I was born and raised in Poland. However, I never realized that Poland has so many interesting facts. Poland has a rich history and cultural heritage, but it hides some secrets that many may not know. There are plenty of facts about us. Some of them can be funny, others – weird. Let’s take a look at those interesting facts!
It Is Said that Polish is Quite Difficult to Learn.
As a Slavic language, Polish is one of the most challenging languages for foreigners to learn. People want to learn Polish, but they are afraid that it’s too difficult. Here is why.
For many people trying to learn Polish, one of the biggest problems is the presence of many “rustling” sounds (sz, cz, dż, dż, rz, ż, ś, ź, ć). For instance, the most famous Polish greeting, “Czesc.”
In addition to pronunciation, grammar is also tricky. Additionally, rules are complicated and full of exceptions. Extra torture tool for foreigners.
- Nouns change forms depending on the situation: samochód – car, by car- samochodem. In the car – w samochodzie, etc. Similar things happen to adjectives and verbs, and the number of possible alteration patterns is enormous.
- Nouns can have three genders (some linguists count five)
- Each noun and adjective can appear in one of seven cases.
- Verbs conjugate for gender, person, mood and time (depending on how you count, this makes over 25 forms of every verb)
- Verbs come in two aspects (English doesn’t have this grammatical aspect)
This video will make you laugh insanely!
If you still fancy learning polish, check out this app: Learn Polish, Speak Polish.
“Who won’t drink ’cause he’s abashed, with two sticks he should be thrashed” About the Culture of Drinking Alcohol in Poland.
Poland is a country that is known for its pure top-quality vodka. Polish Vodka is an essential element of Polish culture that has followed Poles for centuries during the celebration of extraordinary moments.
Vodka is also an integral part of every traditional wedding. At the very beginning, before the bride and groom even cross the threshold of the wedding house, they are offered bread, salt, and a glass of pure vodka by the hosts.
Whenever we raise a glass of vodka, we say “Na zdrowie,” which translates to health, meaning that you wish to present everyone’s longevity.
If you ever drink vodka with poles, pair your vodka with the appropriate foods such as pickled cucumber, herring, or a piece of sausage. With this Tip, You Don’t Get Too Drunk Too Quickly.
Facts about Vodka
- In the sixteenth century, in Poznań alone, there were as many as forty-nine distilleries.
- Poland belongs to the vodka zone, including Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, and Scandinavia.
- In 1967 The Rolling Stones played their first concert in Poland, as payment for the show, the musicians reportedly demanded two wagons of Polish vodka!
- Today, Polish vodka is synonymous with quality and one of the few Polish global brands that are recognized worldwide. Appreciated by connoisseurs and bartenders, it is a leading Polish export product.
- A special place for the history of Polish vodka was the Warsaw Vodka Factory “Koneser,” one of the largest in the country. It was there that the first recipes of the known Polish vodkas were created.
An average adult Pole drinks up to 94 liters of beer a year. This means that a statistical Pole drinks half a litre of beer every other day. When it is snowing and frost outside the window, we drink grzaniec (hot beer). It is a beer that is mulled and served hot during Christmas and festivals, which have become part of culinary and festive pop culture.
Poles are a nation very experienced by various kinds of wars and conflicts. For more than 300 years, more or less from 1600 to 1945 (and even later), bloody battles took place in Poland. About 20% of the Polish population died in World War II, which is the highest percentage among all countries. 50,000 Poles sacrificed their lives to save 450,000 Jews.
Did you know, for example, that Poland has never officially surrendered to Germany? And the Polish resistance during World War II was the largest of its kind in Europe.
Strangest war in history? – Polish declaration of war on Japan in 1942.
Poland declared war on Japan due to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, together with other neutral countries. Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō’s answer was the following: “We don’t accept the Polish declaration of war. The Poles, fighting for their freedom, declared war under the British pressure”.
It is said, “Pole, Hungarian — two good friends, together they battle and drink their wine,” This is the truth which has been verified in history. When Adolf Hitler began his invasion of Poland, he wanted Hungary to join the war. To his disappointment, it never happened. Köszönöm, testvéreim!
The Truth About Polish Winged Hussars
The Winged Hussars were one of the most victorious, fearsome, and splendid military formations of all times. The sabers used by the hussars were recognized by specialists as the best human-made white weapon, much better than the Japanese katana.
Groundbreaking Inventions from Poland
Poles are not only ambitious and brave but also famous for their mental activity. Over the centuries, Poles have been the initiators of many innovative projects, and their ingenuity often determined epoch-making moments in many areas. The list of Pole’s inventions is imposing.
Unfortunately, in history textbooks, the topic of our compatriots’ patents is usually limited to Maria Skłodowska-Curie and Ignacy Łukasiewicz. Below is a list of discoveries of Poles you probably never heard about.
- a bulletproof vest,
- aeroscope (the world’s first hand-held film camera),
- Mine detector,
- Computer K-202,
- Blue laser,
- Rotary periscope
Polish traditional food facts- where to taste and what to try?
While visiting Poland, you should direct your steps to the milk bar. Communist legacy milk bars offer inexpensive, simple, but delicious traditional food that tastes like home. Today these cheap cafeterias are still popular with students, pensioners, and curious travelers.
Here is a list of Best Traditional Polish Foods You Should Try:
- Kotlet Schabowy
1. Maria Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist. In 1898, she discovered two new chemical elements: polonium and radium. Curie won two Nobel Prizes for physics in 1903 and in the field of chemistry in 1911. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize as well as the first person to win the prestigious award twice. From 1906, she managed the Chair of Physics at the Sorbonne in Paris.
2. Ignacy Łukasiewicz was a world-famous inventor (kerosene lamp) and pioneer of the oil industry in Europe.
3. Lech Walesa, the Gdańsk electrician with a characteristic mustache, was the founder of NSZZ “Solidarność” and the first non-communist president of post-war Poland. He played a significant role in bringing about the collapse of the post-war order in Europe and the end of the Cold War.
4. Józef Piłsudski contributed to Poland regaining independence in 1918, commanded the army during the victorious war with the Bolsheviks, sought to strengthen the Commonwealth, and was one of the greatest politicians of the 20th century.
5. Jan III Sobieski was the king of Poland in the years 1674–1696, a well-known commander of many victorious battles, among others at Khotyn and Vienna. His triumph stopped the further pressure of the Ottoman Empire on European countries.
6. Frederic Chopin was an exceptional Polish composer of the Romantic era and a pianist of classical music. One of the most outstanding Chopin songs is the Revolutionary Etude, an example of his first masterpieces. This unusually dramatic song was published during the Polish November Uprising as a protest against the Bolshevik authorities.
7. Oskar Troplowitz, a pharmacist from Gliwice, developed the recipe for the iconic NIVEA cream for the first time.
8. Polish astronomer Jan Hevelius published the first map of the moon.
9. Maksymilian Faktorowicz, the Jewish-Polish cosmetician, otherwise known as Max Factor, was first who introduced movie-grade makeup to the masses.
10. Helena Rubinstein was a Polish-American businesswoman of Jewish descent who became one of the most influential women in the cosmetics industry. She was the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics business, which made her one of the world’s wealthiest women.
11. In 1978, John Paul made history by becoming the first non-Italian pope in over four hundred years. Polish pope “Karol Wojtyla” was one of the most important figures of the 20th century.
12. Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was the first person to say that the Earth may not be the center of the universe.
More Interesting Facts About Poland
1. Approximately 35% of the 60 million Poles live abroad, and sizeable polish speaking communities can be seen in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina.
2. Even though the Polish state wasn’t on the map of Europe for 123 years, for Poles – in hearts, language, customs, culture – Poland has always existed.
3. In Poles’ minds, Krakow is a symbol of royal power and national identity. In 1320, Władysław Łokietek was crowned in Wawel Cathedral as the King of Poland. From that time, until 1734, Krakow was the place of the coronation of Polish kings, and the Wawel cathedral also became a royal necropolis.
4. The Polish constitution was the first in Europe and the second in the world
5. In the battle of Hodow, which took place on June 11, 1694, 400 hussars clashed with the Tatar army of 40,000 warriors. The Poles won, despite the enemy’s numerous advantages.
6. Poles, as the only ones, conquered and occupied Moscow. Neither Napoleon nor Hitler succeeded.
7. It turns out that Radom covers over 111 km², while Paris covers 105 km². However, when it comes to the number of inhabitants, the capital of France is inhabited by 10 times more people than Radom.
8. In 1921, the first non-serial car called SKAF was built in a home workshop in Poland. A small vehicle weighing about 300 kilograms was powered by a 500 cc engine, generating 10 horsepower. Only three prototype cars and several advertising brochures were created.
9. The Polish Fiat was a showcase of the PRL automotive industry, and its possession became a sign of prestige in the country.
10. Melex, a small “car” driven by an electric motor, was produced by the company “PZL-Mielec.” Initially, they were used as golf carts. Today among others in Krakow, they are used to transport tourists around the Old Town.
The Habits of Poles People Just Don’t Uderstand
1. The paczki or Polish doughnut is one of the most traditional Polish desserts appearing since the time of King Augustus III of Poland in the early 18th century. It is most consumed on “Tlusty Czwartek,” which is a Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In fact, they’re so popular that 100 million are consumed across Poland on Fat Thursday alone.
2. Almost all films are dubbed by one male voice. Thus, every character in the movie, a child, or a woman speaks in a male voice. Still, foreigners cannot understand why we tolerate the voice of a man.
3. We put ketchup on pizza. Italians probably don’t wanna even hear about it. In the opinion of Poles, the best pizza is the one that has a lot of cheese, ham and of course ketchup.
4. Watching the movie “home alone” on Christmas Eve has become a Polish tradition. Every year, it gathers millions of viewers in front of TV sets.
5. Most Poles believe that their name day is more important than their birthday. Although in other countries it is celebrated the other way around.
6. When you go to any polish wedding, they always play disco polo, and it’s still the same songs.
7. Trains in Poland require a seat reservation, yet loads of people stand or sit on the ground for hours.
8. Polish suffer from chronic road rage.
9. We worship John Paul II, so there are like 1000 roundabouts in his name all over Poland.
10. In most European countries, the “first floor” is the second level. In Poland, the “first floor” is regarded as “0” (ground floor) and has a special name “parter.”
Best of Poland
1. The Skull Chapel in Czerna is one of three buildings of this type in Europe. The chapel was built out of 3000 human skulls and bones. There are 30,000 human remains in the crypt under the chapel.
2. The Błędowska Desert is the largest area of inland dunes in Poland and Central Europe (in the sense of climate; it is not a desert at all).
3. In Poland, there are about 419 castles in various conditions. One of the most famous of them is unquestionably the Teutonic castle in Malbork, which is considered to be the largest brick fortress in the world measured by land area. For the construction of which over 4.5 million bricks were used.
4. Poland is the largest amber exporter in the world. On the global market, we have almost 70% share in the production of amber ornaments. The most important export direction of this mineral is America, Asia, and Europe.
5. Poland boasts the most winners of the “World Strongest Man” title. Thanks to Mariusz Pudzianowski, Poland’s cult icon who won the World’s Strongest Man competition five times.
6. After several years of explosive growth, Poland has become the world’s fourth-largest exporter of video games. Polish CD Projekt is known and recognized worldwide – the largest company in terms of value or number of games sold. Their “The Witcher” is one of the best Polish export games today. Polish developer is also working on a new RPG game, “Cyberpunk 2077.”
7. The statue of Jesus in Świebodzin is the tallest sculpture representing Jesus Christ in the world.