Polish cuisine is a style of cooking and food preparation originating in or widely popular in Poland. Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become very eclectic due to Poland's history. Polish cuisine shares many similarities with other Slavic countries, especially Czech, Slovak, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian cuisines.1 It has also been widely influenced by other Central European cuisines, namely German, Austrian and Hungarian cuisines 2 as well as Jewish,3 French, Turkish and Italian culinary traditions.4 It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region), winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and herbs.5 It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish word kasza).6 Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.
Masuria and the Masurian Lake District are known in Polish as Kraina Tysiąca Jezior and in German as Land der Tausend Seen, meaning "land of a thousand lakes." These lakes were ground out of the land by glaciers during the Pleistocene ice age around 14,000 - 15,000 years ago, when ice covered northeastern Europe. From that period originates the horn of a reindeer found in the vicinity of Giżycko.96 By 10,000 BC this ice started to melt. Great geological changes took place and even in the last 500 years the maps showing the lagoons and peninsulas on the Baltic Sea have greatly altered in appearance. More than in other parts of northern Poland, such as from Pomerania (from the River Oder to the River Vistula), this continuous stretch of lakes is popular among tourists. The terrain is rather hilly, with connecting lakes, rivers and streams. Forests account for about 30% of the area.9798 The northern part of Masuria is covered mostly by the broadleaved forest, while the southern part is dominated by pine and mixed forests
The Tatra Mountains, Tatras or Tatra (Tatry either in Slovak (pronounced ?tatri) or in Polish (pronounced ?tatr?)- plurale tantum), are a mountain range that form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. They are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras should be distinguished from the Low Tatras (Slovak: Nízke Tatry) which are located south of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia.
The Tatra Mountains occupy an area of 785 square kilometres (303 sq mi), of which about 610 square kilometres (236 sq mi) (77.7%) lie within Slovakia and about 175 square kilometres (68 sq mi) (22.3%) on the territory of Poland. The highest peak, called Gerlach, at 2,655 m (8710 ft) is located north of Poprad. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m (8200 ft) is located south of Zakopane.
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