312,685 sq km (120,728 sq miles)
38,610,000 (official estimate 2002)
122.3 per sq km
Population of Warsaw
1,609,800 (official estimate 2001)
Poland shares borders to the east with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, to the south with the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic and to the west with Germany. To the north is the Baltic Sea. The Baltic coast provides over 500km of bays, sandy beaches, steep cliffs and dunes. Northern Poland is dominated by islands, lakesand wooded hills joined by many rivers and canals. The Mazurian Lake District to the northeast is very beautiful. Lake Hancza, the deepest in Poland, is located in this district. The River Vistula has cut a wide valley from Gdansk on the Baltic coast to Warsaw. The rest of Poland rises slowly to the Sudety Mountains, which run along the border with the Czech Republic, and the Tatra mountains, which separate Poland from the Slovak Republic. The River Oder on the west, with Szczecin at its mouth, forms the northwest border with Germany.
Republic since 1918.
Head of State: President Aleksander Kwasniewski since 1995.
Head of Government: Prime Minister Marek Belka since 2004.
Polish is the official language. There is a small German speaking community. Russian and English are also spoken.
More than 95 per cent Roman Catholic; other religions include Polish Autocephalous Orthodox, Protestant, Russian and Greek Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim.
GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
220 volts AC, 50Hz; continental sockets.