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logo of the 15th International Symposium on Tardigrada in Krak贸w, Poland, 22nd-26th of August 2022, showing an individual of Doryphoribius dawkinsi, a yellow parachelan eutardigrade with dorsal gibbosities, breathing fire, stylised as the statue of the Wawel Dragon at the foot of the Wawel Hill in Krak贸w. Font and flame colours represent the colours of the Jagiellonian University logo. Concept and design: 艁ukasz Michalczyk, artwork: Kamil Janelt (Silesia University) & 艁ukasz Michalczyk (Jagiellonian University). CLICK TO ENLARGE THE IMAGE

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Polish Essentials 馃槈

A few (obvious and less obvious) facts and tips about Poland that may make your stay here easier and more enjoyable:

  • Universal emergency phone number is 112 (free of charge).
  • The Republic of Poland (Poland in short) is a member state of the European Union (EU), Schengen Area and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • Time zone in August is the Central European Summer Time (CEST) – BTW, please remember, we are a Central (not an Eastern) Europe country 馃槈
  • Official language: Polish (see also below).
  • Street traffic is right-sided, so always look left first when crossing the street! At pedestrian/zebra crossings, pedestrians have priority over cars but not over trams. Nevertheless, please always look both ways before crossing the street. Crossing the street when the red light is on is illegal.
  • The currency is Polski Z艂oty (z艂. or PLN). There are many bureaux de change (鈥渒antor wymiany walut鈥 or simply 鈥渒antor鈥 in Polish) in the Old Town, but we advise to avoid those in the most touristy places (e.g. Floria艅ska Street or the Airport), as they tend to have unfavourable exchange rates and spreads, and they also often charge commission fees. However, there are places with good exchange rates, narrow spreads and no commission fees very close to the City Centre and they are worth a few minute walk from the Main Square (e.g. Kantor Merkury or Kantor Va Banque, both at Wielopole Street). Paypass payments with credit/debit cards and smartphones are very popular (in fact, they鈥檝e been superseding cash payments).
  • Debit/credit cards in other currencies are accepted in most places. In those cases, you can select if you want to pay in Polish Z艂oty or in your own currency. It is always advisable to select Polish Z艂oty because in that case it is applied the standard exchange rate. If you select your own currency, your bank may apply an inflated rate or fees.
  • We use the Metric System, i.e. grams/kilograms (g/kg) for mass, metres/kilometres (m/km) for distance, and centigrade (掳C) for temperature.
  • Electric current is 230 (220–240) Volts and 50 MHz; electric sockets/power plugs are of the Type E (but Types C and F also work).
  • Tap water is drinkable.
  • Supermarkets and most shops are closed on Sunday and public holidays.
  • Drinking alcohol in the streets (i.e. outside beer gardens) is prohibited.
  • There are several useful websites and mobile phone applications that may help you to get around the city using public transportation (MPK in Polish). You may want to try https://jakdojade.pl/krakow website or their mobile phone application, or mobileMPK mobile phone application. This website shows the current position of buses and trams in a cute playful way: https://www.mapakrakow.pl. Tickets can be bought from ticket machines at bus/tram stops and also on buses/trams themselves. Please be aware that some ticket machines only accept payments by card. You may also rent city bicycles and electric scooters to swiftly get around the city (we don鈥檛 recommend renting a car, as traffic can be bad and finding a parking spot may also be annoying).

 

Pronunciation survival guide

Due to exotic letter combinations, strange diacritic signs and too few vowels, Polish may seem unpronounceable at the first sight. However, if you master a few basic rules, most Polish words may suddenly become more friendly, and – believe it or not – pronounceable! 馃槈

Here鈥檙e some basic pronunciation rules that may help you to get around in Poland and/or even impress someone:

  • a as 鈥a鈥 in the English 鈥smart
  • is a nasal sound that is similar to the French 鈥渙n鈥 in 鈥gar莽on
  • c is similar to the Italian 鈥z鈥 in 鈥zucchero鈥 or to the Greek 鈥tz鈥 in 鈥tzatziki
  • (= ci) is similar to the Italian 鈥ci鈥 in 鈥ciao
  • ch (= h) is similar to the English 鈥h鈥 in 鈥house
  • cz as the English 鈥ch鈥 in 鈥catch
  • dz sounds like a hard version of c
  • d偶 as the English 鈥g鈥 in 鈥gentle
  • e as in the English 鈥e鈥 in 鈥met
  • is a nasal sound similar to the French 鈥en
  • g as 鈥g鈥 in the English 鈥garden
  • i as a short version of 鈥ea鈥 in the English 鈥beach
  • j as 鈥y鈥 in the English 鈥yes
  • as the English 鈥w鈥 in 鈥would
  • as the English 鈥new鈥 or Spanish 鈥溍扁 in 鈥Espaa
  • o as in the English 鈥o鈥 in 鈥port
  • (= u) it鈥檚 a short version of the English 鈥oo鈥 (as in 鈥wood鈥)
  • rz (= ) as in the English 鈥su鈥 in 鈥pleasure鈥 or in the French 鈥j鈥 in 鈥journal
  • si (= ) as in English 鈥su鈥 in 鈥sure
  • sz as in the English 鈥sh鈥 in 鈥shop
  • (= si) – see si above
  • u (= ) – see above
  • w as in the English 鈥v鈥 in 鈥victory
  • y as in the English 鈥y鈥 in 鈥syllable
  • (= rz) – see rz above

Thus, for example, Krak贸w is pronounced in Polish as 鈥淜rakoov鈥, not as 鈥淜rakau鈥 as it might seem at first sight 馃槉