"In our land too are born geniuses", one of the Warsaw papers wrote in 1818 about the eight-year-old Frederic Chopin, who had just given his first society concert.
And it was right - there is no shortage of brilliant individuals among the Polish people.
If it hadn't been for the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and his paper "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres", modern Europe would have continued much longer in the belief that the Sun orbits the Earth. Today, his name is given to universities, observatories, space probes and even craters on the Moon and Mars.
Frederic Chopin - one of the greatest pianists of the 19th century - shaped a playing style which is still copied by musicians around the world, including those who come to Poland during the annual Chopin Festival. Chopin himself preferred to give chamber concerts than to play to the crowds. He appeared before a large audience on only about 40 occasions.
Another pioneer in her field was Maria Sklodowska-Curie (Marie Curie), the first woman to become a doctor of physics and a professor at the Sorbonne. She discovered polonium and radium and did research into radioactivity and its use in cancer treatment. Twice awarded the Nobel Prize, she eventually died of leukaemia.
Other Polish Nobel prize winners include: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wladyslaw Reymont, Czeslaw Milosz, Lech Walesa and Wislawa Szymborska.
Szymborska received her prize for "poetry that with ironic precision allows the historic and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality". She was informed of the award by telephone while she was resting in her beloved Zakopane.
Someone else with strong links with the Polish mountains was Karol Wojtyla, otherwise known as Pope John Paul II. He enjoyed walking in the mountains, skiing and canoeing. He called himself the "mountain Pope", but others called him the greatest of all the Popes, the travelling Pope or John Paul the Great. The process of his beatification began almost immediately after his death.
Poles can set ski-jumping records (Adam Malysz), swim like dolphins (Otylia Jedrzejczak) or run faster than any other white athletes (Marcin Urbas).
Poles have a saying: "To want to is to be able to." And they do want to...