Geography of Poland

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Poland is a country in Central Europe. Generally speaking, Poland is an unbroken plain reaching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Carpathian Mountains in the south. Within that plain, terrain variations generally run in bands from east to west. The Baltic coast lacks natural harbors except for the Gdańsk-Gdynia region and Szczecin in the far northwest. The northeastern region, called the Lake District, is densely wooded, sparsely populated and lacks agricultural and industrial resources. To the south and west of the lake district, a vast region of plains extends to the Sudetes on the Czech and Slovak borders to the southwest and to the Carpathians on the Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian borders to the southeast.

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Location of Poland

The country extends 876 kilometers from north to south and 689 kilometers from east to west. Poland's total area is 312,843 square kilometers, including inland waters. The neighboring countries are Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and Lithuania and the Russian province of Kaliningrad to the northeast.

Geographic coordinates: 52°00′N 20°00′E / 52°N 20°E / 52; 20

Topography

The average elevation of Poland is 173 meters, and only 3 % of Polish territory, along the southern border, is higher than 500 meters. The highest elevation is Mount Rysy, which rises 2,499 meters in the Tatra Range of the Carpathians, 95 kilometers south of Kraków. About 60 square kilometers along the Gulf of Gdańsk are below sea level. Poland is traditionally divided into five topographic zones from north to south. The largest, the central lowlands, is narrow in the west, then expands to the north and south as it extends eastward. Along the eastern border, this zone reaches from the far northeast to within 200 kilometers of the southern border. The terrain in the central lowlands is quite flat, and earlier glacial lakes have been filled by sediment. The region is cut by several major rivers, including the Oder (Odra), which defines the Silesian Lowlands in the southwest, and the Vistula (Wisla), which defines the lowland areas of east-central Poland.

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