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LATVIA 

General information
Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). On the world map Latvia is to be found in North-eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Total national border length is 1,862 km, length of Latvia’s Baltic coastline is 494 km. Latvia borders Estonia, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania. It is situated on trading crossroads and has long since served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. The famous ‘route from the Vikings to the Greeks’ mentioned in ancient chronicles stretched from Scandinavia through Latvian territory along the Daugava River to the ancient Russia and Byzantine Empire.

· Capital and largest city: Riga
· Total population: 2,272,300
· National day: 18 November (Independence Day)
· Official language: Latvian
· Government: Parliamentary democracy
· Area: 64,589 km²
· Currency: Euro

Latvia is a proud member of European Union and NATO.

Riga – The Pearl of the Baltics
Riga was founded more than 800 years ago. It is one of the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse capitals in the Baltic Sea region. But despite its modern, 21st-century trappings, Riga has managed to preserve the flavour and charm of past historical areas.
Riga's historical centre made the UNESCO World Heritage List because its remarkable range and concentration of architecture spans several centuries of styles and various European cultural influences.
 
Latvian history
The territory of Latvia has been inhabited since 2000 BC. Latvia’s geographical location between the East and West has historically made it attractive to foreign kings and conquerors. The Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians had ruled here, each leaving their cultural imprint on the country’s architecture, infrastructure, style and personality.
The Republic of Latvia was founded in 1918. It has been continuously recognised as a state by other countries since 1920 despite occupations by the Soviet Union (1940-1941, 1945-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941-1945). On August 21, 1991 Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence.
The name ‘Latvia’ originates from an ancient Baltic (Indo-European) tribe – the Latgalians (in Latvian: latgai), who formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people.
Latvia is divided into four regions:
West – “Kurzeme” – long beaches of white sand and dunes
North – “Vidzeme” – rolling hills and picturesque landscapes
East – “Latgale” – hundreds of blue lakes
South – “Zemgale” – lush green meadows

Climate and nature
Latvia’s weather is governed by a moderate oceanic climate, with changing high and low pressure and a considerable amount of precipitation. The average temperature in January, the coldest month of the year, is –3.8 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in July, which is considered the warmest month of the year, is 16.1 degrees Celsius. 
Latvia is situated in a nature zone between the vegetation of Northern and Central Europe. Latvia is a country of splendid and diverse natural landscapes. Forests cover 44 percent of the territory. The larger forest tracts are to be found in the northern part of Kurzeme. Here it is still possible to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of nature untouched by man. Latvia distinguishes itself with a large variety of flora and fauna (total approx. 27.7 thousand species). Latvia’s fauna is typical for a region with mixed forests. Latvia has the largest otter population in Europe, and there is a much greater chance of seeing the rare black stork in Latvia’s forests than in any other European country.

Current weather in Latvia

Location
Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). On the world map Latvia is to be found in North-eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Total national border length is 1,862 km, length of Latvia’s Baltic coastline is 494 km. Latvia borders Estonia, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania. It is situated on trading crossroads and has long since served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. The famous ‘route from the Vikings to the Greeks’ mentioned in ancient chronicles stretched from Scandinavia through Latvian territory along the Daugava River to the ancient Russia and Byzantine Empire.

Politics
Legislative power is in the hands of a single chamber parliament – the Saeima, consisting of 100 deputies. Parliamentary elections take place every 4 years. The country’s head of state is the President, who is elected by the Saeima for a period of 4 years. The President signs laws, chooses the Prime Minister (who heads the government) and performs representative functions.

Religion
Evangelic Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. Since the Reformation movement in the 16th century, the Lutheran church has played a leading role in Latvia.

Transport
Latvia is easily accessible by land, sea or air, and has the largest railway terminal and international airport in the Baltics. There are several airports the largest one being the "Riga International Airport" located in the capital of Latvia - Riga; smaller airports are located in Liepaja, Ventspils and Daugavpils.
Latvia’s three major ports are Ventspils, Rîga and Liepåja. Ventspils is one of the busiest ports in the Baltic Sea region and is among the leading European ports in terms of cargo turnover. Ferry lines to Estonia, Sweden.
Latvia, together with Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, has engaged in the international railway project Rail Baltica which foresees formation of railway traffic that would comply with current requirements between the Baltic States, Central and West Europe.
Coach and motorways. The most significant transport corridor traversing Latvia in North-South direction is "Via Baltica". The "Via Baltica" is the first transport corridor of Latvia, also known as the motor road E67 providing links between such European cities as Helsinki – Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas – Warsaw/ E 77 (Riga – Kaliningrad – Gdansk).

Useful links about Latvia




Last update on 30. January 2015