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Mazovia lies in the very middle of Poland and is the heart of the country. One of the first lands to be incorporated in the Piast territory in Poland's beginnings, the historical Mazovian duchy was an independent domain from 1138 to 1526, and for a lot of that time it served as a battlefield for different forces. At the turn of the 17th century, Warsaw became Poland's capital, but there
was no lasting peace: Swedish wars, insurrections, and then two world wars left their marks on the region.Mazovia—like the whole of Poland—is full of polarities. The flourishing capital city of Warsaw and revitalized, fashionable Łódź contrast with underdeveloped, traditional agricultural regions, sleepy little villages, historical palaces, and churches in the smaller and less densely populated regions.