Sandwiched between Russia and Germany, Poland's history has often been turbulent, going from kingdom to commonwealth (with Lithuania) to independent country (after the First World War). Following the Second World War, it fell under Soviet rule for 40 years or so until it overthrew it in 1989. With its accession to the EU in 2004, Poland has become more accessible to travellers, and many young Poles have sought work in other parts of the EU.
Thanks to numerous cheap flights to Poland, its cities have become must-sees. Krakow, the former capital in the south, is a splendid city more than 1,000 years old. Warsaw, the capital, has beautiful parks, wide boulevards, and an old quarter that was rebuilt after the war by volunteers using maps, old paintings, books, and the rubble of buildings flattened during the war.
Natural wonders include Bialowieza Forest where the last of the European bison roam; the Polish Tatras mountains, shared with Slovakia in the south, and Masuria, the land of 10,000 lakes.
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