Poland, the largest of the East European countries comparable in size to Italy or Germany, is located in the plains between Germany and Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania and borders upon Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the south. In Poland, such famous people as Nicolas Copernicus, Frederic Chopin and Pope John Paul II were born. Since the fall of the Warsaw Treaty when entrance to the country became free, Poland is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for travelers. The country is famous for its historic towns and cities that largely retain medieval air, thick with historic events of great importance to the whole of Europe. Travel to Poland is a good chance learn more about this unique cultural and historic heritage. It is almost impossible to visit everything worth seeing in one short trip to Poland. When you travel to Poland you simply must visit such world-famous tourist destinations as: the Baltic ancient port of Gdansk, Wielkopolska, the cradle of the nation, Czestochowa, the Tatra Mountains, and Silesia with its many old castles. However, the two primary destinations are Warsaw, the present capital, and the ancient capital Krakow, which is an exquisite treasure of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Your first impression of Warsaw may be unfavorable: it looks like a long set of anonymous residence buildings. It is important to remember that the city was almost completely destroyed during World War II and then 90 per cent built anew. However, as you will get to know later, Warsaw is the national and European culture center. The city hosts several important cultural events. They include: the International Chopin Piano Competition, the annual Warsaw Autumn Modern Music Festival in September, the International Book Fair in May, the Warsaw Poetry Autumn, etc. You may think it worth visiting Old Town. Leveled by the Nazis, the neighborhood of cobblestone Gothic streets and alleyways, baroque palaces, churches and tiered burghers' houses was genuinely reconstructed to reflect the atmosphere of the old days. In Old Town, you can visit Royal Castle (former Polish Commonwealth's central government building) and Historical Museum of Warsaw (covering the city's long history). Other landmarks are: Wilanow Palace (featuring the famous collection of portraits by Polish artists from the 16th through the 19th centuries), Cathedral of St. John (the former site of royal coronations and other events of national importance) and Lazienki Palace (it once was a royal residence and is surrounded by ponds, canals and magnificent park-like grounds). If you travel to Poland you cannot skip Krakow. The third largest city in the country, it was the capital from the 11th century to the 16th century and the intellectual hub of Europe. It survived World War II unscathed and retains purely Cracovian atmosphere. It is the place to see and stay in until you get bored completely - many claim it never happens in Krakow. Places to wonder are: Wawel Cathedral (the burial place of many Polish kings and their families, also famous for its superb collection of religious art including the giant bell of Zygmunt of 1520, one of the world's largest), Old Town (the historic ñòåóê established by Prince Boleslav V in the 13th century), and Jagiellonian University (the center of the city's intellectual life founded in 1364). Other tourist destinations include: Czartoryski Palace, St. Florian's Gate, Church on the Rock, Remuh Synagogue, etc. Your travel to Poland will not only be exciting and entertaining, but also enriching in terms of your better understanding of the world culture to which Poland has contributed so much.