Poland, officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska, About this sound listen, is a country in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine and Belarus to the east; and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) and Lithuania to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square Kilometers (120,726 sq mi), making it the 71st largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the sixth most populou +s member of the European Union, and the most populous post-communist member of the European Union. Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions.
Poland experienced an increase in the number of tourists after joining the European Union. Tourism contributes significantly to Poland's overall economy and makes up a relatively large proportion of the country's service market.
Kraków was the former capital and a relic of Poland's Golden Age of Renaissance. It contains the place of coronation of most Polish kings. It was named a European Capital of Culture by the European Union for the year 2000. The city of Wrocław, designated as a European Capital of Culture in 2016, is one of the oldest in Poland. During World War II, Wrocław was a fortress (Festung Breslau), and was heavily damaged in the nearly three months long Battle of Breslau. The city has been restored and attracts several million tourists every year. The Old Town of Poland's capital, Warsaw, was reconstructed after its wartime destruction and it offers a variety of attractions. Other cities attracting tourists include Gdańsk, Poznań, Szczecin, Lublin and Toruń. The historic site of the Nazi-German Auschwitz concentration camp is near Oświęcim.
Poland's main tourist offerings include outdoor activities such as skiing, sailing and mountain hiking, as well as agrotourism, sightseeing walks, countryside excursions and also holiday and business trips. Poland is the 17th most visited country in the world by foreign tourists, as ranked by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2012. Tourist destinations include the Baltic Sea coast in the north, the Masurian Lake District and Białowieża Forest in the east, the northern Karkonosze, the Table Mountains and the Tatra Mountains, where Rysy, the highest peak of Poland, and the famous Orla Perć long-distance path are located. The Pieniny and Bieszczady Mountains lie in the extreme south-east. There are over 100 castles in the country, many along the popular Trail of the Eagles' Nests.
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