Religion in Poland
More than 90% of Poland’s population are Catholics.
Transport in Poland
City modes of transport are bus, trolleybus, tram, in Warsaw there is a metro.
Buses, trolleybuses and trams run from 5:30 to 23:00. Single tickets for them are sold in the subway, newspaper, tobacco and other kiosks. They can also be bought from the driver, however, it will be more expensive. There are tickets for an unlimited number of trips within an hour, one and a half and two hours. On weekdays from 9 am to 2 pm, the fare is cheaper. Tickets are supposed to be punched at the entrance to the transport. Travel on express buses (pospieszny) costs twice as much – they compost two tickets at once. After 23:00, only a night bus runs, a ticket for which costs three to four times more, that is, you need to validate three or four tickets. The Warszawa Tourist Card gives you free transport, free or discounted entry to museums and attractions. It should be remembered that tickets for public transport in one city are not valid in another. Controllers regularly check popular lines. Travel without a ticket is subject to a fine of PLN 120 and PLN 48 for unpaid luggage. However, this amount is reduced by 30% if you pay immediately.
Taxis in Poland operate in every city. They can be found in special parking lots at railway stations, airports, and hotels. Each car has the inscription “Taxi” and the phone number of its company. It is very convenient to order a taxi by phone to the specified address. In the absence of a meter, you should agree on a price in advance. On weekends, outside the city and from 22 pm to 6 am, the rate increases. Fixed-route taxis usually operate on suburban routes from 04:30 to 23:30. The fare for them is even lower than for buses. There are bus and rail links between the
cities. Bus lines in Poland are used mainly for short and medium distance trips, but there are also long-distance routes. Railway communication is developed in the country at a high level. There are the following train classes:
Osobowy (Os) – slow daily regional train;
Pospieszny (P) – fast train. It happens both day and night;
InterRegion (IRN) – daily fast train with mandatory seat reservation;
Express (Ex) – day express. Fare – express fare plus mandatory seat reservation fee;
InterCity (IC) is an analogue of an express train, with an increased level of comfort and light meals. Fare – express fare plus mandatory seat reservation fee;
EuroCity (EC) is an analogue of InterCity in international traffic. Fare – express fare plus mandatory seat reservation fee;
Nocny-Express (NEx) – sleeper train, non-stop from 0000 to 0500 hours. The fare is the regular fare plus the bed fee.
Tariffs for different types of trains differ dramatically. On IC and EC trains there are discounts for young people under 26. On a number of express lines between provincial cities, it is possible to buy a ticket at a discount half an hour before the train’s departure – if there are seats left. On weekends and holidays, a special weekend ticket is valid on Ex, IC and EC trains, which is valid unlimited from 18 pm on the last working day until midnight on the last weekend. There are also travel tickets, with which you can reserve seats for free.
You can rent a car at all airports, at large stations and in cities from rental companies. In addition, international car rental companies have pre-booking offices in all countries, in which tourists can reserve a car at a special rate while still in their country. You can rent a car from the age of 21, in some cases from the age of 23. In Poland, you can drive with a new type of Russian driver’s license. If you are in Poland for more than six months, you need to change your driving license to Polish.
Plant and Animal World in Poland
Most of the territory of Poland is plowed up. Currently, forests occupy less than 25% of its territory. The natural forests of Poland in the southern regions consist mainly of deciduous species (oak, beech, birch and maple). In the north and east, large areas are occupied by mixed and coniferous forests. In the extreme northeast, near Bialystok, there is the Belovezhsky National Park, in which primary coniferous and broad-leaved forests have been preserved. Ash, poplar and willow predominate along the wet river valleys, while birch dominates in the wetlands. In the north and northeast, large areas are occupied by peat bogs and moors.
There is very little natural fauna left in Poland due to the intensive agricultural use of its territory. In the forests there are deer, wolf, lynx, fox, badger; by the rivers – beavers; in the Carpathian mountains – bears. Bison have been preserved in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Of the birds, capercaillie, black grouse, partridges are common, in the mountains – eagles. In the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea, cod and herring are of commercial importance. The lakes are inhabited by zander, pike, eel.
Minerals in Poland
Poland has deposits of hard and brown coal, natural gas, oil, iron ores, copper ores, zinc and lead ores, rock and potassium-magnesium salts, and native sulfur.
Banks in Poland
Banks are open on weekdays from 8:30 to 13:00 (central offices – until 17:00). Some banks are open until 18:00. Exchange offices usually work until 19:00-20:00, and even longer in large tourist centers.
Money in Poland
The national currency of Poland is the złoty. On January 1, 1995, new banknotes were introduced in the country. The exchange ratio was 10,000 old zlotys = 1 new zloty. The official abbreviation for the złoty since 1995 is PLN (Polish New Złoty). One zloty is equal to 100 grosz. In circulation are banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 zlotys, coins – 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy; 1, 2 and 5 zł.
Most often there is no currency exchange in Polish branches of banks. Hand exchange is prohibited in the country. You can exchange money at exchange offices called “Kantor wymiany walut” or simply “Kantor”. Almost any European currency is accepted here. In some places they even accept Russian rubles, but at an unfavorable rate.
In hotels, restaurants, major stores and gas stations, you can use credit cards: American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard, JCB, MasterCard, VISA. In places where credit cards are accepted, relevant information is given on the doors or in the windows.
In 2008, Poland plans to adopt the euro.
Rate: 1 Polish Zloty (PLN) = 0.23 USD
Political State in Poland
According to politicsezine, Poland is a Parliamentary Republic. The country has a Constitution adopted on July 22, 1952. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a term of 5 years. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Parliament (National Assembly), which consists of the Sejm and the Senate. Deputies and senators are elected for 4 years.
In 2004 Poland became a member of the EU.
Population in Poland
The population of Poland is about 38 million people. The most densely populated southern part of the country, the least densely populated – the north-western and north-eastern. 97% of the population is represented by Poles. Germans also live in the country – 0.8% (mainly in the regions of Pomozh and Silesia), Ukrainians – 0.65%, Belarusians – 0.53%. All other nationalities account for less than 1% – these are Gypsies (0.06%), Lithuanians (0.05%), Slovaks (0.05%) and Jews (0.04%).
The official language of the country is Polish. English, German and Russian are among the best known foreign languages, especially in large urban centers. But since the study of foreign languages became widespread only a few years ago, the foreign traveler may still experience some language difficulties, especially in small towns or remote areas.