by Andrew Whittaker
May 23rd, 2012
The latest book in the Speak the Culture series has been published. Speak the Culture: Poland‘s release is timely, coming only days before Poland plays host to its first major international football tournament, the Euro 2012 Championships.
The Euros will throw the spotlight on Poland and its co-host, Ukraine, for a month. The major cities will find themselves occupied by foreign fans; their central squares suddenly bathed in red (Spain, holders, begin in Gdańsk) or green (Ireland start in Poznań). England, mystifyingly, are camped in Kraków even though their group games are over the border in Ukraine.
Each and every visiting fan will be touched by Polish culture in some way. Some will eat pierogi (ravioli-like dumplings); others might step inside the 11th century crypt of Kraków’s Wawel Castle in search of shade; almost all, surely, will down a shot of Żubrówka vodka (famously flavoured with bison grass).
Hopefully, visitors and TV spectators alike will take the time to explore Polish culture in more depth. Poland’s art, literature, music and so on are woven intimately around the nation’s history. From the late 18th century through to the end of the 20th, Poland (at one time the strongest power in central Europe) was partitioned and occupied almost continually. Its authors, painters and playwrights kept the ‘nation’ alive through their work, bequeathing a rich legacy of culture that runs, linked, all the way from Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz to the punk bands that helped undermine Soviet rule in the 1980s.
Five Polish facts to get the half-time banter moving
Buy Speak the Culture: Poland here
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