Forests of Poland
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.
Culture of Poland
The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate thousand-year history.1 Its unique character developed as a result of its geography at the confluence of various European regions. With origins in the culture of the Early Slavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland.2 The people of Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances.2 Nowadays, Poland is a highly developed country that retains its tradition.
Tourism in Cracow
According to statistics, in 2012 Kraków was visited by 7.3 million tourists including 2.1 million foreign travelers (over 30% of their grand total).175176 The visitors spent over 2.5 billion złoty in the city (without travel costs and pre-booked accommodations). Most foreign tourists came from Great Britain (over 25%), with German, French, Spanish, Italian and American visitors closely following. The Kraków tour-guide from the Lesser Poland Visitors Bureau indicated that not all statistics are recorded due to considerable number of those who come, staying in readily available private rooms paid by cash, especially from Eastern Europe.175
The main reasons for visiting the city are: its historical monuments, recreation as well as relatives and friends (placing third in the ranking), religion and business. There are 120 quality hotels in Kraków (usually about half full) offering 15,485 overnight accommodations.177 The average stay last for about 4 to 7 nights. The survey conducted among the travelers showed that they enjoyed the city's friendliness most, with 90% of Polish tourists and 87% foreigners stating that they would personally recommend visiting it.175