Polish forests cover about 30% of Poland's territory, and are mostly owned by the state. Western and northern parts of Poland as well as the Carpathian Mountains in the extreme south, are much more forested than eastern and central provinces.1 The most forested administrative districts of the country are: Lubusz Voivodeship (48,9%), Subcarpathian Voivodeship (37,2%), and Pomeranian Voivodeship (36,1%).1 The least forested are: Łódź Voivodeship (21%), Masovian Voivodeship (22,6%), and Lublin Voivodeship (22,8%).
Forest in Poland occupy the poorest soil. Coniferous type accounts for 54.5%, whereas broadleaved type accounts for 45.5% (out of that, alder and riparian forests account for 3.8%). A number of forested zones are now protected by the Polish government and, in many cases, they have become tourist destinations. Over the years, many of the largest Polish forests have been reduced in size, and that reflected on the structure of forest inhabitation.
Up until the end of the 18th Century, beginning in what is known as the Middle Ages, forests were considered places for travelers and ordinary folk to stay away from, as they were home to bandits and were believed to be inhabited by evil spirits. Law and order did not apply to forests for many centuries, except for self-policing observed and administered by their inhabitants. However, the forests did contain numerous woodsmen and their families who made the best of their remote environment. These woodsmen lived on what the forest could produce, collecting pitch resin for sale ? important as method of illuminating city streets ? logging construction lumber, collecting lime, bees wax, honey, hops, mushrooms and whatever other saleable items could be harvested in the forest and sold in villages outside of it.
Families of the woodsmen produced their own food through gardening and hunting, as well as their own clothing. In some cases, their sewing of intricate laces became well known outside the forest, resulting in additional family income. Because of their isolation from society in general, woodsmen and their families developed their own style of dress, music, sewing, dialect, celebrations, and the type of dwellings. The Masovia woodsmen for example, known as Kurpie people, who lived in the forested region known in Poland as the White Wilderness (Puszcza Biała) and the Green Wilderness, still proudly proclaim and celebrate their unique culture and customs.
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.
The Polish national dishes are bigos ?bi??s; pierogi p???r???i; kiełbasa; kotlet schabowy ?k?tl?t sxa?b?v? (type of breaded cutlet); gołąbki ???w??pk?i (type of cabbage roll); zrazy ?zraz? (type of roulade); roast (Polish: pieczeń) ?p??t????; sour cucumber soup (Polish: zupa ogórkowa) Polish pronunciation: ?zupa ??ur?k?va; mushroom soup, (Polish: zupa grzybowa) ?zupa ????b?va (quite different from the North American cream of mushroom); tomato soup (Polish: zupa pomidorowa) ?zupa p?mid??r?va;7 rosół ?r?suw (variety of meat broth); żurek ??ur?k (sour rye soup); flaki ?flak?i (variety of tripe soup); and barszcz bar?t?? among others.8
The main meal might be eaten about 2 p.m. or later. It is larger than the North American lunch. It might be composed of three courses especially among the traditionalists, starting with a soup like a popular rosół and tomato soup or more festive barszcz (beet borscht) or żurek (sour rye meal mash), followed perhaps in a restaurant by an appetizer such as herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or in aspic); or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), or chicken. Vegetables, currently replaced by leafy green salads, were not very long ago most commonly served as surówka su?rufka ? shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut (Polish: kapusta kiszona) ka?pusta k?i???na. The side dishes are usually boiled potatoes, rice or more traditionally kasza (cereals). Meals often conclude with a dessert such as makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, or drożdżówka dr???d??ufka, a type of yeast cake. Other Polish specialities include chłodnik ?xw?d?ik (a chilled beet or fruit soup for hot days), golonka (pork knuckles cooked with vegetables), kołduny (meat dumplings), zrazy (stuffed slices of beef), salceson and flaki (tripe).
Tatra Mountains are range of high mountains. It is a very attractive place for tourists - lovers of nature and mountain climbing, also for skiers. The town Zakopane is very
prettily situated, most tourists choose accommodation there. The reason is a number of hotels and guesthouses - you can choose luxury apartment or a cosy room. The big advantage of Zakopane is also a chance to try some local cuisine - you can choose from many restaurants. Otherwise It is close to many popular mountain routes. You should visit Tatra Mountains - it is beautiful here in the summer and either in the winter.
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