Poland History and Culture


Before the Great Migration, the area of ​​today’s Poland was predominantly inhabited by East Germanic tribes. Slavs immigrated to the region from the 6th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Poles adopted Latin Christianity. With the coronation of Bolesław I from the Piast dynasty, Poland became a kingdom in 1025. From 1386 to 1569 Poland came under the Jagiellonian dynasty, which ruled Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine. With the marriage of the Polish heir to the throne Hedwig in 1386 with the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jagiełło, the independent empires of Poland and Lithuania were united under a common monarch (Polish-Lithuanian Personal union). After King Sigismund II had no male successor, Poland became an elective monarchy in 1572. In the period that followed, the Polish throne was often occupied by foreign princes. Increasing Russian interference and the aristocratic parties that fell apart in a civil war resulted in the first partition of Poland. Poland lost about a quarter of its territory to Prussia, Russia and Austria. Revolts by the Poles against the partitioning powers led to the second (1793) and third (1795) partition after their suppression. The country had thus lost its state independence.

It was not until 1918, after the First World War, that Poland regained its statehood. On September 1, 1939, the Second World War began with the invasion of Poland by German troops. After the war, in which around six million Poles lost their lives under German occupation, Poland was compensated for ceding territories to the Soviet Union with former German eastern territories. The now dominant influence of the Soviet Union led to the restructuring of the economy and society under the communist auspices and to integration into the Eastern Bloc.

The quest for more democracy and economic decline led to the establishment of the independent trade union Solidarność in 1980, chaired by L. Wałęsa. Although party and government leader W. Jaruzelski imposed martial law, democratization could no longer be stopped. The first free elections took place in 1991. In 1997 a new constitution came into force. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999. In 2004 Poland joined the European Union. There was a shift to the right in the 2005 presidential and parliamentary elections. The Law and Justice Party (PiS) became the strongest force in parliament. Your top candidate L. Kaczyński († 2010) also won the presidential election. From 2007 to 2015, the liberal-conservative citizens’ platform ruled. In 2015, the PiS was able to win an absolute majority. Their top candidate A. Duda became president.


The introduction of Christianity marked the beginning of the cultural development of Poland. Religious motifs were the focus of artistic creation at the beginning. Since the end of the Middle Ages, Polish culture has received important impulses from what is now Germany, Italy and France. The old royal seat of Krakow in particular shows magnificent examples from Polish architectural history such as the Gothic cathedral or the Wawel Castle in the Italian Renaissance style. Visit beautypically.com for Poland a historical cultural site.

The Polish art appeared in the 19th century by the history paintings of J. Matejko in appearance. At the turn of the century, new art movements such as symbolism (J. Malczewski) and constructivism (W. Strzemiński) received great attention. In the post-war period, Polish poster art was also internationally successful.

The Polish literature began in Bible translations from the 14th and 15th centuries and has produced many well-known representatives in the course of history. A. Mickiewicz created the national epic »Pan Tadeusz« in 1834. H. Sienkiewicz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905 for his novel “Quo vadis?” The writer S. Lem is one of the most famous science fiction authors. After the dissolution of the communist regime (1989), literature experienced an upswing through the return of exiles, e.g. C. Miłosz, and the turn to new themes and forms.

With directors such as R. Polanski, A. Wajda and K. Kieślowski, Poland has risen to become one of the leading film countries. With »Pan Tadeusz« (1999, by A. Wajda) and »Quo vadis?« (2001, by J. Kawalerowicz), the film takes up Polish literary sources.

In the Polish philosophy was to the 19th century scholasticism determining. In the 20th century, especially after World War II, Marxist philosophy came to the fore. Christian Catholic philosophy has been the mainstream since 1989.

Probably the most famous composer in Poland is F. Chopin. He wrote almost exclusively piano pieces which also incorporate elements of Polish folk music. In this way he brought the folk dances Mazurka, Polonaise and Krakowiak international recognition. At the same time he inspired other composers and pianists such as A. Rubinstein (Polish music). Jazz plays a special role in Polish musical life. It saw itself as an expression of the Polish striving for freedom and was not welcomed by the communist regime in post-war Poland. Nevertheless, it enjoyed enormous popularity and developed an independent Polish style (»Polski Jazz«) in the 1950s. The best-known representative from this period is Krzysztof Komeda (* 1931, † 1969).

Winter sports play a major role in sport, especially ski jumping. The most important winter sports resort in Poland is Zakopane. Ball sports such as soccer, volleyball, handball, basketball and tennis are also very popular. The Polish national soccer team won the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Poland History and Culture

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