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Poland Country Guide

Explore Poland in Europe

Poland with the capital city Warsaw is located in Europe (Central Europe, east of Germany). It covers some 312,685 square kilometres (slightly smaller than New Mexico) with 38,500,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Poland

The terrain features mostly flat plain with mountains along southern border. The average density of population is approximately 123 per km². The notable climate conditions in Poland can be described as temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation with mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers. Potential natural disasters are flooding.

To reach someone in Poland dial +48 prior to a number. There are 9,556,000 installed telephones. And there are 44,553,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800/3G MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".pl". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Poland

Poland Flag Icon

Two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; colors derive from the Polish emblem - a white eagle on a red field note: similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white.

Poland's history as a state begins near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in central and eastern Europe. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force with over ten million members. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the Communist era to a close. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia
Capital: Warsaw
Size312,685 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 120,728 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than New Mexico
CurrencyName Zloty, Currency Code:PLN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).pl
Telephone Country Prefix+48
Mobile Phone Connections44,553,000
Landline Phone Connections9,556,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area312,685 (sq km)70

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population38,383,809 33
Population growth rate-0.09 (%)202
Birth rate9.88 (births/1,000 population)198
Death rate10.31 (deaths/1,000 population)46
Net migration rate-0.47 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)132
Maternal mortality rate5.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)175
Infant mortality rate6.30 (deaths/1,000 live births)169
Life expectancy at birth76.45 (years)77
Total fertility rate1.32 (children born/woman)212
Health expenditures7.50 (% of GDP)73
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.10 (%)153
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS27,000 70
HIV/AIDS - deaths200 109
Obesity - adult prevalence rate25.30 (%)56
Education expenditures5.10 (% of GDP)72
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2428.90 (%)30


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)814,100,000,000 22
GDP - real growth rate2.00 (%)136
GDP - per capita (PPP)20,900 69
Labor force17,920,000 34
Unemployment rate12.60 (%)131
Distribution of family income - Gini index34.10 92
Investment (gross fixed)20.30 (% of GDP)92
Taxes and other revenues18.30 (% of GDP)174
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.10 (% of GDP)86
Public debt53.80 (% of GDP)52
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.70 (%)104
Central bank discount rate4.00 (%)93
Commercial bank prime lending rate8.47 (%)109
Stock of narrow money152,800,000,000 25
Stock of broad money293,400,000,000 32
Stock of domestic credit335,400,000,000 33
Market value of publicly traded shares138,200,000,000 37
Industrial production growth rate0.80 (%)134
Current account balance-18,290,000,000 180
Exports192,300,000,000 27
Imports206,500,000,000 26
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold99,930,000,000 23
Debt - external364,200,000,000 30
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home194,900,000,000 24
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad44,890,000,000 38


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production156,400,000,000 (kWh)26
Electricity - consumption155,000,000,000 (kWh)26
Electricity - exports6,610,000,000 (kWh)25
Electricity - imports5,520,000,000 (kWh)36
Electricity - installed generating capacity35,760,000 (kW)24
Electricity - from fossil fuels91.20 (% of total installed capacity)74
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants6.10 (% of total installed capacity)124
Electricity - from other renewable sources2.70 (% of total installed capacity)50
Crude oil - production12,090 (bbl/day)80
Crude oil - exports3,615 (bbl/day)63
Crude oil - imports547,900 (bbl/day)18
Crude oil - proved reserves155,000,000 (bbl)67
Refined petroleum products - production636,000 (bbl/day)29
Refined petroleum products - consumption576,600 (bbl/day)31
Refined petroleum products - exports45,860 (bbl/day)62
Refined petroleum products - imports129,800 (bbl/day)43
Natural gas - production6,247,000,000 (cu m)50
Natural gas - consumption14,380,000,000 (cu m)40
Natural gas - exports29,000,000 (cu m)48
Natural gas - imports10,910,000,000 (cu m)25
Natural gas - proved reserves95,000,000,000 (cu m)56
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy309,900,000 (Mt)21


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use6,853,000 27
Telephones - mobile cellular50,160,000 28
Internet hosts13,265,000 12
Internet users22,452,000 19


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports125 46
Railways19,428 (km)15
Roadways423,997 (km)15
Waterways3,997 (km)28
Merchant marine9 118


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures1.90 (% of GDP)70

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)
The fortified walls, barbed wire, platforms, barracks, gallows, gas chambers and cremation ovens show the conditions within which the Nazi genocide took place in the former concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest in th ...
Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork
This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fe ...
Centennial Hall in Wrocław
The Centennial Hall, a landmark in the history of reinforced concrete architecture, was erected in 1911-1913 by the architect Max Berg as a multi-purpose recreational building, situated in the Exhibition Grounds. In form it is a symmetrical quatrefoi ...
Churches of Peace in Jawor and Świdnica
The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Ś widnica, the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century, amid the religious strife that followed the Peace of Westphalia. Constrained by the physi ...
Historic Centre of Kraków
The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants' town has Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with their magnif ...
Historic Centre of Warsaw
During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw's historic centre was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its ...
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a breathtaking cultural landscape of great spiritual significance. Its natural setting – in which a series of symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary was laid out at ...
Medieval Town of Toruń
Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid-13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It soon developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League. In the Old and New Town, t ...
Old City of Zamość
Zamosc was founded in the 16th century by the chancellor Jan Zamoysky on the trade route linking western and northern Europe with the Black Sea. Modelled on Italian theories of the 'ideal city' and built by the architect Bernando Morando, a native of ...
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
The deposit of rock salt in Wieliczka and Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century. This major industrial undertaking has royal status and is the oldest of its type in Europe. The site is a serial property consisting of Wieliczka and Bochnia sal ...
Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska
The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. Built using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe si ...
Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine
Situated in the eastern fringe of Central Europe, the transnational property numbers a selection of sixteen tserkvas (churches). They were built of horizontal wooden logs between the 16th and 19th centuries by communities of Orthodox and Greek Cathol ...