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Mazowieckie or Masovian Voivodeship is one of 16 Voivodeships contributing to the Poland territory. Mazowieckie Voivodeship, with an area of 35,579 kilometers squared, is the biggest Voivodeship in Poland. The area is inhabited by approximately 5,411,446 people, which adds up to a population density of 151 people per square kilometer. The biggest agglomeration of the territory is Warsaw, which serves as the voivodeship's capital, and also the nation's capital. Warsaw is situated in the central part of the region, generally composed of flat and lowland landscapes. Mountains protrude to the territory from the south. The most significant river flowing through the Mazowieckie Voivodeship and crossing Warsaw city is the Vistula. The voivodeship's territory is divided into 42 self-governing counties and five cities with county rights. The Mazowieckie territory is bounded by Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship to the north, Podlaskie Voivodeship to the northeast, Lubelskie Voivodeship to the southeast, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship to the south, Łódzkie Voivodeship to the southwest, and Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship to the northwest.
Mazowieckie Voivodeship is the biggest voivodeship in Poland, located in the central part of the state, with Warsaw as the state capital. For these reasons, Warsaw is considered the regional center of education, business, arts, culture, and history. Several famous figures in various fields were born there. Presumably, one of the most famous people born in Warsaw is Marie Curie Skłodowska. Polish-born, she studied in France and married Pierre Curie, with whom she conducted research in the field of radioactivity. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different areas (physics and chemistry). In the city of Warsaw is situated the Marie Curie Museum, which exhibits and commemorates the life and work of Madame Curie.
In close proximity to the city of Warsaw is located the village of Żelazowa Wola, the birthplace of world-renowned Romanticist composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. Chopin's composition is mainly written for solo pianists, with few chamber pieces. Situated in Warsaw is a Fryderyk Chopin Museum, which focuses on informing and educating about Chopin's life and work. The museum also hosts music events and concerts.
Warsaw, the capital city of the voivodeship and Poland itself, offers various tourist attractions and destinations. Among the most visited areas is the Warsaw Old Town, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the old town is situated the Royal Castle, which is open to tourists. In the middle of the old town square is the statue of the Warsaw Mermaid, the city's symbol. Royal Łazienki Museum is another of the city's destinations. The museum grounds serve as a park, which features a summer residence of the Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last Polish king. The park comprises an orangery, an amphitheater, a court theatre, the Museum of Hunting and Horse-riding, and the Myślewicki Palace. Among Warsaw's historical sights belongs the Wilanów Palace, built in baroque style, which features a Museum of King Jan III. The palace and museum are open to tourists. A predominant part of the Warsaw skyline poses the Palace of Culture and Science, visible from almost everywhere in Warsaw. The palace functions as a venue for cultural events, theatres, cinemas, and museums. Other sites in the city include the National Museum, the Warsaw Rising Museum, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and the Copernicus Science Center.
In the eastern part of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship is located the village of Treblinka, where an extermination camp was established during the Second World War. Approximately 780,000 Jews, mainly from the Warsaw Ghetto, the largest ghetto in Europe, were murdered in Treblinka during its' operation. Nowadays, situated in the city is a Treblinka Museum, which teaches about and commemorates the Holocaust and its victims.
Across the Mazovian country are multiple "theme routes" which allow tourists to travel through different cities and areas that are associated with specific people. One such route is the Chopin Trail, leading through various villages and towns connected to this composer. Another popular trail is the Dukes of Mazovia Route. The route follows the Mazovian duke's history, on which the internationally noted book sequence and Netflix series The Witcher, written by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, was based.
Mazowieckie Voivodeship is situated in central Poland, with a typical flat and low-lying landscape. The northern part is formed mainly by Mazovian Lowland, the largest geographical region in central Poland. The Mazovian Plain covers practically the whole historical Mazovian district. In the east, the Mazowieckie Voivodeship is covered by the Południowopodlaska Lowland. The Iłża Foreland of the Polish Highlands protrudes to the territory from the south. The central part of the territory, where the city of Warsaw is located, is constituted by the Warsaw Basin, through which the largest river of the Voivodeship, the Vistula River, flows. Other significant rivers in the territory are, for example, Bug, Narew, Pilica, and Okra. In general, the whole region belongs to the area of the Central European Lowlands, with a smaller part in the east belonging to the East Baltic-Belarusian Lowlands.
One-fifth of the province is covered in forests. Among the protected areas belongs Kampinos Forest, located to the north of Warsaw, in the Warsaw Basin. Kampinos forest is part of the Kampinos National Park, the most prominent protected area in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. The national park protects a complex of inland dunes, wetlands, and natural fauna and flora communities. In the parks' territory are also located monuments of Polish history and culture. Some of the protected species inhabiting the national parks' territory are beavers, otters, Cervus, wild boars, and Capreolus. Kampinos National Park is a popular tourist destination, not only for its close proximity to Warsaw but also for the numerous hiking and cycling possibilities.
At the turn of the 21st century, Mazowieckie Voivodeship with its main industrial cities being Warsaw, Pruszków, Żyrardów, Piaseczno, Ożarów, Sochaczew, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Legionowo, and Mińsk Mazowiecki ranked first among Poland’s provinces in terms of industrial output. The region's main industries are automobile manufacturing, steel production, food processing, and business services. Major crops cultivated in the territory are potatoes, rye, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables.
The territory of Mazowieckie Voivodeship is situated in the continental climate area, characteristic of warm summers and snowy winters. The warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 25°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 1°C. The driest month is January, with an average of 26 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during July, with an average of 72 mm. The sunniest month is July, with an average of 235 hours of sunshine.
Mazowieckie or Masovian Voivodeship stretches across the historical region of Mazovia (Mazowsze), situated on the shores of the Vistula river. The first settlers of the territory were people of Mazovian tribes, who inhabited the area in the 9th century. In the 10th century, the territory was incorporated into the Polish state under the rule of Mieszko I. The duchy of Mazovia was established in 1138. The duchy endured Prussian, Jatvingian, and Rus invasions in the following centuries. In order to protect its' northern borders, Conrad of Mazovia invited the knights of the Teutonic Order to help. He later granted them the Chełmno Land. In the 14th century, the Polish state was reunified, with Mazovia as one of its' independent counties. In 1529 Mazovia was incorporated into the Polish state.
In the 16th century, the Mazowieckie Voivodeship territory became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, with Warsaw being the capital of the Mazovia and also the center of the legislature of the newly established Polish-Lithuanian Union. In 1596, King Sigismund III Vasa moved the Polish capital from Kraków to Warsaw for its beneficial central position. Warsaw thus remains the capital city of Poland to this day.
Between the years 1772 and 1795, the Partitions of Poland took place. During those years, Polish territory was divided between Russia, Prussia, and Habsburg Monarchy. By the end of the last partition, the independent Polish state ceased to exist, and its whole territory belonged to either one of those states. The greater part of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship territory became part of Prussia. A small portion of the Masovia area between the Vistula and the Bug rivers belonged to Austria (Habsburg Monarchy).
In 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte established the Duchy of Warsaw. The whole territory of the historical Masovia region became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. However, Napoleonic Wars ended with the defeat of Napoleon. Thus the Duchy of Warsaw became under Russian influence. During that time, practically all of the produce grown in the region was exported to Russia.
During the Second World War, population and development decreased rapidly due to the number of concentration and extermination camps in the area, numerous uprisings, and fights. By the war's end, Hitler ordered the Nazis to destroy Warsaw altogether. After the war, Warsaw lay in ruins. However, the city retained the status of the Polish capital and was gradually rebuilt.
Poland entered European Union in 2004, which led to Warsaw's historically most significant development. Masovian Voivodeship ranks first in Poland in the general knowledge of foreign languages, such as English, Italian, French, German and Spanish. Concerning religion, most of the Masovians belong to the Roman Catholic Church.
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