle and the white and red flag of the nation!
In spite of all these wonderful cultural and natural treasures we have been fighting a long battle with Western European stereotypes which have developed over many years in the minds of our neighbors, in the minds of generations of people. The images of poor, grey communist country have been relegated to the past. Today there is a brand new Poland, beautiful, fascinating and hospitable.
What do you picture when you think of Poland? Please share it with us in the comments!
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