Poland: An Overview - Part 3 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Literacy rates are high, at a shade under 100 per cent. Poles are well educated, and young people in the larger cities speak good English much more so than German or Russian. They are up to date on fashions, trends, music and technology and they welcome visitors with unrestrained hospitality.
A TRUE BLEND OF EAST AND WEST
Poland’s history as a territory coveted by great powers all around it ensured that the north and south divisions often seen elsewhere are, here, primarily east and west divisions. The west is more Germanic, organised, pragmatic and industrious, while the East has a reputation of being more Russian; which means in short, relaxed, cultural and introspective. Poznan, for example, revels in its business skills and organisational attitude. Kraków, the ancient capital much closer to Ukraine than Germany, is just as proud of its free-flowing cultural prowess.
The Poles are a Slavic people, like their Ukrainian and Russian neighbours to the east. Yet their historical and cultural connections to the West are formidable. The Catholic Poles first took their religious cues from the West in the 10th century. Cultural epochs basic to Western Europe such as the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, for example, were just as much a part of Polish society. The shared identity, as well as the uneasy conflicts, between East and West, have defined this land in ways that go far beyond geography.
LIFE POST AFTER COMMUNISM
Poland has made incredible strides in the years since the breakup of Communist Europe in 1989. Its people are intensely proud of Copernicus, who revolutionised the way we understand our universe and they revel in the fact that Poland signed the second oldest Constitution delineating government powers. They recognise the role that a little known shipyard electrician in Gdansk by the name of Lech Walesa had in indelibly changing the events of the second half of the 20th century. As a nation, they turned out in great adoring hordes for the late Pope John Paul II, while the older generation still live with the horrors of death camp atrocities. Poland may only now be developing as a world travel destination, but it is certainly no stranger to the world stage.
WHAT TO DO
From markets stalls and shopping malls to folk bands and opera, Poland offers a wealth of shopping and entertainment opportunities to suit all tastes and budgets. At night, the country doesn’t disappoint either with a wealth of pubs, bars, clubs and live music venues in every major city.
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