The Land of Solidarity
The oldest cities in this nation are more than 1500 years old, and for much of that time, they stood watch as Europe’s great powers engaged in conquest. Poland lies at the continent’s crossroads, and its vast, fertile plains, which once supplied grain to the entire region, are as scenic as they are strategic. Krakow, the country’s former capital, has long been among Europe’s leading cultural, scientific, and artistic centers. Its highlights include beautiful Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica, and Wawel Castle’s National Art Collection. Krakow is also the primary point of departure for day trips to Auschwitz, which is about an hour’s train ride away. Other urban points of interest include Warsaw, the national capital, the medieval Hanseatic port city of Gdansk and Torun, birthplace of Copernicus. Those seeking more rural relaxation can head for the resort towns along the Baltic Sea or the hiking, trekking, and skiing centers found in the country’s mountainous south.