Basic information about Poland
Poland (local: Polska), conventional long form the Republic of Poland (local: Rzeczpospolita Polska), is a country located in Central Europe bounded to the north by the Baltic Sea and two mountain ranges in the south, the Sudetes and the Carpathians. Poland shares its borders with 7 countries: Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian territory) to the north.
Poland has approximately 38 523 000 inhabitants, which gives it the 8th place in the most populated countries in Europe. Poland covers a total area of 312 685 square kilometers, which makes it the 9th largest country in Europe.
The official language of Poland is Polish and the Złoty is the official currency. Złoty is subdivided into 100 groszy.
Poland is a parliamentary republic. The executive branch consists of the President as the head of state; the Prime Minister as the head of government and the Council of Ministers. All ministers are proposed by the Prime Minister, appointed by the President, and approved by the Sejm.
The legislative branch is a bicameral legislature consisting of the Sejm and the Senate. The Sejm has 460 seats; members are directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms. The Senate has 100 seats; members are directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms.
Administrative division of Poland
Poland is an unitary state. Warsaw is the largest city in Poland and the capital of the country. Other major cities are: Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Lublin, Katowice, Białystok, Gdynia.
The territorial administrative structure of Poland is based on three levels of self-government. Poland is divided into:
- I level – Voivodeships (similar to provinces),
- II level – Powiats (similar to counties or districts),
- III level – Gminas (similar to communes or municipalities).
It should be noted that major cities have Powiat status. Currently (as of 01.01.2017) there are 16 Voivodeships, 380 Powiats (including 66 cities of Powiat status), and 2478 Gminas.
Map of Poland with the voivodeships (black), powiats (red) and gminas (green)