Poland Tours

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More About Poland

Poland is a country with a vast history, which has proven immensely turbulent at times. The landscape spreads over a large portion of Northern Europe, with the north west bordering the Baltic Sea and the rest rolling over the plains area.

Historically, Poland has likely been inhabited since late antiquity but little evidence from this period remains. With a written history that dates from the 10th century and just as during its predominance in the 1500s it bore influence on the surrounding nations, their cultures and their civilizations, so too has Poland been influenced upon over the ages and incorporated aspects of other cultures into its own.

With fortifications dating to the Iron Age, but with a succession of violent dynasties that would impose centuries of warfare between Protestant reformation and the Slavic pagans.

By the Middle Ages, Poland like many European countries developed a nobility and under the monarchies experienced a golden era. Krakow acted as the seat for the Polish Kings and political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596.

Of the 406 castles, 1,966 palaces and 2,749 historical manors boasted by Poland, many display characteristics not indigenous to the country itself, so travellers are greeted with robust Teutonic castles, intricate Italian Renaissance palaces and quaint French baroque country mansions along with the structures of purely Polish design.

Our Poland tours to the old capital of Krakow explore a old town that is very compact. The whole central region with its cobblestone streets is full of well-preserved architecture, Gothic churches and splendid museums.

After becoming the capital in 1596, Warsaw became the seat for the Polish Kings, while Poland itself formed a commonwealth with Lithuania and fought to secure its borders from invasions by Russia, Sweden, Germany and the Ottomans among others. Perhaps in modern history there is no more devastating invasion than that of the Nazis during WWII.

Within the borders, concentrations camps such as Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Brzezinka (Birkenau) appeared. On Poland tours, we visit Nazi concentration camps preserved as memorials to the 1.5 million people of 28 nationalities who perished here, the overwhelming majority of whom were Jewish.

The result of a failed uprising during WWII, Hitler ordered the destruction of Warsaw which saw 85% of the city destroyed. After WWII, a reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of Warsaw's Old Town with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.

Similarly, the port city of Gdansk also became a city of near total ruin by the end of WWII, however, has also been painstakingly restored or rebuilt.

Many areas in Poland were much more fortunate. The Gothic architecture of Torun's old town with a medieval ambiance and the stunning Wieliczka Salt Mines. The salt-formed caves and grottoes include a subterranean lake and a chapel with statues carved from salt. The mines' 11 levels of galleries stretch 300km (186 miles), and some 20,000,000 tonnes (22,000,000 tons) of rock salt were extracted over 700 years.

Our Poland tours offer an insightful look to a country with both a rich and painful history, one with many lessons to be learned, a beautiful landscape filled with lakes lined by heavy forests, as well as the chance to explore old world cities with cobblestone charm.

Poland is a nation that dates from the 10th century and just as during its predominance in the 1500s it bore influence on the surrounding nations, their cultures and their civilizations, so too has Poland been influenced upon over the ages and incorporated aspects of other cultures into its own.

Of the 406 castles, 1,966 palaces and 2,749 historical manors boasted by Poland, many display characteristics not indigenous to the country itself, so travellers are greeted with robust Teutonic castles, intricate Italian Renaissance palaces and quaint French baroque country mansions along with the structures of purely Polish design. The country is home to 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites which makes Poland sightseeing a great joy, but perhaps the most fascinating and well-known is Malbork Castle, the largest brick castle in Europe, a tour to which cannot fail to cast the traveller�¢??s mind back into medieval times.

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