With almost ten thousand closed bodies of water covering more than 1 hectare (2.47 acres) each, Poland has one of the highest numbers of lakes in the world. In Europe, only Finland has a greater density of lakes. Poland’s largest lakes are four in number and covering more than 100 square kilometers (39 sq mi).
Total area: 312,685 km² (120,696 sq. miles)
Population: 38,501,000 (2011 census)
Poland (officially as the Republic of Poland), is a country in Central Europe, bordered by the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south and by Germany to the west; the countries to the eastern border are Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. What remains of its neighbors is the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. It is the 9th largest country in Europe in terms of area and the sixth most populous member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state made up of 16 voivodeships. Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and many other Organizations and Councils, including being part of the Schengen Agreement. There are currently 14 heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Poland, despite the losses it suffered in World War II.
Polish climate is mostly temperate throughout the country. The climate is oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east. Given on the region, summers are generally warm, with average temperatures between 18 °C (64 °F) and 30 °C (86.0 °F); similarly, winters are rather cold, with average temperatures around 3 °C (37.4 °F) in the northwest and −6 °C (21 °F) in the northeast. Precipitation falls throughout the year, although, especially in the east; winter is drier than summer.
An array of indicative commodities produced in Poland include: electronics, cars, buses, helicopters and other transport equipment, locomotives, planes, ships, military engineering, medicines, food, clothes, glass, pottery and chemical products.
According to a Credit Suisse report, Poles are the second wealthiest (after Czechs) of the Central European peoples. This makes Poland an attractive destination for many guest workers particularly from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Vietnam. Even though Poland is rather an ethnically homogeneous country, the number of foreigners is growing every year.
Although the Polish economy is currently undergoing economic development, there are many challenges lying ahead. The most notable task on the horizon is the preparation of the economy (through continuing deep structural reforms) to allow Poland to meet the strict economic criteria for entry into the Eurozone. According to the Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski the country could join the eurozone before 2016. Some businesses may already accept the euro as payment. In addition, the ability to establish and conduct business easily has been cause for economic hardship as the World Economic Forum recently ranked Poland near the bottom of OECD countries in terms of the clarity, efficiency and neutrality of its legal framework for firm to settle disputes.
The privatization of small and medium state-owned companies and a liberal law on establishing new firms have allowed the development of an aggressive private sector. Poland's high-income economy is considered to be one of the healthiest of the post-Communist countries and is currently one of the fastest growing within the EU. Having a strong domestic market, low private debt, flexible currency, and not being dependent on a single export sector, Poland is the only European economy to have avoided the late-2000s recession.
Since the fall of the communist government, Poland has steadfastly pursued a policy of liberalising the economy and today stands out as a successful example of the transition from a centrally planned economy to a primarily market-based economy. In 2009 Poland had the highest GDP growth in the EU. As of February 2012, the Polish economy has not entered a recession in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The Polish banking sector is the largest in central and eastern Europe as well being as the largest and the most highly developed sector of the country’s financial markets. It is regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. During the transformation to a market-oriented economy, the government privatized some banks, recapitalized the rest and introduced legal reforms that made the sector competitive. This has attracted a significant number of strategic foreign investors. Poland’s banking sector has approximately 5 domestic banks, a network of nearly 600 cooperative banks and 18 branches of foreign-owned banks. In addition, foreign investors have controlling stakes in nearly 40 commercial banks, which make up 68% of the banking capital.
Poland has a large number of private farms in its agricultural sector, with the potential to become a leading producer of food in the European Union.
Today transport in Poland is provided by means of rail, road, shipping and air travel. Positioned in Central Europe and with an eastern border compromising the largest external border of the Schengen Area with the rest of East-Central Europe, Poland has long been, and remains a key country through which imports to and exports from the European Union pass.
Source: Wikipedia (2012)
Poland is the 14th most visited country by foreign tourists and a part of the global tourism market with constantly increasing number of visitors, particularly after joining the European Union. The number of International tourist arrivals in Poland was 13,350,000 in 2011 up 7%, compared to 2010’s figures (Polish Institute of Tourism).
Poland The most popular cities are Kraków, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Warsaw, Poznań, Lublin, Toruń and the historic site of Auschwitz - German nazi concentration camp in Oświęcim. The best recreational destinations include Poland's Masurian Lake District, Baltic Sea coast, Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range of Carpathians), Sudetes and Białowieża Forest. Poland's main tourist offers consist of sightseeing within cities and out-of-town historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, mountain hiking (trekking) and climbing among others.
The nationalities of visitors to Poland vary greatly, but the top 10 countries by number of arrivals providing tourists (in Millions) to Poland in 2011 were:
1. Germany 4.59
2. Ukraine 1.58
3. Belarus 1.22
4. Lithuania 0.63
5. Russia 0.50
6. Great Britain 0.46
7. Netherlands 0.35
8. Austria 0.32
9. Latvia 0.30
10. Italy 0.29
Sources: Survey and estimation by Institute of Tourism-Poland, Wikipedia
Car Hire in the Poland with MisterHire.Com
The most attractive urban destinations for tourists are Kraków, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Warsaw, Poznan, Lublin and Torun; in addition to these the historic site of the Auschwitz German concentration camp near Oswiecim is a noteworthy place of pilgrimage and a now constitutes a major monument to the prevention of war and suffering in Southern Poland. Popular areas of natural beauty include northeast Poland's Masurian Lake District and Bialowieza Forest, in southern Karkonosze, Table Mountains, Tatra Mountains and Bieszczady Mountains. Poland's main tourist offerings are thought to be based around city-sightseeing and extra-urban historical monuments, business trips, qualified tourism, agrotourism, and mountain hiking, among others.
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Speed limits in the Poland
Speed limits in Poland are as follows:
City: 50 km/h (31 mph)
Open Road: 90 km/h (56 mph)
Dual Carriageway: 100-120 km/h (62-75 mph)
Motorway: 140 km/h (87 mph)
Poland has strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0.2 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood - much stricter than the UK where the limit is 0.8
Sources: AngloInfo, drive-alive