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April - May 2004


Travel

Poland: Land of Pope John Paul II

by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur


After the fall of the Iron Curtain it has become easy for visitor to explore the countries which used to be part of the so called Eastern Block. These countries are making great efforts to attract tourists to come, discover and enjoy the land that includes Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.We recently had the pleasure to visit the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. In this article an attempt is made to outline a few interesting and beautiful sights of Poland, which is increasingly becoming popular with the tourists. Visitors can now go to all parts of the country including the remotest natural and man made places.

In just over a decade, Poland has come a long way and is now on the threshold of joining the European Union 'Club'. Poland is the land of Pope John Paul II, who was the archbishop of Kracow and now is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The majority of the Polish people are of the catholic faith and generally lead a rural lifestyle. Ethnic minorities in Poland include Belarusians, Germans, Lithuanians, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Muslims.
Like in many other nations, life in the countryside has not changed much, whilst cities like Warsaw show a modern face. We all can perhaps remember that Gdansk on the Baltic coast gathered fame in the 1980's as a birthplace of the solidarity movement and thus became a very well know city.

The impressive town of Krakow is the ancient royal capital and has been compared with Prague and Vienna as one of the architectural gems of central Europe. Krakow has always been one of the major centre of polish culture and continues to remain so, with it's great theatres, magnificent museums, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and pubs. For it's cultural heritage the city was featured in the award winning film 'Schindlers List'. In the heart of the city is a square, maybe the largest of it's kind in Europe with a medieval cloth hall which practically divides the square in two. Other attractions of the city are the Royal Castle at the top of Wawell Hill, Wawell Cathedral, the historical synagogue and romantic streets of the old town.....

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