Poland (Polish: Polska), is a country in Central Europe. It has a long Baltic Sea coastline and is bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Slovakia, and Ukraine. The 20th century was a destructive one for Poland, as World War II saw it being overrun by Germans and the Soviets. It wasn't until 1989 that Poland gained independence from the Soviet Union and began the arduous task of picking up the pieces.
Modern Poland's attractions can, at times, be deeply disturbing. Oswiecim (better known for its German name, Auschwitz) was home to the Nazi's largest concentration camp; approximately four million people were killed there. Poland's capital, Warsaw, was subject to a terrible battering in the war; it has been rebuilt from ground level since, but the memory of the war's savage destruction lives on. However, there is some joy to be had in Poland. The Tatras in the south are a tourist-magnet because of their excellent opportunities for skiing, hiking and spelunking, as well as the collection of quiet villages and towns where old traditions are kept alive.