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Poland Geography
 
 
 

General

Situated in eastern Europe, Poland has an area of 312,680 sq km (120,726 sq mi), extending 689 km (428 mi) east to west, and 649 km (403 mi) north to south. It is bounded on the north by the Baltic Sea, on the north and east by Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, on the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and on the west by Germany, with a total land boundary of 2,788 km (1,794 mi) and a coastline of 491 km (305 mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Poland is slightly smaller than the state of New Mexico.

Before World War II, Poland had encompassed a territory of nearly 390,000 sq km (150,600 sq mi). On 11 July 1920, an armistice mediated by Britain in a Polish-Soviet conflict established the "Curzon line" (named for George Nathaniel Curzon, the British statesman who proposed it), conferring the former Austrian territory of Galicia to the Soviet side. However, under the Treaty of Riga (1921), all of Galicia was assigned to Poland, and a boundary well to the east of the Curzon line prevailed until World War II. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allies accepted Soviet claims to eastern Poland, with a border running approximately along the Curzon line. On 21 April 1945, a Polish-Soviet treaty of friendship and cooperation was signed, followed by a new agreement on the Polish-Soviet border. To compensate for the loss of 46% of Poland's territory to the USSR, the Potsdam Conference of July-August 1945 placed former German territories east of the Oder (Odra) and western Neisse rivers under Polish administration, pending a final determination by a German peace treaty. On 6 August 1950, an agreement was signed between Poland and the GDR according to which both parties recognised the frontier on the Oder-Neisse line. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) recognised this boundary under the terms of a treaty signed with Poland on 7 December 1970 and ratified by the FRG on 23 May 1972.

Poland's capital city, Warsaw, is located in the east central part of the country.

Poland's average altitude is 173 m (568 ft); 75.4% of the land is less than 200 m (656 ft) above sea level. The highest point, Mount Rysy (2,499 m/8,199 ft), is located in the Tatra Mountains on the Slovakian border. The principal topographic regions are an undulating central lowland with a crystalline platform and warped bedrock; the Baltic highland in the north, a glaciated region with many lakes and sandy soils; and the coastland, a narrow lowland with promontories, bays, and lakes. The southern uplands are marked by rich loam and mineral deposits.

Several important navigable rivers drain into the Baltic Sea, among them the Vistula (Wisla), the Oder, the Bug, and the Warta. There are over 6,000 lakes in the northern lake region. Good harbours have been developed on the Baltic Sea.

Poland has a continental climate, conditioned especially by westerly winds. Only the southern areas are humid. Summers are cool, and winters range from moderately cold to cold. The average mean temperature is about 7°C (45°F); temperatures in Warsaw range, on average, from -6° to -1°C (21-30°F) in January and from 13° to 24°C (55-75°F) in July. Precipitation is greatest during the summer months, lasting 85 to 100 days. Annual rainfall ranges from about 50 cm (20 in) in the lowlands and 135 cm (53 in) in the mountains; the overall average is about 64 cm (25 in).

Overview

Location :
Central Europe, east of Germany

Geographic coordinates :
52 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references :
Europe


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