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g Polish Culture Site

BellaOnline's Polish Culture Editor

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Culture - People

Famous people of Polish origin, kings, scientists, writers, Nobel-award winners etc

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Adam Mickiewicz, great poet of two nations star
This poet of Romantic period is thought to be one of the greatest writers in Poland and in Lithuania. His works were influenced by the country’s situation and his interest in history. Mickiewicz encouraged his nation with works that described the time when it was strong and independent.

Anna Jagiellonka – king’s wife star
Queen Anna was the last member of Jagiellon family. When her brother died, leaving no successors, there were plans to proclaim her the king of Poland and crown her together with her husband, that would be chosen by Polish nobles.

Boleslaw the Brave star
Although it is Mieszko I who united and ruled Polish lands as the first one, his first-born son Boleslaw was the first one to be enthroned. He enlarged the lands inherited after his father and formed a strong and Christian country respected and known in Europe.

Irena Sendler, Polish Hero star
Mrs Sendler might not be know all around the world but she is surely one of people that Poland should be proud of. She saved many lives risking her own. She showed courage and will to do good. Forgotten for years, although she saved more Jews during Holocaust than Schindler.

Italian queen of Poland star
The rule of known dynasties was based on the rule of its male members while women were usually kept away from politics. Queens, who made attempts to rule, were most of the time not popular among their subjects. One of such queens was Bona Sforza.

Jagiello, Lithuanian king of Poland star
Ladislau Jagiello was a strong king who started to rule the country thanks to his marriage to female heir of Polish throne. After the death of his spouse he was married 3 more times and kept the throne for his sons. He founded Jagiellonian dynasty that ruled Poland and gained influence in Europe.

Janosik, Slavic Robin Hood star
Life and legend of this Slovak highwayman is similar to Robin Hood’s. Although Janosik was Slovak, his activity on Polish land made him popular around the country. He was captured and executed at the end of 25, after he had refused to betray his companions.

Janusz Korczak, silent hero star
When we talk about heroes of war, we usually think of people lighting In battles, leading the crowds to victory and showing resist towards the enemy. But there are also silent heroes who gave their life in the name of idea. One of them is Janusz Korczak.

Kashubians in Poland star
The ethnic group of Kashubians inhabits West coast of Baltic Sea within Poland's borders. They do not only keep their separate and unique identity through culture but also through the language they use. They are direct off-springs of Pomeranians, one of Slavic tribes.

Matejko, Polish painter obsessed with history star
Jan Matejko is thought to be one of the most famous Polish painters. His works depict important historical events. He is also considered to have been a fine example of Krakow citizen who supported cultural development of the city.

Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Polish Franciscan star
This Polish Saint Franciscan was born under the name Rajmund Kolbe, in 1894 in Zdunska Wola, in a poor family of physical workers. His father worked in a factory while his mother led a shop (later on she worked as a midwife).

Minorities in Poland star
Although Poland is believed to be mono-cultural, there are ethnic groups that inhabit the country since ages. Their ancestors arrived to Poland in search of better life. Although they do not form strong communities, they still keep and their culture.

Miracles of Saint Jadwiga star
Saint Jadwiga of Poland, the only female king of the country, is especially known for her pious life that is said to include numerous miracles. This young woman is one of the most important saints in Polish culture.

Mrs Walewska, Polish mistress of Napoleon star
Although women are called the weaker sex, their love may influence the action of the greatest politicians of the world. One fine example is Mrs Maria Walewska, who became a mistress of Napoleon Bonaparte and was called by him his Polish wife.

Polish economy and currency rate star
Joining European Union by Poland brought many changes in the country. But the Poles are still to face the change of currency. However, till that moment changes of exchange rate of Polish Zloty influence Polish economy.

Polish immigrants in Great Britain star
Joining European Union by Poland brought a lot of changes in the country. One of the most visible ones was a large group of emigrants who fled to Great Britain in search of better life. Through this their reality - as well as reality of Poland - changed.

Polish king who ran away star
Henry of Valois never thought he would become king of Poland. His new homeland seemed oriental and new ruler too fashionable what brought cultural shock for both sides. Therefore when the opportunity of becoming the ruler of France arose, he ran away in disguise.

President and trade unions star
This man proves that there is no need for years of studies and education to become the most important person in the country. He did not need expensive campaigns to win the presidential election and did not spend years in politics prior to becoming president of Poland.

Sarmatism in Poland star
The belief about ancient origin of Polish nobility created unique version of Baroque style. Sarmatism influenced painting, clothes but especially culture of nobility in the country.

Screened histories of famous Poles star
You can read many books on famous Poles but there are also couple of films that portray important persons from Poland. Although they usually do not cover their all life – they might be a good start in getting to know more.

Stereotypes about the Poles star
Many countries have probably numerous stereotypes about the Poles. However, very often they do not match with reality or at least with what the Poles think about themselves. Where is the truth then? Probably somewhere between.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko, international hero star
Kosciuszko is thought to be the hero of Poland, United States, Lithuania and Belarus. He fought for Polish independence as well as he helped American colonies in fight with Great Britain. However, it was French revolution that shaped his political and social view.

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler star
The movie is based on history of Irena Sendler, a courageous woman who saved 2500 of Jewish kids. It is surely worth watching, although some parts of it might bring disappointment. For sure the film is a great lesson of history and human will and courage.

The great families of Poland star
There are many family names that still remind of powerful families that used to rule Poland or had strong influence on its politics. The most known families were two dynasties that ensured many successful hereditary rulers for the country.

The legend of Pan Twardowski star
Magicians are very often characters of folklore tales and believes. Pan Twardowski is a Polish legendary sorcerer who is believed to have outwitted the devil. His person, most probably based on real individual, inspired numerous poets and novelists.

The one who moved the earth star
Mikolaj Kopernik (known outside of Poland as Nicolaus Copernicus) was born in 1473 in Torun, today’s Poland. He was a mathematician, lawyer, economist, doctor, translator… and above all he was a great astronomer.

Things that Poles do... star
There are many customs and traditions that are unique for the Poles, while foreigners would consider them strange or understandable. As soon as you learn them, you will not feel a stranger among citizens of Poland.

Veit Stoss, talented artist of Polish Gothic star
Every epoch has artists that changed the face of art (or given style) in a certain place. The same was with Polish Gothic carving that could not imagine better artist than Veit Stoss. His works remain the greatest medieval pieces of art ever.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, extraordinary man among us star
One of the greatest people – at least according to me – of present Polish history is Wladyslaw Bartoszewski. His incredible biography would amaze everybody, especially that he went through all the changes that Poland went through.

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