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Still from Christmas Eve by Jerzy Stefan Stawiński and Helena Amirradżibi. Photo: Tadeusz Biernacki / The National Film Archives / www.fototeka.fn.org.pl

Like in most Central European countries, Christmas in Poland is a quaint and much-beloved affair. However, while Germanic traditions, like decorating trees, have spread so far as to be unsurprising, Polish customs remain delightfully distinctive.

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Poland is a landlocked Eastern European country somewhere in the polar circle. It is a former member of the USSR inhabited by Russian speakers...or is it? Have a look at these six real-life misconceptions about Poland and don’t hesitate to share those you've heard!

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What's in a Polish name? Why did the Slavic names of yore almost die out? And what are Polish names like nowadays?

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Jesus in Świebodzin with rainbow, blue sky and Polish landscape, photo by Mateusz Skwarczek / Agencja Gazeta

If you’re growing bored of your city’s regular buildings, this list will blow your mind. Read on to visit the top 10 the strangest buildings all at once.

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The Polish alphabet has 32 letters, nine of which are unique. Considering that some of the letters form digraphs and even one trigraph, this adds up to a total of 17 signs, which you‘ll unfortunately have to learn by heart. On the other hand, once you know them all, you’ll be able to pronounce any Polish word.

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Drowning of the 10-meters tall Marzanna in Jeziorzany, Poland, 2014. Photo: Jacek Świerczyński / Forum

Every country has customs that shock and confuse foreigners. Polish people going about their daily business or celebrating special occasions often do things that will make your jaw drop, but are considered perfectly normal here.

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Cricoteka headquarters in Kraków, photo: Marek Kowalski

The accounts of Polish architecture are just as tumultuous and complex as the political fate of this part of Europe. Poland’s borders moved on multiple occasions, the partitions and loss of independence, wartime destruction, and finally, European funds now stimulating the construction market – all of these factors contribute to the image of Polish architecture.

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"Clapp" armchair, project: Piotr Kuchciński, producer: NotiMust, Have 2014, photo: Łódź Design Festival 2014

In the last couple of years Poland's fame has gone beyond its beautiful women and hearty meals served with a shot of vodka. Slowly but surely, Poland is starting to be recognised for its design: both contemporary and classical.

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Фотография из книги «Лица Агнешки Холланд» («Twarze Agnieszki Holland»), слева направо: Анджей Жулавский, Анджей Вайда, Агнешка Холланд, Роман Полански, Рышард Бугайский, Кшиштоф Кесьлёвский, Канны, 1990. Фото из личного архива Анджея Вайды

Of all the areas of Polish culture in which a foreigner requires guidance, cinema first comes to mind. Many are acquainted with its international stars, but few know the background story and the gems that haven't yet made it global. To brush up on your knowledge - or to tackle your complete ignorance - simply select your profile, click and enjoy!

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Pierogi with fruit, photo:  Mari Hem/Reporter

During decades of communist regime, Poles usually could only "enjoy" the simple rural versions but nowadays extravagant stuffing and fancy toppings often turn this simple dish into a gourmet delicacy.

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With its complex history and fascinating present, Poland has proven a fruitful ground for theatre makers. In fact, some of the world’s most influential and revolutionary artists of the Occidental stage came from Poland. Let us introduce you to milestone figures of (Polish) 20th century theatre

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