Poland is a country that abounds with talented, goal-driven and inspiring people. In many areas, whether it is sport, science, art or politics, Polish people achieve greatest honours, accomplish the most challenging goals and bring pride to their country. Some of them are famous all around the worls for their staggering and influencial accomplishments. Here is the list of the top 10 most famous Poles. Did you realize that they are all Polish? Or maybe some names will surprise you… Let’s find out!
Many people wrongly believe this musical genius was French. Nothing can be further from the truth! The great pianist was actually born in a small village located about 50 kilometres west of Warsaw – Żelazowa Wola. You can still visit his childhood house and see the exact place where he was born.
2. Nicolaus Copernicus
Another great figure with misconception about the place of his origin. There are still debates and fights over the true nationality of this great astronomer. The fact is that he was born in a Polish city Toruń, and thus Polish people are proud to quote the famous proverb: “He stopped the Sun and moved the Earth, Poland is the place of his birth.”
3. John Paul II
The great Pope was born in small town Wadowice in the south of Poland. As it takes an hour ride from Wadowice to reach Polish mountains, the Pope often called himself a Polish highlander (Góral). He definitely practised what he preached – his favourite winter sport was skiing and hiking in the mountains.
4. Maria Skłodowska-Curie
Poland is pround to be a homeland of the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Also, she is the only person to date who won this prestigous award twice, first for her research in physics and, for the second time, in her discoveries in chemistry. She spend most of her life in Paris, but was born and raised in Warsaw. The house at Freta 16 Street, in which she was born, is now her museum in the Warsaw New Town.
5. Lech Wałęsa
The leader of Solidarity Movement, the iconic figure in Polish history. Closely related to the city of Gdansk, where he run most of his political activity. Despite his legendary status he has remained a very humble man. He still lives in Gdansk with his wife Danuta, who he has been married to for 50 years (they celebrate their golden wedding this February) and has 8 children with.
6. Adam Małysz
The legendary Polish ski jumper was born and raised in the Polish Mountains, in the small town Wisła, which definitely facilitated his skiing cereer. He started ski jumping at the young age of 6. He is a four-time medalist of the Winter Olypics and four-time World Champion.
7. Robert Lewandowski
Although he plays in a German football club, he is hundred percent Polish. Nowadays he is claimed to be the best Polish football player of his generation. He is the captain of the Polish National Team and a striker in FC Bayern Munich. He started his professional footbal career in Polish football clubs Znicz Pruszkow and Lech Poznań.
8. Wisława Szymborska
The acknowledged Polish poet, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. She was born in Kornik near Poznan, but spent most of her life in the beautiful city of Krakow. Her most famous poems are Utopia, On Death, without Exaggeration and Possibilities.
9. Andrzej Wajda
The great Polish director, a recipient of honorary Oscar and many other prestigous film awards. He directed such films as The Promised Land, Man of Iron, Katyn or Walesa. Man of Hope. He graduated from the most reputable film school is Poland – Lodz Film School.
10. Paweł Pawlikowski
This talented director has been as one of the best Polish directors of this decade. His film Ida was announced as the best foreign language film during 2015 Oscar Ceremony. This year he is nominated for an Oscar again for his movie Cold War, not only in the best foreign film category, but also for the best director. Fingers crossed!
As you can see, Poland is home to many accomplished and influencial people. If you want to take a journey following their footsteps, we invite you to our beautiful country!