About Poland

Poland
located in Central Europe
total area –  12,696 km2  
population – over 38 mln

All information about the history of Poland, culture, cuisine and Siedlce city was prepared by students of Adam Mickiewicz Primary School No 4 in Siedlce supervised by English teachers as a unique project of cooperation between EURIPA Polska and the school.

The history of Poland

Poland’s history dates back to times when Slavic tribes arrived on this territory and settled down here. The first ruler was Mieszko I (from Piast dynasty) in the 10th century. In 966 duke Mieszko I converted to Christianity. The first coronation took place at Wawel Cathedral in Cracow in 1025 and the Kingdom of Poland began.

The Jagiellonian dynasty brought close ties with Lithuania.

In 1410 at the Battle of Tannenberg (Grunwald) the united forces of Poland and Lithuania completely destroyed the Teutonic Knights. The 16th century was Poland’s “Golden Age”. While it was a difficult religious time in Europe, Poland was very tolerant which attracted many refugees (Christians, Jews, Muslims). In 1596 king Zygmunt III Waza moved the capital from Cracow to Warsaw.

In the 17th century, the state was invaded by Swedes, “Swedish Deluge” left the country in ruins. The last great victory was in 1683 when the Polish king Jan III Sobieski saved Europe from invasion of Islam in the battle of Vienna.

In the 18th century the republic was in crisis. King Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (the last king of Poland) introduced many reforms. On 3rd May 1791 Europe’s first and the world’s second constitution was signed. Poland went under foreign influence. The rulers of Russia, Prussia and Austria involved Poland and divided its territory. The country disappeared from the map of Europe and until 1918 there was no independence in Polish state. Polish independence was still alive in the nation. Poles formed armies with Napoleon Bonaparte. They organized November Uprising (1830-1831) and January Uprising (1863- 1864) but they failed.

The outbreak of World War I gave Poland a chance to regain freedom. On 11th November 1918 Poland reappeared on the map of Europe after 123 years.

On 1st September 1939 Poland was invaded by the Nazi Germany and World War II began. On September 17th the Soviet Union attacked unexpectedly and the country was again divided between eastern and western powers. In 1944 the Warsaw Uprising broke out being the largest single military effort taken by any European resistance movement of World War II. After the War the country was in ruins.

Krzysztof, aged 13

Polish Cuisine

The most famous & traditional Polish dishes are:

BIGOS
Bigos consists of melt, sauerkraut, mushrooms, dried plums and sometimes peas. It is eaten all over the country. It is very popular at Christmas Eve.

ŻUREK
Żurek is a soup that all Poles like. It’s cooked with sourdough. People add sausages, eggs, and sometimes dried mushrooms. It is eaten mainly on Easter.

FAWORKI
Famous sweet food is called ‘faworki’. They are like cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar. By tradition they are eaten on The Fatty Thursday (last Thursday before the fast in the Catholic Church).

PIEROGI
Pierogi are probably the most famous dish in Poland. You can eat them with white cheese and sugar inside, blueberries, strawberries, but also with potatoes, onion, sauerkraut and meat. They taste best when they’re fried on a pan.

SILESIAN POTATO DUMPLINGS
They consist of potatoes, eggs, potato fluor, wheat fluor, salt and white pepper. Their shape is quite unusual – they look like  little ball with a small hole in the middle.

FLAKI
Flaki is the type of traditional Polish soup. Their ingredients are mainly beef, water, vegetables and spices. People in Poland usually eat flaki during holidays, family & friends meetings.

PORK CHOP
Kotlet Schabowy (Pork chop) is piece of meat, covered in egg and bread crumps and fried. It is served generally with potatoes and vegetable salad.  It is the most popular food in Poland. A lot of families cook it on Sunday and eat it together with rosół (chicken broth).

ROSÓŁ (CHICKEN BROTH)
It is the most famous soup in Poland. It is a bouillon from chicken meat and vegetables, served with noodles and parsley.

Gabriela & Maria, aged 13

 

Special thanks to Justyna Troć for sharing the professional photos.

HOLIDAYS IN POLAND

Poles are the nation which takes exceptional care to preserve traditions passed down through generations. Only few countries guard old customs so strongly.

The most important holidays in Poland are:

January 6th – Three King’s Day (Epiphany) a Christian feast day that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child in Bethlehem

Easter– the oldest and the most important Catholic holiday which celebrates the torment, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

May 3rd Constitution Day

November 11th– National Independence Day. Poland regained its independence after 123 years in 1918

December 24th– Christmas Eve. In this day families gather for a meal to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ

Igor, aged 13

Siedlce at glance

Siedlce is a city in Eastern Poland. It is the fourth largest city in the Mazovian voivodeship. It is really nice place to live- it is not too big, but you can find everything you need to enjoy yourself.

If you want to explore the city the best way is on foot or by bike. If you are interested in culture you must see the Ogiński Palace – the classicist mansion biult in 1730 by Kazimierz Czartoryski. Nawadays, the palace is used as vice-chancellor’s office of Siedlce University of Natural Science and Humanities. Don’t miss the walking around the Aleksandria Park nearby the palace. Worth seeing is also the most characteristic sacred neo – Gothic building in the town, which is St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral Church.

If you like history, you will enjoy visiting an art gallery located in Diocesan Museum. You can find there a painting by El Greco – “The Ectasy of Saint Francis”. It is the only El Greco painting in Poland.

If you are tired of sightseeing, why not relax in Siedlce aquapark or take a walk around the Siedlce water reservoir.

Alan, aged 13

 

Culture & History of Podlasie Region

Culture and History of Podlasie; 

Podlasie is one of the regions of Poland with a very diverse folklore, which consists of native traditions, national costumes, holidays and artistic creation of the region.
Podlasie’s folk costumes are colorful and rich in handmade decorations, such as an embroidered apron and a corset decorated with beads.
Men’s outfit is more modest than women’s. It consists of a shirt, wool pants and a Maciejówka hat. Feminine is distinguished by more colors and accessories.

Artistic events are an important part of commemorating traditional cultures. At such festivals you can see song and dance ensembles dressed in folk costumes.

Villages:
In the countryside, playing traditional instruments such as the zither has become popular. Slavic cultures developed dynamically in these areas. Pagan beliefs spread among the inhabitants. Currently, the population of these areas is usually Orthodox.

Bug River:
The Bug is one of the largest and most beautiful rivers in the area. It passes through 3 countries, which are: Poland, Belarus, Ukraine. Part of the river forms a natural border with Ukraine and Belarus. Once Bug was one of the most important waterways. However, the difficulty in transport was a small number of cities, ports and granaries on the river. This river is 772 kilometers long and is a tributary of the Narew. The Bug is one of the attractions for tourists and residents because it is an ideal place to relax and spend time in peace and quiet.

Facts:
Hańcza in the Podlasie is one of the largest and deepest lakes in Poland.
There are also 4 national parks there, i.e. Białowieski, Biebrzański, Wigierski and Narwiański.
In Białowieża there is the Białowieża Forest with bisons, which is part of the Białowieża National Park.

Wiktoria & Daria, aged 13

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