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Malbork Castle - A World Record Castle in Poland. Photo: Finally Lost.

Every country has its stereotypes: Swedes are tall, blonde Vikings, the Scottish all wear kilts, Germans have no sense of humour, and every Australian knows how to surf. Poland is no different. While everyone assumes they drink nothing but vodka, that’s not the full story of their drinking habits - or anything else. Here are 17 things about Poland that might just surprise you.

Poland is the 9th Largest Country in Europe: (8th not Including Russia) Poland isn’t a small country, it’s actually one of the largest ones. Poland is bigger than Italy and the UK.

The name “Poland” (Polska) Has a Meaning: It originates from the name of the tribe Polanie, which means “people living in open fields”.

Polish History is Very Complicated:

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Photo: Polish Culture.

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might start reading Polish Medieval History. You’ll get confused many times (try reading something on the period from 1138 to 1320).

Later times also haven’t been easy for Poland. The country has been invaded or has fought for freedom in insurrections over 40 times. Poland even disappeared from world maps between 1772 and 1795, as cited by Anna Everywhere.

The Polish language is (very) difficult:

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Photo: Chido Fajny.

The Polish language uses seven cases what gives very complex grammar. It also has very difficult pronunciation and many exceptions to every one rule. Spelling is another problem as sometimes there are two characters that indicate the same sound. The Polish language is a crazy creation of verb conjugation and noun inflexion. Remember! The same word in few sentences can take a different form depending on the number (singular or plural), cases and gender.

Poland’s Constitution Was the 2nd in the World

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Photo: Poland.pl

Poland adopted its first written constitution in the spring of 1791, which was the 2nd in the world valid legal document of the kind. However, it was only in effect for only 14 months and 3 weeks before Poland was in partitions for over 100 years.

Polish Engineer Invented the Modern Kerosene Lamp

In 1853, Ignacy Lukasiewicz introduced the first modern street lamp from in Europe. His lamp inventions were, however, first used in Lviv in Ukraine. There is still a street in Warsaw that uses the same street lamps until today.

The most famous astronomer was Polish

Nowadays, the fact that the Earth rotates around the Sun is obvious. But in the past, the world was seen differently!

According to Discovery Cracow, the person who moved the earth and stopped the sun was Nicolaus Copernicus, a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer.

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Nicolaus Copernicus. Photo: Britannia.

Poland Has Its Own Version of Valentine’s Day

Kupała or Wianki is celebrated on June 21st, the ‘Feast of St. John the Baptist’ day. Men jump over bonfires and, women hope for wreaths. Wreaths with candles on one side of the river are floated to the other side and if one comes to you, you’ll be lucky in love.

Marie Curie Was Actually Polish

Marie Curie, the woman who discovered Polon and Rad, wasn’t French, but Polish. Her name was Marie Sklodowska before she married a Frenchman named Pierre Curie. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.

Poland has the second oldest University in Europe

The Jagiellonian University was founded by King Casimir III the Great in 1364. It means that it's the second University in Europe as the first one was created in Prague sixteen years before.

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Photo: UNIGIS International.

Vodka as a traditional Polish alcohol

Almost every Pole tried vodka for once. It was the most popular alcohol served at all weddings, birthday parties and anniversaries for years.

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Photo: Chilled Magazine

Typical Polish vodka contains 40-50% alcohol and occurs in many species.

Nowadays, around 260 millions litres of vodka are produced in Poland each year. Polish production of that alcohol has a very rich history as in the Middle Ages, every peasant and nobleman could produce their own liquor.

Currently, there are over 110 producers of spirit drinks in Poland. 90 percent of them are companies with Polish capital. Polish vodka is exported to many countries around the world and liked for its high quality.

Traditional Polish Last Names Change Depending on the Sex

Names that end with –ski/ska or –cka/cki work like adjectives and need to match the gender in Polish. So, if your father’s name is Kowalski, if you’re a female you’ll be called Kowalska. All Polish surnames in the US are a male version.

Europe’s Heaviest Animals Live in Poland

The 380,000-acre (150,000-hectare) Białowieża Primeval Forest in Poland is Europe’s last ancient forest and home to 800 European bison, Europe’s heaviest land animals.

Poland Used to Have the World’s Tallest Structure

The Warsaw Radio Mast in Konstantynow was the world’s tallest structure from 1974, until its collapse in 1991. It was the second tallest structure ever built after Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010. The mast was 646.38 meters (2,120.7 ft) tall.

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Photo: Booking.com

Polish dumplings are the best in the world

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Photo: Poropeke Adventures.

Polish food is absolutely delicious! Gołąbki, golonka, żurek and kotlet schabowy will blow your mind but the Polish dish that you MUST try is called pierogi! Pierogies are the kind of dough filled with different fillings. Usually cooked or baked pierogies are served with the greaves, onion or sour cream.

Poland Also Has the World’s Biggest Castle

Poland has an impressive 16 World Heritage Sites and among them the biggest castle in the world – Malbork. Measured by the area. Prague Castle often claims to be the world’s largest, but it’s not since it’s not a single area

Wearing a Hat Indoors is Considered Rude in Poland

If you wear a hat inside someone’s home or church it’s a sign of disrespect. While young people generally don’t mind, the older generation might feel uncomfortable.

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