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Baltic states, situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania.
Flag of Latvia
The country is also bordered by Russia and Belarus, and it shares maritime borders with Sweden.
With an area of 64,589 km², Latvia is about half the size of Greece, or slightly larger than the US state of West Virginia. Its mostly flat landscape offers a mix of beaches, rivers, lakes, marshes and forests. There are four major regions: West Latvia (Kurzeme), East Latvia (Latgale), North Latvia (Vidzeme), and South Latvia (Zemgale).
The country has a population of 1.95 million people (in 2017), capital and largest city is Riga, spoken languages are Latvian (official) and Russian, English (especially in business and tourism).
Republic of Latvia | Latvijas Republika
After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia continues to revamp its economy for eventual integration into various Western European political and economic institutions. Since May 2004 Latvia is a member of the European Union, it joined the euro zone in 2014.
short form: Latvija
int'l long form: Republic of Latvia
int'l short form: Latvia
ISO Country Code: lv, LVA
Time Zone: Eastern European Time (EET)
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Tue-Jan-23 15:58
DST from March - October (UTC+3)
Country Calling Code: +371
Capital City: Riga (pop. 1.15 million metro area)
Daugavpils (113 000); Liepaja (87 000); Jelgava (66 000); Jurmala (55 000); Ventspils (44 000); Rezekne (38 000).
Type: Parliamentary Democracy.
Constitution: The law "On the Republic of Latvia Status as a State," passed by Parliament on 21 August 1991, provided for the reinstatement of the 1922 constitution.
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania.
Area: 64,589 km² (24,937 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Fertile low-lying plains predominate in central Latvia, highlands in Vidzeme and Latgale to the east, and hilly moraine in the western Kurzeme region. Forests cover one-third of the country, with over 3 000 small lakes and numerous bogs.
Temperate, maritime; wet, with four seasons of almost equal length. January temperatures average -5°C (23°F); July 17°C (63°F).
Population: 1.95 million (2017)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 12 886 (year)
Major ethnic groups: Latvian 58.5%, Russians 29%, Belarusians 3.9%, Ukrainians 2.6%, Poles 2.5%.
Religions: Lutheran, Orthodox, Roman Catholic.
Languages: Latvian. Russian also is spoken by most people.
Peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land.
Grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish.
Industries: Automotive industry, railroad cars, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, electronics, synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles.
Exports - commodities: foodstuffs, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles.
Exports - partners: Lithuania 17.8%, Russia 11.5%, Estonia 11.1%, Germany 6.3%, Poland 5.6%, Sweden 5.2%, UK 5%, Denmark 4% (2015)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles.
Imports - partners: Lithuania 16.9%, Germany 11.2%, Poland 10.5%, Russia 8.1%, Estonia 7.7%, Finland 5.2%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
Currency: Latvian Lat (LVL)
Latvia in Figures
Key statistical data of Latvia.
Image: Ernests Dinka, Saeimas Kanceleja
Since 21 August 1991, Latvia is a parliamentary republic. Ceremonial Chief of State is the president, he is elected by the Saeima (parliament). Head of Government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is the Prime Minister, he is appointed by the president with the approval of the Saeima. The Saeima is the unicameral legislative body for the Latvian government. The country is a member of the European Union (EU) since May 2004.
Official Sites of LatviaNote: External links will open in a new browser window.
President of the Republic of Latvia
The Chancery of the President.
The Latvian Parliament.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.
Embassy of Latvia in the U.S.
The Embassy in Washington D.C.
Diplomatic and Consular Representations
Addresses of Latvian diplomatic missions in other countries and foreign diplomatic missions in Latvia.
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.
Latvia in Figures
Key statistical data of Latvia.
Latvijas Hidrometeorologijas agentura (LHMA)
Latvian Hydrometeorological agency.
Map of Latvia
Political map of Latvia.
Google Earth Latvia
Searchable map and satellite view of Latvia.
Google Earth Riga
Searchable map and satellite view of Latvia's capital city.
Map of the Baltic States
Political Map of the Baltic States.
Map of the Baltic Sea Area
Political map of the Baltic Sea region.
Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.
Latvia NewsAccording to BBC, the media reflect the linguistic and cultural split between Latvian and Russian speakers . RSF (Reporters Without Borders) states that the media that serve one third of the population of Latvia — those who speak mostly Russian — are strong supporters of the pro-Kremlin Harmony party (Saskaņa) and are riddled with propaganda and fake news . Latvia's foreign minister says there is increasing evidence that Russia is automating disinformation on social media in the Baltics .
The Baltic Times
News from the Baltic Region.
Latvian news magazine (in Latvian)
National news (in Latvian)
LETA News Agency
Latvian News Agency.
Latvia - The Guardian
Latvia news by the Guardian.
International Latvian site with news reports, current affairs and interviews.
Digital news channel in Latvia.
Commercial tv channel owned by Sweden's MTG.
Bookmark/share this page
Arts & Culture
Ministry of Culture Latvia
The state governing institution, which organizes and coordinates state culture.
Museums in Latvia
Information on over 100 various Latvian museums by the Latvian Museum Association.
Music in Latvia
The Latvian music scene.
Latvian National Opera
Home of Latvia's National Opera and Ballet companies.
National Library of Latvia
Official site of the National Library.
Jewish Museum of Riga
The museum “Jews in Latvia” was established in 1989 to research, popularize and commemorate the history of Latvia's Jewish community.
Image: Ansis Starks
Business & Economy
Central Bank of Latvia.
Riga Stock Exchange
Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Riga International Airport
RIX is Latvia's principal international airport.
SJSC Latvijas Dzelzcelsh
Port of Ventspils
One of the leading deep-water ports of the EU on the East coast of the Baltic Sea.
Image: Diego Delso
Travel and Tour Consumer Information
Destination Latvia - Travel and Tour Guides
Discover Latvia: Riga, Baltic Sea, Gauja River Valley, Valgums Lake
Accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, biking, hiking, cruising, boating, diving, tours and much more.
Latvian Tourism Development Agency
Official site with information on "The Land that sings".
The Latvian Institute
The web site offers background information, publications, e-presentations and videos about Latvia.
Latvia visitor's information.
Gauja River Valley
The Gauja National Park.
Kemeri National Park
Includes Kemeri Marsh, Kanieris Lake, the Slocene river valley, ancient dunes, and Valgums Lake.
Tervete Nature Park
Nature park of Tervete river valley.
The City of Riga.
News from Riga. (in Latvian)
Riga this week
Official city guide to Latvias Capital.
Cultural Capital of Europe 2001.
The City of Jurmala is a popular vacation resort.
The City of Ventspils is famous for its beach and the Castle of the Livonian Order.
One of the most beautiful small towns in Latvia.
© latviatourism.lv - Photo: Janis Vitins
Academic Information Centre
Information about higher education in Latvia.
Institute of Astronomy University of Latvia
Information about astronomical activities in Latvia.
Latvian Academy of Sciences
Official science academy of Latvia.
University of Latvia, founded in 1919 on the basis of the former Riga Polytechnic (founded in 1862)
Riga Technical University
Official site of RTU.
© latviatourism.lv - Photo: Dafnis Leimanis
Environment & Nature
Dabas aizsardzības pārvalde (DAP)
Latvia's Nature Conservation Agency.
Latvijas valsts mezi
The State Stock Company of "Latvia's State Forests" represents interests of the state in forest management.
North Vidzme Biosphere Reserve
Wood and coastal protective habitats at the basin of river Salaca including lake Burtnieku with its tributaries, as well as marine area of the Gulf of Riga.
Latvian Fund for Nature
Non-governmental nature conservation and research organisation.
History of Latvia
Article about Latvian history, from the first human settlements until now.
Comprehensive information on Latvia's history by The Latvian Institute.
Latvijas Valsts Arhivs
State Archives of Latvia.
WWW-VL History: Latvia
Sources and additional Information on Latvia
Amnesty International: Latvia
BBC Country Profile: Latvia
The Heritage Foundation: Latvia
Human Rights Watch: Latvia
Reporters Without Borders: Latvia
The World Factbook -- Latvia
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