Cheapest Flights to Poland
In many ways, Poland is one of the success stories of the new Europe, transforming itself from a one-party state to a parliamentary democracy in a remarkably short period of time. More than a decade of non-communist governments has wrought profound changes on the country, unleashing entrepreneurial energies and widening cultural horizons in a way that pre-1989 generations would have scarcely thought possible. Gleaming corporate skyscrapers have taken root in Warsaw, and private shops and cafés have established themselves in even the most provincial of rural towns. The country has a radically different look about it, having exchanged the greyish tinge of a state-regulated society for the anything-goes attitude of private enterprise - and all the billboards and window displays that go with it.
However at the heart of modern Poland lies an all-too-familiar paradox: the very people who made the country's democratic revolution possible - militant industrial workers and anticommunist intellectuals - have found themselves marginalized in a society in which street-smart businessmen and computer-literate youth are far better poised to take advantage of the brave new Poland's burgeoning opportunities.
All this may come as a shock to those who recall the Poland of the 1980s, when images of industrial unrest and anticommunist protest were beamed around the world. Strikes at the Lenin shipyards of Gdansk and other industrial centers were the harbingers of the disintegration of communism in Eastern Europe, and, throughout the years of martial law and beyond, Poland retained a near-mythical status among outside observers as the country that had done most to retain its dignity in the face of communist oppression.
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Symbolizing a transformed geopolitical landscape, the new millennium finds Poland a member of NATO, the US-led military alliance of which it was - officially at least - a sworn enemy only ten years previously. Perhaps even more significantly, Poland, along with neighbors the Czech Republic and Hungary, is now decisively engaged in EU membership negotiations, a move that if - or more accurately, when - it actually happens promises to transform the country more profoundly than anything since the advent of communism.
Tourism is proving no exception to Poland's general "all change" rule, but despite the continuing state of flux in the country's tourist infrastructure, it is now easier to explore the country than anyone could have imagined only a few years back. This sea change is reflected in continuing and significant increases in the numbers of people visiting the country.