Poland is an east European country with a fickle history. Over centuries the country belonged most of the time to various empires, primarly Russia and Germany. So the inhabitants are very proud of their momentary independence. Todays borders are a result of World War II.
The topic of this website are caves and geology, not politics. But todays boundaries were made by the Allies after the war considering political obligations, which is the reason for borders cutting right through geographic units, like the karst areas of the south. To understand the history of cave exploration in Poland, the changing political history must be noticed.
The first guided tours in Poland were made in the areas of Ojcow and Podole in the 17th century. Notable is a visit in two caves by the Polish King in the 17th century. At this time the first Polish cave desription was published: Świat podziemny blisky (The Close Undergound World, 1691)
At this time several caves belonged to Poland, which now belong to Ukraine: Jaskinia Krysztalova and Jaskinia Krzywcze. They were very popular and the first development works took place in the 17th century, typically before the visits of an king. In the 19th century the first permanent gas light was installed in Jaskinia Wierzchowska Górna. But electric light was not installed before the 20th century.
Currently about 3,600 caves are known in Poland, nine of them are showcaves. Numerous other caves are accessible to the public, although they are not really show caves. Some of them have paths, ladders or other improvements.