Five Interesting Polish History Facts

Like many countries in Europe, Poland is filled with a rich history which spans over a thousand years. It has seen multiple wars, border changes and for over 100 years did not have independence. Today Poland can be a wonderful place to live and Polish citizenship gives you access to numerous living, work, travel and study opportunities throughout Europe. But what about some facts that maybe you didn’t know?

1. One of the oldest restaurants in Europe is in Wroclaw!

Piwnica Swidnicka was established around 1273 and it is known as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Europe (and likely in the entire world). Receipts are dated as far back as the 1330s and are still well preserved in the Polish archives today. So if you want a truly authentic and

2. After WWII the Polish capital of Warsaw was almost completely ruined.

About 90% of Warsaw’s buildings were demolished. WWII caused more severe damage to Warsaw’s buildings than the nuclear bomb did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No modern city in the world has ever been rebuilt after such a complete demolition. Yet, Polish patriots could not see the future of their country without its capital and therefore the reconstruction of Warsaw started shortly after the war ended. With the help of old paintings depicting Warsaw, the old city was rebuilt in 1953 and it is recognised today as a UNESCO heritage site.

3. The Polish city of Gdansk (or Danzig in German) became a free city TWICE in its history.

For years, the ownership of Gdansk/ Danzig was in constant dispute between Poland and Germany. Considering it was a great trading centre with a well-developed port, it does not come as a surprise that both countries claimed their right to the city.

Gdansk received status of the free and became a semi-autonomous city twice:

  • In 1807 to 1814 when the city gained its independence under French governance.
  • Between 1920 to 1939 the city became known as ‘The Free City of Danzig’ under the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations’ protection.

Danzig/Gdansk was a semi-autonomous city-state in those years with a strong Polish and German influence. In 1939 it was again invaded by Germany but after the Second World War Gdansk was incorporated into Poland and has been a Polish city ever since.

4. Poland has a very troubled history!

Between 1600 to 1945, Polish lands saw constant fighting, wars, battles and conflicts taking place. Poland even disappeared from the maps in 1795 and was only reinstated at end of the first World War in 1918.  During those 123 years of non-independence, Polish lands were occupied by three countries including the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Prussia. Poland also saw two world wars which caused enormous damage and lose to Poland’s people, land and heritage.

5. Poland has had some very strange laws.

In 1926 in Upper Silesia in Poland, the local Government instated a law that all female teachers must live in celibacy. Thus females had to choose between their teaching career or establishing a family. Whilst in modern day such a law would be ridiculous in Europe but in the late 1800s and early 1900s other European regions had similar laws. Yet even at the time it was a very controversial law and thus only lasted 12 years.

Are you now convinced that Poland has a wacky and wild history? We promise it has improved! If you are interested in gaining Polish citizenship, fill out our free eligibility assessment form here.