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A few Facts About Poland

Here are a few interesting facts about Poland.

1. The population of Poland is 39 million people.

2. The six biggest cities in Poland are Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan, and Gdansk.

3. The highest point in Poland is Rysy in the Tatra Mountains (2,499m).

4. Poland is the ninth biggest country in Europe and it shares frontiers with seven countries: Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

5. Poland's capitals have been Gniezno, Poznan, Krakow and Warsaw. Lublin has twice served as Poland's temporary capital, after both the First and Second World Wars.

6. Geographically, Poland is not in the Eastern Europe. It is in the very centre of Europe.

7. In Poland most Poles consider their name day (in Polish: "imieniny") more important than their birthdays. People with the same name celebrate on the same day each year.

8. The national symbol of Poland is the White tailed Eagle.

Poland photo

Polish Legends, Folklore, Myths and Stories

Poland like every other nation has its own traditions, and an integral part of these traditions are countless myths and legends. These stories constitute an important aspect of national heritage. These legends initially oral, then written stories have been handed down from generation to generation. Many of these legends have been around for a thousand years or more.

The Polish White Eagle

More than a thousand years ago, there lived three brothers, Lech, Czech, and Rus. For many years they had been content living in their villages, but as their families grew larger, they needed more room.

The brothers decided to travel in search of new homes. Lech, Czech, and Rus rode with their troops over mountains and rivers, through forests and wild country for many days. There were no people to be found anywhere, not a town or a tiny village.

Then one day, when on the crest of a mountain top they decided to separate, each going in a different direction. Czech went to the left, Rus went to the right and Lech rode straight ahead, down the mountain and across vast plains.

One day Lech saw a splendid sight. He and his troops had come to a place where a meadow surrounded a small lake. They stopped at the edge of the meadow as a great eagle flew over their heads. It flew around in great swooping circles, then perched on its nest, high on a craggy rock. Lech stared in awe at the beautiful sight. As the eagle spread its wings and soared into the heavens again, a ray of sunshine from the red setting sun fell on the eagle's wings, so they appeared tipped with gold, the rest of the bird was pure white.

"Here is where we will stay!" declared Lech. "Here is our new home, and we will call this place GNIEZNO ... (the eagle's nest).

He and his people built many houses and it became the centre of his territory. They called themselves Polonians, which means "People of the Field". They made a banner with a white eagle on a red field and flew it over the town of Gniezno, which became the first historical capital of Poland.

The Trumpeter of Krakow ( Cracow )

Krakow photo

In Cracow (Krakow), the ancient capital of Poland, there is a Church in the Market Square. It is a tall, graceful building built of brick, in the Gothic style, with a richly adorned interior. It had two towers, one of which is a little higher than the other and more ornate. From the taller tower a fanfare is played by a trumpeter, every hour. It is repeated four times, but always ends abruptly, on a broken note. Here is the legend behind this tradition:

One day in the 13th century, an old watchman, keeping watch over the city of Cracow saw in the distance a cloud of dust which grew bigger with every passing moment. It was a large army of Tartars galloping towards the city. These invaders from the east had more than once before advanced on Krakow and even farther, and they had pillaged and burned, looted and murdered and carried off the people to be their slaves. 

There was only one thing the trumpeter watchman could do. He must play the ‘Hejnal’, over and over. That would surely alert the citizens, they have to be aware of the approaching danger. So he played, again and again. At first the people of Krakow were puzzled. But eventually they realised that an attack was imminent.

Away on the far meadows the Tartar warriors were mounting their horses and drawing their swords. But as a result of his warning the old watchman could see the Polish archers arriving.

The archers took up their positions along the battlements as the Tartars galloped towards the city. But by now the Polish arrows were flying. They rained down on the tartar invaders, wave after wave. Eventually the Tartars were forced to retreat, and Cracow was saved from the Mongols!

When the joy over the victory died down they realised that the trumpeter who had warned them was nowhere to be seen. So one of his friends went to look for him. However, when he reached the tower he found that disaster had struck. A single Tartar arrow had pierced the old watchman's throat and was dead. The trumpet was still clasped in his hands ready to blast out a final note.

The Cracovians would never forget the act of the old trumpeter watchman, and it was decreed that a bugle call should be played each day in memory of the hero.
And so for hundreds of years the 'hejnal' has rung out over Cracow's rooftops for the noble watchman who saved the city.

Free Translation of Basic Polish

Some useful Polish language words and phrases should you be planning a visit to Poland.

Yes = Tak

No = Nie

Thank you = Dziękuję

Thank you very much = Serdecznie dziękuję

You're welcome = Nie ma za co

Please = Proszę

Excuse me = Przepraszam

Hello = Dzień dobry

Goodbye = Do widzenia; do zobaczenia

Good morning / Good afternoon = Dzień dobry

Good evening = Dobry wieczor

Good night = Dobranoc

How about breakfast? = Co powiesz na śniadanie?

I love you = Kocham Cię

I do not understand = Nie rozumiem

Do you speak English? = Mowisz po angielsku?

What is your name? = Jak masz na imię,? Jak się Pan(i) nazywa?

Nice to meet you. = Miło mi cię / Pana / Panią poznać

How are you? = Jak się masz / Jak się Pan(i) ma?

How old are you? = Ile masz / Pan(i) ma lat?

Can I have a ticket? = Jeden bilet proszę

Good = Dobrze

Bad = Źle

So so = Tak sobie; Jako tako

Tourist Information = Informacja Turystyczna

How much does this cost? = Ile to kosztuje?

What is this? = Co to jest?

I'll buy it (shopping). = Poproszę.

Can I have the bill / Bill, please. = proszę o rachunek (in a restaurant, cafe)

Tea = Herbata

Water = Woda

Beer = Piwo

What time is it? = Ktora godzina?

Happy Birthday! = Wszystkiego najlepszego z okazji urodzin!

K International plc is a leading translation company specializing in providing language translation, interpreting and design solutions to some of the world's largest organizations. www.k-international.com

(original article is here - http://www.k-international.com/polish_translation)

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