312,685 sq km (120,728 sq miles).
122 per sq km.
Warsaw. Population: 1,711,491 (2011).
Poland shares borders to the east with the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania, to the south with the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic and to the west with Germany. To the north lies the Baltic Sea. The Baltic coast provides over 500km (300 miles) of sandy beaches, bays, steep cliffs and dunes. Northern Poland is dominated by lakes, islands and wooded hills joined by many rivers and canals. The Mazurian Lake District to the northeast is particularly beautiful. Lake Hancza, the deepest lake in Poland, is located in this district. The River Vistula has cut a wide valley from Gdansk on the Baltic coast to Warsaw in the heart of the country. The rest of the country rises slowly to the Sudety Mountains, which run along the border with the Czech Republic, and the Tatra mountains, which separate Poland from the Slovak Republic. To the west, the River Oder, with Szczecin at its mouth, forms the northwest border with Germany.
Polish is the official language. There is a small German-speaking community. English and Russian are also spoken.
More than 90% Roman Catholic; other religions include Polish Autocephalous Orthodox, Russian and Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim.
GMT + 1
220 volts AC, 50Hz; continental sockets.
Full IDD is available. Country code: 48. Outgoing international code: 00. Cheap rate on long-distance calls is available from 1600-0600. Telephone cards can be purchased from post offices, newsagents and hotel receptions for local calls.
ISPs include SuperMedia (website: www.supermedia.com.pl).
Services are provided at all main post offices and by phone.
Service to Western Europe takes up to four days. Poste Restante facilities are available at post offices throughout the country. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1800.
Independent publications are flourishing following the changes in the political system; about 100 newspapers are now available. The principal dailies are Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita and Zycie Warszawy. English-language publications include The Warsaw Voice (weekly).