Located in Eastern Europe between Germany and Russia, Poland has endured a long history of struggle against invaders and oppressors before becoming the independent country that it is today. Poland is coming into its own as a travel destination with incredible medieval architecture, moving historical sites and beautiful, natural landscapes. Poland’s cities are a compelling blend of old and new—making cities like Krakow extremely popular with European and international visitors alike.
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Reminders of Poland’s long history of conquest and oppression are prevalent throughout the country. Poland’s many historical sites are a main draw for visitors. The magnificent gothic castle at Malbork was built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century and served as the capital of the Order for 150 years. The Monastery of Jasna Góra houses one of the most revered icons of the Virgin Mary—the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, which is credited with numerous miracles. Outside of Krakow, reminders of Poland’s tragic history during Nazi occupation can be seen at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Auschwitz.
Modern meets past
Poland's many cities highlight the modern attributes of the 21st century while embracing the country's past. Warsaw, the capital, was rebuilt after World War II, which destroyed the majority of the city. Today Warsaw is a dynamic, modern metropolis but still maintains a pristine Old Town—meticulously restored after the war. Poland’s most popular destination, Krakow, blends Gothic and Renaissance architecture with a vibrant café culture and nightlife. Not to be missed are Krakow’s Old Town, Wawel Castle and Jewish Quarter. Other cities such as Gdansk, Wroclaw and Torun also showcase numerous architectural, historical and culture attractions.
Poland is not just about cities and history. The country is also host to beautiful landscapes such as the Masurian Lake district, filled with lakes, rivers and rolling hills. Białowiński National Park runs along the coast and features unique scenery of lakes, meadows, bogs and sand dunes. The Białowieża National Park is host to hundreds of European bison and one of the largest remaining sections of primeval forest in Europe.