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Cities of Poland

Warsaw Lublin
Cracow Poznan
Lodz Gdansk
Wroclaw Czestochowa

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Student's talk:
Wang Lu (China)
My favourite Polish city is without a doubt Krakow. It has an amazing modern feel in old surroundings. I love the modern cafes situated in the old town houses around the Market Square. I love studying in Krakow!

You will be surprised how diverse Polish cities are. The cities in the East part of Poland differ from those in the West. Likewise Northern cities are different from Southern ones. They all differ in atmosphere, architecture and urban planning. This fascinating mix is the result of the country’s complicated history and the influences of Eastern and Western cultures.

Let’s take Wroclaw as an example. It is a very exceptional city in Western Poland. You will spot various cultural influences here, predominantly German and Polish, and also the traces of Czech, Austrian and Jewish cultures. An English historian specializing in Poland, Norman Davies, called Wroclaw “Central Europe’s microcosm” in his book Microcosm, co-written with Roger Moorhouse. Wroclaw’s vast Old City district is the cultural and social centre of the city. There are a lot of students here not only from all over Poland but also the whole world. Wroclaw’s atmosphere is similar to other popular European academic cities.

Lublin, on the other hand, which is also home to a few state universities, is a different kind of academic city. It is a perfect example of a place where East and West mix. For centuries, Lublin was one of the oldest and most important places for Polish Jews. No wonder it was called Poland’s Jerusalem, or the Mother of Israel. For those of you who are interested in history, Lublin is a great place to visit! Medieval fragments of the city walls stand next to Renaissance buildings. A beautiful park leading to the KUL Catholic University is an ideal place to rest. If you enjoy the vibrant students’ life, you will not be disappointed in Lublin!

Warszawa, the capital of Poland and its largest city, is a completely different story! There are a lot of universities here, however they are so widespread that the air of ‘student life’ is not as clearly felt as in smaller academic cities. You will find zillions of attractions here! Regardless of the type of music you listen to and what form of entertainment you like, you will find people and places that will share your passion. Museums, galleries, clubs and cafeterias, nightclubs, privately owned theatres… you name it! Warsaw’s got everything! Historically, Warsaw was almost totally destroyed during the World War II. The only district left untouched is the right bank of Praga, which nowadays is enjoying a cultural re-birth. The Old City was rebuilt only in the 1950s, yet it never became the focal point in the life of Warsawians - which is another characteristic feature of Warsaw. The social and cultural life of other Polish cities is usually located in the areas of the Old Town and Market Squares.

Krakow has a very special atmosphere, with its beautiful historical buildings and Europe’s largest Main Market (beneath which a multimedia exhibition on the history of the city has recently been opened). Krakow used to be the capital of Poland and the seat of Polish kings. Nowadays it is a major academic and business centre, attracting thousands of international tourists. Krakow is also known for being the host town of the oldest University in Poland and second oldest University in Central Europe: Jagiellonian University, founded in 14th century!

Another fine example of a Polish city is Gdansk, which lies on the Baltic Coast. It is the city of the famous shipyard where, in 1980, Lech Walesa founded the Polish trade union, Solidarity, leading to the fall of communism in 1989. An amazing Old City is one of the city’s attractions. Gdansk, together with two other coastal cities, Sopot and Gdynia, form the so-called Tri-city.

Wherever you decide to study in Poland, you can always hop on the bus or train and visit other Polish cities within a couple of hours reach. Poznan, Torun, Lodz or Szczecin and some smaller towns, Zamosc, Stary Sacz, Zakopane, and Klodzko are all worth visiting. Go and experience the diversity of Polish cities for yourself!

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