Polish Culture Regional Variations
The cultures in Poland vary with the regions and exist because of history.
The Polish culture that you see when you come to Poland will vary with the region that you visit. The variations in Polish culture exist because of Poland's turbulent history.
The Polish partitions that occurred in earlier centuries split Poland into pieces. Each piece was ruled by a foreign power and the culture of that foreign power affected that region. When Pilsudski finally united the country for a short time during the 1900's, he united a Poland of three different cultures.
The country that Pilsudski united is not the Poland of today. Pilsudski's Poland was torn apart by World War Two.
What is Western Poland today was once part of your part of Germany. At the end of World War Two the western borders of Poland were moved into Germany and the German inhabitants were relocated west. Polish people move into and took over the farms and homes and everything else that had been owned by the Germans.
At the same time the Eastern borders of Poland were moved West and a large part of what was Poland is now part of countries to the east.
The partitions and border shifts did more than to just change the lines on the maps that show the borders.
Today the culture in western part of Poland is definitely more like the cultures of Western Europe. The German influence on the economy and the way people approach life is quite apparent.
Conversely the culture of the Polish people in eastern Poland presents a stark contrast to the culture of the people in the West. The culture in the eastern part of Poland is one of a rural population that in many cases is many years behind the rest of the country. Some tourists liken it to a museum.
It is common to refer to sections of Poland as Poland A and Poland B. The dividing line between the two sections is roughly a north-south line that passes through Warsaw.
But even beyond this there's a difference between the cultures in each of the main cities and the rural areas. The main cities are dynamic European cities with mobile populations. The rural areas are generally dominated by local folk who are stuck in the old ways and often not interested in moving forward.
So when you come to Poland and visit an area recognize that you have seen the culture of that area and that area only. What you have seen is only a small part of how life goes on in Poland.
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