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The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate 1000 year history. Its unique character developed at the crossroads of the Germanic, Latin and Byzantine worlds, in continual dialog with the many ethnic groups living in Poland. 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. Customs, manners, and style of clothing have reflected the influences of East and West. The traditional costumes worn by the nobility in the 16th and 17th centuries were inspired by rich Eastern ornamental style. The style of clothing is called Goral (Pronounced GOO-RAL). Polish art has always reflected European trends while maintaining its unique character. The richness and universal value of Polish literature are reflected by number of Nobel Prize winners in Literature: Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905), Władysław Reymont (1924), Czesław Miłosz (1980), Wisława Szymborska (1996).

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