Our country: Poland
What can we tell you about Poland? Let’s start by saying that Poland lies in Central Europe, borders the Baltic Sea to the north, and is Europe’s ninth largest country. It has a population of over 38 million people, and the average age is 36. Poland is divided into 16 voivodeships (provinces), and its national currency is the Złoty (PLN).
Our country is a member of NATO, the UN and the European Union (since 2004). Poland’s GDP makes it the EU’s seventh largest economy.
If you are planning to study in Poland, we should perhaps tell you about this country in a different way. Poland is a place where Slavic and Western cultures meet and permeate each other. It’s a country that enables you to spend hot summer afternoons relaxing at the seaside, and in winter you can let off some steam in snowy mountains. Poland combines typically eastern hospitality and openness with western modernity and trust in new technologies. The country, which borders the Baltic Sea to the north and the Tatra Mountains to the south, is home to approximately 2 million Polish and foreign students. Young Poles are educated Europeans who know their own worth and are optimistic and ready to face new challenges. Poland is an interesting country offering geographical, cultural and economic diversity. Poland’s economy is on the one hand based on modern agriculture, and on the other on the energy, coal, metallurgical and machine industries. The country’s most industrialized and urbanized region is the Silesian voivodeship (province), located in the south of Poland. More than 70 municipalities that form the region have a total population of approximately 4.8 million people (for comparison, Warsaw, the Polish capital, has a population of approx. 1.8 million). Thanks to a welldeveloped road, rail, bus and tram infrastructure, commuting between cities such as Katowice (regional capital), Sosnowiec, Gliwice, Zabrze, Bytom and Ruda Śląska is cheap and easy. You can never get bored in Silesia. Although the region’s image is to a large extent shaped by industry, an abundance of forests, parks and green recreational areas ensure tranquillity and contact with nature in the industrial heart of Poland.
Our city and region: Katowice, Upper Silesia
Poland is an interesting country offering geographical, cultural and economic diversity. Poland’s economy is on the one hand based on agriculture, and on the other on coal, energy, metallurgical and machine industry.
The country’s most industrialized and urbanized region is the Silesian voivodeship, located in the south of Poland. The region’s over 70 cities have a total population of approximately 4.8 million people (for comparison, Polish capital city – Warsaw, has a population of approx. 1.8 million). Thanks to a well-developed road, rail, bus and tram infrastructure, commuting between cities such as Katowice (regional capital), Sosnowiec, Gliwice, Zabrze, Bytom or Ruda Śląska is cheap and easy. You can never get bored in Silesia. Although the region’s image is to a large extent shaped by industry, an abundance of forests, parks and green recreational areas ensure tranquility and contact with nature in the industrial heart of Poland.
The region’s largest city, Katowice, has a population of over 308.000 people. Located on the Rawa river, the city is the administrative, economic and cultural capital of Silesia. Thanks to a thriving airport, as well as a network of throughways and motorways, Silesia is one of the most convenient regions in terms of communication and transport. Regional authorities and diplomatic posts are based here, and various districts of Katowice offer an impressive number of cinemas, theatres and culture centres. Postindustrial and post-mining areas are increasingly changing and being transformed into popular meeting places for young people, whom they attract thanks to numerous concerts, exhibitions and meetings with artists.
The single most characteristic facility in Katowice is the famous Spodek, which is one of the largest multipurpose arenas in Poland. The Spodek has played host to many bands and performers, including such stars as Pearl Jam, Green Day, Jean Michelle Jarre, Rammstein and Leonard Cohen, who have given unforgettable concerts, attended by thousands of people. The arena is also a venue for sporting events and international matches – it has hosted, e.g. basketball, volleyball and hockey tournamers. Events which attract even larger audiences are held in the Silesian Stadium, located only 5 km away from the centre of Katowice. Here tens of thousands of people have had fun at concerts by such world-famous bands as the Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2 and Metallica.
The Silesian Stadium is located in the Silesian Culture and Recreation Park, which is one of the largest city parks in Europe (covering an area of over 600 hectares). As well as extensive green areas, the following are located in the park: Silesian Zoological Garden, Silesian Amusement Park, Silesian Planetarium, a ropes course, a swimming pool complex, tennis courts and a paintball field. One of the most popular recreational places among the inhabitants of Katowice is the Valley of the Three Lakes which offers many bike paths. Also popular is the nearby Muchowiec Aerodrome which is mainly used for sport purposes.
Art lovers in Silesia can visit a dozen or so state-owned and private theatres, as well as an opera and a concert hall. There are many cinemas, museums and galleries in each of the cities in the region.
For those who love night life, Katowice offers a multitude of bars, pubs, restaurants, clubs and discos playing all sorts of music. Local media regularly inform residents about the most important events, exhibitions, festivals and meetings.