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25 Interesting Facts About Poland That Most People Don’t Know

25 Interesting Facts About Poland That Most People Don’t Know

I was born and raised in Poland. Here’s what the tourism board doesn’t tell you about Poland and neither does Google since quite often Google tends to forget about Poland’s achievements (start googling and you’ll see what I mean).

These facts can make your trip to Poland way more interesting. Here are weird and interesting facts about Poland and things about Poland that most people don’t know about.

1. Poland is the 9th Largest Country in Europe.

(8th not including Russia) Poland isn’t a small country, it’s actually one of the largest ones. Poland is bigger than Italy and the UK.

Poland is the 9th Largest Country in Europe

2. The name “Poland” (Polska) Has a Meaning.

It originates from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means “people living in open fields”.

3. Polish History is Very Complicated

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might start reading Polish Medieval History. You’ll get confused many times (try reading something on the period from 1138 to 1320).

Later times also haven’t been easy for Poland. The country has been invaded or has fought for freedom in insurrections over 40 times. Poland even disappeared from world maps between 1772 and 1795.

4. Poland’s Consitution Was the 2nd in the World

Poland adopted its first written constitution in the spring of 1791, which was the 2nd in the world valid legal document of the kind. However, it was only in effect for only 14 months and 3 weeks before Poland was in partitions for over 100 years.

Polish airt

5. Polish Engineer Invented the Modern Kerosene Lamp

In 1853, Ignacy Lukasiewicz introduced the first modern street lamp from in Europe. His lamp inventions were, however, first used in Lviv in Ukraine. There is still a street in Warsaw that uses the same street lamps until today.

6. During the WWII Warsaw Was Almost Completely Destroyed and Had to be Rebuilt Completely

During the WWII Warsaw Was Almost Completely Destroyed and Had to be Rebuilt Completely

The Old Town that you can see in Warsaw isn’t the actual Old Town from before the war. The original has been completely bombed in the 40s and the Poles rebuilt it after the war using Bernardo Bellotto’s detailed paintings. That’s why now looks as it did in the 14th century, rather than the 20th.

7. Marie Curie Was Actually Polish

Marie Curie, the woman who discovered Polon and Rad, wasn’t French, but Polish. Her name was Marie Sklodowska before she married a Frenchman named Pierre Curie.

She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.

Joseph Conrad was actually Polish too. His real name was Teodor Józef Konrad Nałęcz-Korzeniowski. You’re welcome.

8. Poland Has Beaches, Mountains, Forests, Deserts, and Lakes

Poland has a very diverse nature. Almost 800 km of the seashore and a few mountain chains (Tatra, Carpathian, Sudet Bieszczady and Świętokrzyskie). Poland also has the only Central-European desert, Pustynia Błędowska.

There are also dunes in the Pomerania region that are a curiosity on a European scale. So are wetlands in Biebrzański National Park. And islands in Woliński National Park. 

interesting facts about Poland

9. Traditional Polish Last Names Change Depending on the Sex

Names that end with –ski/ska or –cka/cki work like adjectives and need to match the gender in Polish. So, if your father’s name is Kowalski, if you’re a female you’ll be called Kowalska. All Polish surnames in the US are male version.

10. Europe’s Heaviest Animals Live in Poland

bison poland

The 380,000-acre (150,000-hectare) Białowieża Primeval Forest in Poland is Europe’s last ancient forest and home to 800 European bison, Europe’s heaviest land animals.

11. Poland Used to Have the World’s Tallest Structure

world's tallest structure

The Warsaw Radio Mast in Konstantynow was the world’s tallest structure from 1974, until its collapse in 1991. It was the second tallest structure ever built after Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010. The mast was 646.38 meters (2,120.7 ft) tall.

12. Poland Also Has the World’s Biggest Castle

Poland has an impressive 16 World Heritage Sites and among them the biggest castle in the world – Malbork. Measured by the area. Prague Castle often claims to be the world’s largest, but it’s not since it’s not a single area.

Malbork Castle

13. Wearing a Hat Indoors is Considered Rude in Poland

If you wear a hat inside someone’s home or church it’s a sign of disrespect. While young people generally don’t mind, the older generation might feel uncomfortable.

14. Kissing Woman’s Hand is Still in Fashion in Poland

Polish men generally still tend to observe “the chivalry protocol”. Don’t be surprised if you see this, upon the first introduction between total strangers.

15. Poland Has Its Own Version of Thai Songkran

If you’re heading to Poland for Easter, prepare to get wet. Easter Monday is known as Smigus Dyngus when everyone is chasing one another with water guns and buckets. Traditionally, boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willow branches and the girls fight back.

water festival Poland
Source: I Love Poland – Facebook

16. Poles Celebrate a Name Day

In addition to birthdays, Poles celebrate their name day or imieniny, which is the day commemorating the Saint they are named after. The names associated with each day is listed in all calendars in Poland, so the Name Day is often more important than a birthday because everyone remembers about it.

17. Polish TV is Dubbed, by One Man.

If you’re planning on watching some foreign movies on TV in Poland, you might want to reconsider. Foreign movies and series are dubbed, but not by Polish actors, but by a single man reading parts of everyone (including women and children).

Polish TV dubbed

The original version is still there, so viewers can hear the first two seconds of each sentence (and faintly in the background later), before the reader starts saying the same thing in Polish.

18. Poland is World’s Biggest Exporter of Amber

Amber is huge in Poland, so souvenirs and jewelry made of it are gorgeous. You might want to pick some up during your visit.

19. Mushrooming Is a Popular Family Activity in Poland

Going to the forest to pick wild mushrooms at the end of the summer is a popular activity for many people in Poland. Kids are taught how to distinguish an edible mushroom from a poisonous one early on.

interesting facts about Poland

20. You Can Still Eat at Europe’s Oldest Restaurant in Wroclaw

Located in Wrocław, the “Piwnica Swidnicka” is the oldest restaurant in Europe, open since 1275. You can still eat there today.

21. Buying an Even Number of Flowers for Funerals is Considered a Faux Pas

On the other hand, chrysanthemums, white lilies, and red carnations are considered the funeral flowers so make sure that you don’t buy them for other occasions. Some people take this very seriously.

22. The Unofficial Traditional Polish Food is Zapiekanka

zapiekanka poland

It’s a baguette cut in half, topped with cheese and mushrooms and doused in garlic mayo and ketchup. Lots of ketchup.

23. Latex Condoms Were Invented by a Pole

The first latex condom was invented in 1912 by Julius Fromm, who made the rubber ones thinner and better. Ironically, until these dates, politicians in Poland are arguing about which methods of anticonception should be allowed, if any at all.

24. Poland Has Its Own Version of Valentine’s Day

Kupała or Wianki is celebrated on June 21st, the ‘Feast of St. John the Baptist’ day. Men jump over bonfires and, women hope for wreaths. Wreaths with candles on one side of the river are floated to the other side and if one comes to you, you’ll be lucky in love.

Polish religion

25. Poland is One of the Most Religious Countries in Europe

While Poland doesn’t have a ‘Pope Channel’ on TV (I’m not sure where some editors of other articles took this from?), it does have a popular Catholic TV Station and a Catholic Radio. Religion also isn’t separated from the State. Not to mention that Poland is a proud owner of the tallest statue of Jesus in the world. Move over Christ the Redeemer…

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Does anyone know any more interesting and fun facts about Poland?

Jayachandran Elango (Jay)

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Dear Ms.Anna, it is a fantastic article, covering many aspects. Mywife and myself visited Bydgoszcz and Warsaw for the first time in the first week of February. The first impression was a best impression. Polish people were shy initially (may be many of them don't speak English), but after sometime they were very friendly. We like their simplicity. It is a great country. God willing, we look forward to our next visit. Kind Regards-Jay

Mary Ann Ott

Sunday 16th of February 2020

I Love seeing all these places. Wish I could have visited.

deepak kakkar

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Amazing explanations, seems like blogger loves POLAND a lot.


Sunday 12th of January 2020

I was born inPoland and since my first trip to Western Europe wanted to leave. I’ve been outside Poland for 38 years and don’t intend to move back. I am often there and still find it similar to Poland during communist times - chaos while driving around, ugly towns except town centers, politics today are laughable, most people are religious fanatics who don’t mind priests pedofiles telling them what to do with their lives, most people are against lgbt community, aggressive drivers not adhering to road regulations, bedside manner of Polish doctors is appaling.


Thursday 26th of March 2020

Anna, I’m glad you don’t live in Poland anymore. A decent person never talks so badly about his/her old country. There is no perfect country in the world, but you see only the bad side of it. Mark

Stanley A Bandos

Monday 27th of January 2020

I agree Anna. Some or many towns are bat ass ugly. Most cities are beautiful. Catholic devotion is unnerving.


Saturday 7th of September 2019

We feel in love with Poland on our first visit. We have just got back from Wrocław and have already booked a return visit for Christmas. Thanks for these wonderful facts, really interesting xx

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