Polish Culture: Beyond Pierogi and Cabbage
Poland - Land of Green and Golden Fields
Welcome to Polish Culture! Here is a location on the Internet where you can read some short articles, find some little known links and overall learn a little bit more about modern-day Poland and Polonia - people of Polish descent who live outside Poland.
Poland, located in central Europe, is bordered on the west by Germany, in the north by the Baltic Sea, on the north-east by Russia and Lithuania, on the east by Belarus and Ukraine, and on the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Mining and manufacturing are the two largest industries, while services like retail, banking and finance, car services and food services like restaurants and cafeterias make up the rest of the economic output. Tourism continues to grow. Although the majority of tourists arrive from neighboring countries, American tourists showed the most substantial gains between 1995 and 1999 (the last years for which statistics seem to be available).
Read On for More
If you like what you find here, please tell your friends and rate this page; if you don't find what you are looking for or have ideas about what you'd like to see included here, leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. Also, be sure to vote in the Poll below.
Thank you for reading! Now, a little bit about modern Poland and its history.
Map of Poland Showing Topography
Poland's Administrative Areas Showing Cities and Larger Towns
In a Nutshell: Poland's Place in World Politics
Tiny Poland, located in central Europe, maintains its position as a crossroads between eastern and western European countries and cultures. While Poland's national origins date to the 10th century, its borders have repeatedly shifted due to a history of aggression and warfare initiated by neighboring countries. Border changes at the end of World War II (1945) could have overwhelmed the national mentality and culture.
Modern Politics and Alliances
However, today, tiny Poland, the 8th most densely populated country in Europe, is a free democracy and looks to align itself with western countries. In 1999, Poland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in 2004, the European Union (EU). Its citizens welcome prosperity while continuing to develop and enhance for visitors the country's history, folk culture, impressive architecture, and beautiful natural landscape.
Easy-To-Read Map of Modern Poland
Medieval Locations within Poland
Interesting Places to Visit in Poland
This is a small village composed almost exclusively of the 16th - 17h century Polish wooden houses (góralskie chaty) built by the Góral highlanders. It became known as the place of Chochołów Uprising of 1846 (Powstanie chochołowskie) against the foreign oppression throughout the nineteenth-century Austrian Partition of Poland. The village economy is closely related to the near-by popular Polish-Slovak border crossing.
2. History abounds in Warsaw
Even though Warsaw was completely rebuilt after WWII, it still a fascinating city. Here are some Warsaw sites few people mention or visit, but which are important to the Polish people:
- Warsaw's Old Town Market Square and its surroundings, the Old Town (Stare Miasto, also called Starowka), is a reconstruction that contains many homes with their outdoor living spaces.
- St. John's Cathedral was completely destroyed during WWII and recently rebuilt. Embedded in the wall along a side section and placed there as a memorial is a portion of a German small tank track used in one phase of the destruction.
- The National Museum (Warsaw) holds a rich collection of Medieval art in the permanent exhibition. There are works from Polish lands as well as pieces created in other prominent European art centers.
Little Known Warsaw - Look carefully to find remnants and reconstructions of medieval time
Little Known Warsaw
- Lunch on a budget in Warsaw
What can hungry tourists as well "Varsovians" eat for a cheap and filling lunch in Warsaw? There are many options of where to eat an adventuresome lunch for less than 20 Polish zloty, while broadening one's culinary horizons.
- The Royal Castle in Warsaw - Museum - The Gardens of the Royal Castle in Warsaw
The Gardens were first planted in medieval times. In 2013, construction and conservation works were initiated to restore the perfect form of WWII completely damaged gardens. Now, an excellent spot to rest and admire the castle and its gardens.
- The Warsaw Uprising Monument
Walking to the Old Town in Warsaw on ul. Długa or heading to the Żoliborz district along ul. Miodowa, on Krasiński Square, there is a scene that seems to be taken from a war film. Here is a group of sculptures comprising the Warsaw Uprising Monument.
- About the Museum | POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
The idea to create a Museum of the History of Polish Jews emerged at the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute. This idea soon secured support both in Poland and abroad.
- The Warsaw Rising Museum
This museum opened on the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of fighting in Warsaw. The Museum is a tribute of Warsaw’s residents to those who fought and died for independent Poland and its free capital.
Warsaw - Polish Army Museum
3. Krakow: A Perfect Polish Town
Krakow (Cracow) is one of the largest and oldest cities in Poland. It is also regarded by many, including residents, to be the cultural capital of Poland. It is the perfect Polish town to visit if you are "into" history. The city is relatively inexpensive and easy to reach via either train or plane. This city was not damaged much during World War II (1939-45). However, the Jewish population was basically annihilated. There is a lot for history buffs to see and admire. In 1978, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) placed Krakow on the list of World Heritage Sites. Krakow maintains the largest medieval intact marketplace in continental Europe.
A Central Point from Which to Explore the Region
Krakow is a good central point from which to reach other interesting places in central Poland such as the Beskid and Tatra Mountains; and historical places like the Auschwitz- Birkenau Concentration Camps, Wieliczka Salt Mines, and Jasna Gora with the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, and check out the McDonald's near the Florian Gate.
Some Other Highlights
1 - The Jagiellonian University is wonderful with old buildings, but more modern facilities are spread out over the city.
2 - The market square (Rynek Glowny) "comes alive" after about 9pm especially on the weekends There are bands, food, general good times; police crack down on rowdiness and drunks.
3 - There are lots of wonderful free and inexpensive classical music concerts.
4 - The Royal Wawel Castle, the Wawel Cathedral and archaeological ruins on the grounds.
Musicians Dressed in Krakow's Regional Costume
Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral (left), Krakow
Polish Saints - An Evolving Calender of Feastdays and Celebrations
As seasons roll around so do the feast days of saints recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Nowhere else like Poland are the Church and People so connected. Here is a list I am slowly building of Polish saints, their feast days and some little known facts about them. This list of Polish saints, once completed, will read like a history, an animated history of Poland.
Online Links to Polish Saints in the R. Catholic Church
- St. Casimir of Poland
March 4 Patron saint of Poland and Lithuania, some say Russia. Born in 1458 or 1460; canonized in 1522 by Pope Adrian VI. The third of thirteen children of King Casimir IV and Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of Albert II of Hapsburg born in the royal
- St. Stanislaus, bishop and martyr
Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr Memorial - April 11th St. Stanislaus was born at Szczepanw, in the Diocese of Cracow, July 26, 1030.
- Blessed Helen of Poland
Blessed Jolenta (Yolanda or Helen) of Poland, also Helen of Hungary June 12, (some sources say June 11; others June 15)
- St. Kateri Tekawitha - Lily of the Mohawks
July 14 St. Kateri Tekakwitha Beatified by Pope John Paul II; Canonized by Pope Benedict on 10/21/2012. Why include a native North American woman among a list of Polish saints? Many Poles venerate Kateri Tekakwitha.
- St. Kunigunde
Memorial Day - July 24 Sister to Blessed Jolenta of Poland
- The Black Madonna of Czestochowa: Queen of Poland
August 26 is the day observed as the Feast Day of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa because it was on this day in 1382 that the icon was placed by Prince Ladislaus of Belz in the small Church of The Assumption that stood on Jasna Gora.
- St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
October 5 St. Maria Faustina's name is linked to the annual feast of the Divine Mercy (celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter), the divine mercy chaplet and the divine mercy prayer recited each day by many people at 3 p.m.
- St. John Paul II
October 22 is the feast day of Blessed John Paul II (1920-2005). It is celebrated each year in Rome and the dioceses of Poland and in the U.S. This is the day on which he was inaugurated as pope in 1978.
- Blessed Honoratus Kozminski (1825-1916)
December 16 Blessed Honoratus Kozminski (1825-1916) was born in Biala Podlaska (Siedlce, Poland) and studied architecture at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Given name was Wenceslaus. In 1848 he received the Capuchin habit and a new name.
- St. John Kanty (Cantus) - (23 June 1390 - 24 December 1473)
December 24 A Polish saint for Christmas...Jon died on December 24 in Krakow where he had spent most of his entire adult life teaching at the Jagellonian University. John's motto: "Conturbare cave: non est placare suave, Infamare cave; nam revocare
From Pope John Paul II to St. John Paul II
The Miraculous Icon of The Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland and Jasna Gora Monastery
This miraculous painting of Our Lady, the Mother of God, in the style of an icon, is housed at the Jasna Gora (Shining or Luminous Hill) monastery. It is the monastery's most valuable treasure and is housed in the Chapel of the Virgin at the heart of the monastery. The image is painted on a board that measures 81.5 x 121.7 cm (approximately 32 x 48 inches) and shows (without the jeweled coverings) as in this illustration a standing Virgin holding the infant Christ. Jasna Gora is now Poland's most famous Marian shrine among the many others throughout Poland.
"Our Lady of Czestochowa" - "Queen of Poland"
Really stoneware, the Polish pottery (Bolesławiec pottery) is traditionally made from white clay found in the Bolesławiec region of Poland. The pottery is fired twice at very high temperatures. Artisans use sponge stencils for hand stamping patterns onto the pottery. The eye of the peacock feather is a traditional designs and was a sign of prosperity and wealth. Polish pottery is durable and functional, although somewhat heavy in weight, It is conveniently amazing safe for use in the oven, microwave and dishwasher.
Do you collect Polish pottery?
Polish Culture in Photography
Digital Images Made During Trips to Poland - Summers, 2005, 2006 & 2007
Some representative images of modern Poland found within my photographs may be found on Pinterest.
Green and gold backgrounds represent Poland or Polanie, the Land of Fields / Living on the Field.
- Our Lady of Czestochowa, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Pope John II, diverse images of the Virgin Mary and Christ, and amber rosaries symbolize ties with and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Amber represents a continuing source of commerce from prehistory to current times.
- Solidarity represents the establishment of the first Autonomous Trades Unions and the official end to the Communist-dominated Polish People's Republic more than a quarter-century ago.
- Crocheted lace and pottery signify folk crafts as well as expanding international markets. They also represent the beautiful and tough women who have kept these crafts alive.
Poland's Cities and Countryside in Pictures - Websites Available in a Variety of Languages
- Daniel Schultz the Younger
Page about Daniel Schultz the Younger, the most important and famous Polish Baroque painter born in Gdansk about 1615. Paintings reflect the countryside as well as people of the Baroque period.
- An Archive of Pictures of Poland
An incredible archive of pictures of modern Poland. Some of these are of little known spots as well as the more typical tourist areas.
- Site dedicated to the black stork.
The monitoring of the migration to Africa of the black stork. Includes tools to make it easier for you to follow this journey, with a lot of interactivity and useful information as possible.
- Jasna Gora - Sanktuarium -
Sanctuary of the Mother of God at Jasna Gora (Bright/Shining Hill) at Czestochowa Referred to as "Our Lady of Czestochowa" The miraculous painting of Our Lady, Mother of God, is Jasna GÃ³ra's most valuable treasure. Jasna GÃ³ra is now Poland's most
A Visit to Poland
Polish-American Communities - Polonia in the United States -
A Visit to Poland
Have you ever thought about visiting Poland?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2007 Georgene Moizuk Bramlage