This article serves a purpose to give people that think Slovaks and Poles are the same thing a deeper understanding of our differences and also our similarities.
Slovaks and Poles are very similar but definitely NOT the same. We have a very different history which formed us in a different way. Similar things we have are for example language, food and we share the same mountain. Differences are for example religion and our overall nature.
Read further to find out about what differences and similarities Slovaks and Poles have. How is it with our languages? Is it the same? Do we understand each other? This and much more in the article below!
If you are interested in checking out the beautiful Slovak gifts (flags, t-shirts, and more) and books about Slovakia you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
About Slovak and Polish People
Slovak and Polish (and Czech) belong to the Western Branch of the Slavs. Therefore, language is very similar in both countries. Around 60% of the words are very similar and have the same meaning.
However, you will find some words that mean the exact opposite in the other language. Some of the words such as “Drogy” which means Roads in Polish, in Slovak it means Drugs.
Poland however has a different history than Slovakia. Poland has its own kingdom while Slovakia was part of the Hungarian Empire for a very long time.
That influenced how these two countries are with ethnicities. In Slovakia, part of the population at the southern borders are considered to be “Hungarians”. Therefore, there is bigger language diversification in Slovakia.
Slovakia borders Poland from the North. However, Poland is around 6 times bigger than Slovakia and has around 8 times more inhabitants (5,4 million compared to 38 million). While Slovakia is a mountainous country, Poland also has access to the Baltic Sea.
To the people that do not know any Slavic language, Slovak and Polish might sound very similar to them. However, the two languages are a bit different from each other.
Speakers of those two languages will be able to communicate with each other with relative ease in most cases. The most significant differences arise from the speakers’ geographic origins and dialects, rather than any inherent differences in the languages.
As mentioned before, in Slovak and Polish, there are often “false friends” – words that look and sound the same but mean completely different things, as is common with languages that are so closely related. This may cause some confusion, but it is safe to assume that you will be able to understand the other language.
According to research, 85.9 percent of Polish people are Catholics (85.6% of them are Roman Catholics).
Compare it to Slovakia where only 65.8 percent of people are Catholics, and you can see the difference. Thanks to that, they even had the highest-ranked member of Catholicism Jan Pawel II. (Pope John Paul II.).
Slovak children receive gifts from baby Jesus, while Polish children receive gifts from Saint Nicholas. Slovak children, on the other hand, have their own day before Christmas (6th December), when Saint Nicholas brings them sweets.
However, people in both countries are very keen on their traditions and holidays. Easter and Christmas are the two most important holidays of the year, and both have similar traditions in both countries.
Polish & Slovak Tatra mountains
When international visitors think of hiking in Europe, they usually think of the Alps in Western Europe.
However, Europe is home to a plethora of other breathtaking mountain ranges. You might wonder, “Which ones?” Let us take a look at Slovakia and Poland, two of Central Europe’s most interesting countries.
So, what distinguishes them? The answer is Tatra National Park located in the South of Poland and North of Slovakia.
For many outdoor enthusiasts, the Tatra Mountains are one of Europe’s best-hiking destinations. This magnificent region is shared by Poland and Slovakia.
The Tatra Mountains are known in Poland as TPN (Tatrzanski Park Narodowy) and in Slovakia as TANAP (Tatranský národný park). Regardless of country, the Tatra Mountains are breathtaking, and they are among Europe’s most beautiful mountains.
They are also the only alpine-like Polish mountain range in this part of the continent. Tatra mountains are a national treasure that is officially protected as a National Park due to their unique flora and fauna and valuable ecosystem.
There are fantastic hiking trails there, some of which are suitable for a quick one-day hike, others for a family walk, and still others that are ideal for backpacking.
There are also some excellent ski resorts that can compete with Western resorts! There are, however, some distinctions between the Polish and Slovak Tatra National Parks.
TIP: A lot of beautiful glaciar lakes that are worth visitng are found in High Tatras. Check out the most beautiful lakes in Slovakia in the article below:
Polish Markets & Business nature
One of the things that are not usual for Slovakia is marketplaces. Every year, people from Slovakia go across the Polish borders to markets where they sell all kinds of stuff.
You can find suits, flowers, sweets, fresh food, shoes, electronics & almost everything you can think of. Poles are much more talented when it comes to trading and bargaining. You will rarely find markets like these in Slovakia.
Poles are better businesspeople who can sell almost anything. This can also be seen in tourism, as the Polish side of the Tatras, despite being much smaller than ours, has cheaper and better services and advertising.
Drinking & Eating
While Slovaks enjoy drinking spirits and liquor, beer is a drink to go for Poles. However, when Poles drink liquor, they tend to stick more to vodka and Slovaks to more fruity liquor (such as slivovica- made of plums, marhuľovica- made of apricot, etc.).
In our cuisine, we share dumplings. Slovaks refer to them as pirohy, while Poles refer to them as pierogi. Slovaks usually stuff them with Feta-like traditional Slovak cheese and cook them in water.
They are soft and oozing with melted cheese, and they are topped with roasted caramelized onion. Poles also fry them in oil and stuff them with fruit jams or meat most of the time. The same but not the same.
TIP: Do you know what are traditional Slovak breakfast? Find out what the typical Slovak breakfast are in the article below (you must try at least one of them!):
When you visit cities in both countries- bigger or smaller you will notice that architecture especially for churches and city buildings is very similar.
Not only historic buildings are similar though. Slovakia and Poland were under the control of Russia after World War II. which means that many buildings in both countries might look similar due to the Socialistic simplistic architecture style.
Slovaks and Poles are very similar in a lot of things due to our Slavic nature.
However, in some of the things for example business nature and overall thinking is a bit different. Despite all of our differences we love each other and are happy to meet our Polish brothers all around the world!
TIP: Do you want to know more about Slovakia? Check out interesting, weird and unusual facts about Slovakia by locals in the article below: