Warsaw - History of the Capital of Poland Part 1

Trip Start Mar 10, 2014
Trip End Mar 21, 2014

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Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Poland has a rich and lavish history. I am actually 1/4 Polish on my mother's side and visiting this country has been something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

We took a train from Berlin which was an experience in itself. It was about 6 hour train ride. The countryside is very flat and fertile soil. Many (30%25) of Polish are farmers. 
The food here is incredible, and the people are very warm and friendly. They speak Polish. It is very different than German/English which both have similar roots (guten morgen in German sounds a lot like Good Morning in English. Danke - thank you - in German sounds a lot like Thank You in English). Polish is a Slavic language.

The thing about Warsaw is that 85%25 of the city was destroyed during WWII - but I will get to that in a minute. 85%25....devastating. Today we toured something called the Royal Castle. It was built in the 1600s but destroyed (see pics) by the Nazis after the Uprising, but it was rebuilt and is a symbol of Polish independence. We then visited Old Town, another part of Warsaw that was painstakingly rebuilt based on pictures and paintings from prewar to look just as it had before it was destroyed. 

We then visited monuments to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and learned about this courageous and sad part of their history. According to our tour guide, the city had 1.3 million inhabitants before WW2. 300,000 were Jewish and were sent to concentration camps and died in their uprising another 500,000 were not Jewish but sent to camps as well or died in the uprising (200,000). That means over half of their city died during WWII.

Timeline of WW2 - It Begins with a lightning invasion of Poland. 1939 - The Nazis (Germans) from the west and Soviets from the east invade Poland. The Polish form the Underground State (the symbol is on the wall in one of the pictures below). The Polish government goes in to exile. A satellite or puppet state is a country without economies or policies of their own. This was Hitler's plan with Poland. 

Read tomorrow's post for more information on Poland during WW2 and post-war. 

Schoology Questions - Famous Polish People
1. What is the currency and what is the exchange rate to the US dollar?
2. Who was Nicolas Copernicus, where was he from, and what is he known for?
3. Who was Marie Skłodowska, where was she from, and what is she known for?
4. Who was Chopin, and where is his heart?

5. Besides Warsaw, what are some other cities with statues of mermaids?
 AP only: Remember the Esperanto international language? Who invented it and where was he from?
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