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Poland - Discover Your Roots

Original article by Sun-Times Marketing

Updated Sept 20, 2022, 8:58pm EDT

Close to 9 million Americans say that they have Polish heritage. More and more are discovering their roots by travelling to Poland to experience the Baltic Sea, Tatra Mountains, and everything in between. Whether you’re into big-city hotels, cultural festivals, and music concerts or picturesquely located manors, farms, and rural vineyards, Poland has everything for your journey of self-discovery.

Finding out about our family’s history often begins by dusting off our old photo albums. We see our grandparents and great-grandparents in foreign towns and landscapes; we remember stories told by our moms and dads about their journey to America; we can almost smell the traditional food that they cooked during the holidays. These memories make us feel at home, and that is the same feeling you’ll have when visiting Poland.

As you are discovering ancient cities that were the historic capitals of kings, hiking through breathtaking national parks, or tasting beer at one of the many microbreweries, one thing will always be there during your entire trip: Polish hospitality. This hospitality is legendary and is linked to delicious cuisine. Anyone who has been to a Polish wedding can attest to the spirit of culinary delights mixing with tradition, laughter, and festivities. In the mountains or by the sea, in the tranquil countryside or busy cities, the magic of flavors and tastes will make your trip to Poland unforgettable.

Exploring the country of your ancestry will give you a chance to practice saying dzień dobry (jane-doh-brih, good morning), jak sie masz? (yahk shay mahsh? how are you?), and na zdrowie (nah zdroh-vyeh, Cheers!). And although you’ll be greeted with smiles and friendly responses, if you want to stick to English, that will work too. According to the EF English Proficiency Index for 2021, out of 112 countries and regions in the world, Poland ranks 16 in terms of English skills – ahead of Switzerland (ranked 25), France (31), and Italy (35).

For centuries, Poland has been at the heart of Europe and at the crossroads of different cultures. You can learn about its past and people by exploring some of the best and most interactive museums in Europe. After taking in this rich history and flourishing culture, you can relax on the boulevards, beaches, and promenades along the banks of the beautiful rivers that flow through Polish cities. Moving around the country is simple and convenient with a network of trains and flights between cities and towns. With direct flights from Chicago to Warsaw and Kraków, you’ll be in Poland in a few hours. The flight is just an hour longer than if you were travelling to London.

Poland has the highest quality of hotels in the world. They are new, affordable, and will make your stay an unforgettable experience. The Polish Złoty remains the country’s currency, and Poland is not in the eurozone. So whether you’re sightseeing, shopping for gifts and souvenirs, staying in chain or boutique hotels, or dining in acclaimed restaurants, Poland gives you the most bang for your buck.

Take a trip to discover your roots and you’ll come home enchanted by Poland’s hospitality and your Polish heritage. To get started, go to www.poland.travel/en

Resources:

You can use specific resources and tools to begin tracing your heritage trail. You could start by contacting the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) for questions and tips. Warsaw's POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has created a Virtual Shtetl project which can prove invaluable in researching your Jewish ancestry in Poland. One can also explore the history and fates of Polish emigrants at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia. Additionally, the Polish State Archives collect vital information from various sources but unfortunately could prove challenging to navigate for non-Polish speakers.

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Polish National Tourist Office
980 N. Michigan Ave, Ste. 1550
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 1 (551) 344-3057
e-mail: info.na@poland.travel