Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Poland (called officially Republic of Poland) is located in Central Europe. Most of the country is a plain while the Baltic Sea in the north, Carpathian and Sudetes Mountains in the south, Oder and Neisse rivers in the west create its natural borders. Northeast part of the country – so called Lake District – is hilly and full of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. Poland's neighbouring countries (from the east to the west) are Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany. Country's total area is 312,843 square kilometres (including inland waters).
The longest rivers of Poland are Vistula (Wisla), Oder (Odra), Warta and Bug. Although most of the rivers of the country flow into the Baltic Sea, several of them (situated in Beskids) are tributaries of Orava that drains (through Vlah and Danube) to the Black Sea.
There are 21 mountains reaching over 2000 metres (all are situated in the Tatra Mountains). High Tatras (that are located on the border of Poland and Slovakia) are not only the highest mountains of Poland (with peak of Rysy 2499 metres in elevation) but also of all Carpathian range. Widely visited by tourists and hikers are also the Beskids, Karkonosze, wild but more and more popular Bieszczady, Gorce and Pieniny.
In Europe only Finland has greater number of lakes than Poland. Out of ten thousand closed bodies of water most of them are situated in lake districts that lie in northern part of the country. The four districts are: Pomeranian, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian, and the Masurian Lake District. The largest lakes are Sniardwy, Mamry and Lebsko while the deepest one is Hancza.
The climate of Poland is a mixture of maritime and continental climate. Usually cold winter may appear to be mild. Although summer seems to be the most pleasant period to visit Poland, the warmth can be mixed with rain – but still July is the hottest month (throughout whole summer the temperature varies between 21 and 32 Celsius degrees).
Warm September is the beginning of Polish autumn (since that month till December the temperature drops) and this part of the year is called Golden Polish Autumn – because of colourful leaves that create unforgettable view.
Flora and fauna:
In Poland there is bigger number of animals than plants. There are over 33000 animal species – most of which living all across the temperate zone of Eurasia. There are, however, 36 endemic and 38 relict species. Due to climatic differences between parts of Poland, one can admire different sort of fauna and flora in each of them (for example in north-east there are animals characteristic of the tundra and tajga while south-east fauna reminds of the Black Sea steppes).