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Trivia
  • The popular Polish lullaby-style Christmas carol "Lulajaze, Jezuniu" served as the basis of one of the scherzos composed by Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849); much of his music reflected the national rhythms and dances of his native land. 
  • Jak sie masz? Na zdrowie! and Daj mi buzi! are said to be the three phrases non-Polish Americans are most likely to know in Polish. The most familiar single words are thought to be kielbasa, pierogi and the four-letter "D-word." 
  • Liquor connoisseurs around the globe have acclaimed Poland's potato-based Chopin brand and rye-based Belvedere brand, as the world's finest vodkas. They sell in the US for around $30 a bottle and are the favorite tipple of many American celebrities.
  • Completed in 1502, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Gdansk took 123 years to build. Said to accommodate 20,000 people, it is Poland's biggest house of worship and one of Europe's largest Gothic brick churches. 
  • Polish numbers are rather difficult for foreigners to master, and the numeral two is undoubtedly the most troublesome since it has all of 13 different forms: dwa, dwaj, dwie, dwu, dwóch, dwom, dwóm, dwoma, dwiema, dwoje, dwojga, dwojgu & dwojgiem.
  • During World War II, Poland was the fourth largest contributor to the Allied effort in the European theater, after the Soviet Union, United States and Great Britain.
  • The fabled painting of Our Lady of Czestochowa is a 11th-12th century Byzantine icon offered to the Pauline monastery by Prince Wladyslaw of Opole in 1384. According to a legend, it was painted by St. Luke on the table-top of the Holy Family in Nazareth.
  • The standard Polish flag is divided equally into a white horizontal top half and a crimson bottom half. The national crest, a crowned white eagle on a red shield, should be flown only by Polish ships at sea and Polish diplomatic legations abroad. Turned upside down (with the red half at the top), Poland's colors become the national flag of Indonesia. 
  • The world petroleum industry was founded by a Pole, Ignacy Lukasiewicz.
  • Exiled Polish King Stanislaw Leszczynski (1677-1766) is credited with having introduced the French to two specialties of Polish cuisine: bigos (meat & sauerkraut stew), which is known in France as choucraute garni, and baba (tall yeast-raised egg bread), which the French developed into one of their favorite desserts, a rum-soaked cake called baba au rhum. 
  • The Romanesque-Gothic Church of St James in Sandomierz is believed to be Poland's first brick edifice. Visitors may view the remains of monks murdered by the invading Tartars in 1259. 
  • More dogs in the Polish countryside are named Burek than any other name. The name comes from the word "bury" which is a kind of dirty grayish-brown: the color of most nondescript mongrels found on Polish farms. In cities, dogs have such names as Rex (or its diminutive Reksio), Azor, Kajtek, Brutus, Budrys, Misiek, Hetman, Bosman and Wicher. Popular names for bitches include Saba, Sara, Tara and Diana. Small lapdogs are sometimes called Pimpus, Dzidzia or Kropelka. 
  • Polish Americans who have not visited Poland over the past few years are often surprised to find that the American dollar has lost its almighty status. Luggage porters, doormen, taxi drivers, waiters, street traders and others now prefer zloties because it saves them a trip to the currency exchange office. All goods and services are now available for zloties and there are no longer any special shops that accept only Western currency. 
  • As a result of post communist geographic changes, Poland now has seven separate neighbors: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. Since there is talk of Belarus giving up its independence and rejoining Russia, Poland would then border directly on Russia at two different points: the Kaliningrad enclave (the headquarters of Russia's main Baltic naval installations) to the north and former Belarus to the east. 
  • The western city of Poznan is the country's single largest concentration of a burgeoning sex industry, according to the weekly news magazine Wprost. It has more striptease bars, erotic massage parlors, peep shows and related businesses than any other Polish city and caters, to a large extent, to visitors from neighboring Germany. Throughout the country, there are numerous sex shops and escort agencies which function as thinly-disguised brothels. 
  • A true freak of nature is Central Europe's only true desert, the Pustynia Bledowska located midway between Krakow and Czestochowa. It consists of 20 sq. mi. of shifting sands, oasis-like vegetation (only along the River Biala Przemsza that cuts through the desert), and even mirages on hot summer days. 
  • The 2,500-year-old fortified log-style settlement at Biskupin, Poland, was first discovered in 1933 by historian Walenty Szwajcer. The settlement has since been reconstructed and is a major tourist attraction. 
  • The sturgeon, the European mink and the strepet (a game bird) are among the species that have become extinct in Poland during the 20th century. The wild ponies found in the Bialowieza Virgin Forest, popularly referred to as tarpans, are actually half-breeds, since no full-blooded tarpans have survived. 
  • Most judges and dentists in Poland are women, as are about one-half of all the medical doctors. Many traditionally male professions became feminized after so many males had been killed in the war.  
  • Although dry cereals (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Muesli) as well as toast and jam are gaining adherents in Poland, the favorite breakfast of most Poles remains cheese and cold cuts, usually in the form of open-face sandwiches on bread or rolls. Tea with lemon is the most common breakfast beverage. 
  • The Old Warsaw Restaurant in Dallas has been rated as one of the best in Dallas and indeed one of the best in the United States. Its style is very early 20th century European with a string quartet playing classical music. It was established originally by a Pole who got bored working for the Library of Congress. 
  • St. Casimir was born of Polish royalty in 1458. His refusal to take up arms against a Hungarian army earned him the title "The Peacemaker" among Poles. He devoted much time to prayer and study, and used his influence and resources to help the poor. Casimir also refused his father's demand to marry, and chose instead, a celibate life. He died in 1484. Many miracles were reported at his tomb. Casimir was canonized in 1522 and his feast is March 4. 
  • Several years ago Polish and Jewish experts revised the death toll at the German-built Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex from 4 million to about 1.5 million. About 1.1 million of those killed there were were Jewish. The figure of 4 million Auschwitz victims put to death by the Germans was concocted by Soviet officials to draw attention away from Stalin's crimes, and most of the world had believed that figure for decades. 
  • Poland is probably the only country in the world whose military, police officers and other uniformed services use a two-finger salute. Only two fingers (the index and middle angers) are extended when Poles raise their right hand to take an oath.
  • Elderly Polish woman, born in the early part of this century and named after the Blessed Mother, have had to spell their first name three different ways just in their lifetime. When they were little girls it was Marya, as young adults between the two World Wars they spelled it Marja. And after World War II, the spelling was changed to Maria. 
  • The town of Suchowola in northeastern Bialystok voivodship (province) is situated at the very geographic center of Europe. That is the place where a line, drawn from a point in Finland in the north to Greece in the south, transects a line from the Ural Mountains in the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Other centers of Europe claimed by such countries as Austria or Hungary can be arrived at if the calculation is based only on continental Europe (minus the British Isles and Scandinavia). 
  • Poland's "Golden Age" was a nearly two-century-long period coinciding with the rule of the Jagiellonian Dynasty (1385-1573). During that period, Poland grew to be the biggest country in Europe: a multinational commonwealth of Poles, Lithuanians and Ruthaians which straddled the continent from the Baltic Sea the north to the Black Sea in the south. This period witnessed the dynamic growth of the arts, crafts, learning, town construction and in many other fields. 
  • Most kielbasa consumed in Poland is regarded as a cold cut. It is eaten cold with bread and tea for breakfast or supper and is often served as an appetizer to "bite down" successive rounds of vodka. Sometimes kielbasa is roasted on sticks over a bonfire, but it is rarely served hot as a main course at dinner. 
  • In some sections of the Polish countryside gold coins (tsarist gold rubles, Austrian ducats, U.S. gold pieces, etc.) are still placed in the diaper of a baby about to be christened. It is believed that will help ensure good luck and prosperity throughout his or her lifetime. 
  • Since Germans constituted the majority of residents in many Polish towns when they were first developing centuries ago, many Polish words denoting municipal affairs, handicrafts, implements, etc. are of German origin. They include: rada (council [from German Rat]), burmistrz (mayor [Burgermeister]), ratusz (town hall [Rathaus]), plac (town square [Platz]), rymarz (leather worker [Riemer]), slusarz (locksmith [Schlosser]), sruba (screw [Schraube]), sznur (rope [Schnurr]), etc. 
  • Hand kissing, the traditional Polish way of greeting the fair sex, will probably begin disappearing within a generation. Under the influence of Western lifestyles dominating the media, including the feminist views, more and more teenagers and young adults are abandoning this custom which has long been a trademark of chivalrous Polish males. 
  • If the letters "gl" are added after the "m" to the English word "misty," you get the Polish word mglisty which means exactly the same thing! 
  • Polish interest in basketball has been spurred in recent years by the inclusion of high-performance black American players on a number of Polish teams. Poland's championship team Mazowszanka Pruszkow includes New Yorker Keith Williams and another black cager, Tynce Walker. On the team defeated in the finals, Polonia Przemysl, were Detroiter Nathan Buntin and former Indiana University basketball star Darryl Thomas. 

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