For a nation that has had such a turbulent past, Poland has managed to turn itself around. Although Poland has withstood a century of being divided and parceled out for various nations to rule, and its capital city flattened, this scrappy country has fought tooth and nail for freedom and democracy. Left to its own devices, Poland has grown into one of the foremost economically burgeoning nations in central Europe.
The Polish population mostly resides in urban ares, with about 45% of all citizens living in cities that average at least 100,000 residents. The country boasts the largest population in Central Europe, also ranking it 33rd in the world. Ethnic Poles comprise the majority of the population, and can technically be referred to as the most ethnically homogenous in all of Europe, mostly due to altered borders after World War II. An overwhelming number of the population, 97% speaks Polish, while other minority foreign languages such as English, German, and Russian can be heard in especially urban areas. Over three quarters of the population are practicing Roman Catholics; other common religions practiced in the area include Eastern Orthodox and Protestant.
Poland is located in Central Europe, and while it once had a reputation for unforgiving frigid winter weather, the climate has become more mild and warm. In the spring and summer months, between May and September, Poles enjoy the most favorable weather consisting of warm sunshine and occasional rain. Typically September through October is the autumn season, bringing warm weather, lots of rain, and beautiful seasonal color, the season is locally known as the "golden Polish autumn." Winter reigns between December and March, inviting snow that may remain in the high mountains through as long as May, the average temperature settling at 32 degrees fahrenheit.
Pierogies, or dumplings, are popular around the world, and they are a national dish of Poland. Pierogies, though often prepared savory, can become a sweet treat when the insides are comprised of sweet creams and fruits; however they are most popularly made with potatoes, beef, cabbage, cheese and/or mushrooms.