What is the terrain and geography like in Poland?
Poland ranks seventh in Europe in area and population. Most of Poland consists of lowland plains. To the north are the Baltic Sea coast and a broad belt of lake land. In the center are broad, low-lying plains and vast forest belts. To the south, the land passes into chains of mountains—the Sudety in the west and the Carpathians in the east. These mountains combine to form the southern boundary of Poland. The Tatra Mountains, a part of the Carpathians, are the highest in Poland. Rysy Mountain rises 8,212 feet above sea level. At the foot of the Tatras lies the town of Zakopane, a year-round sports center.
One main seaport, Szczecin, is near the German border. Poland’s two other major port cities, Gdansk, and Gdynia, lie about 170 miles farther east, at the mouth of the Vistula River. Many summer resorts with beautiful beaches lie along the Baltic coast. About 200 miles north of Warsaw is a belt of lakes stretching from Olsztyn to Augustow, surrounded by the largest forest in Poland.
The main rivers are the Vistula, on which Warsaw and Krakow are situated; the Odra, whose northern course forms a part of the German border; the Narew, in northeastern Poland; the Warta, on which Poznan is located; and the Bug, part of which helps form Poland's eastern boundary.
In addition to Warsaw and the port cities, Poland has several other major cities. Krakow, a former capital, is noted for its beautiful Renaissance architecture. Wawel, the Castle Hill, is the former seat and present burial site of Poland’s past kings. Lodz is the center of Polish light industry. Poznan is an industrial and agricultural center and site of the International Poznan Fair. Other major cities are Wroclaw, Katowice, and Gdansk.
Geography - note
historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
Poland’s climate is continental European. Winters can be severe, with heavy snows possible from December through March. Winter temperatures in Warsaw average about -3.9ºC to 0ºC. The lowest temperature in recent years was - 30ºC. Spring is usually cold and rainy. Summer can bring temperatures topping 37ºC, but a few days at about 32ºC is more typical. Autumn is usually cloudy and can be quite cold. Yearly rainfall averages about 59.69 centimeters.