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Destination Latvia, a virtual travel guide to Latvia. This page aims to give you a broad overview of Latvia's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Beside a country profile with facts and figures, the page contains links to sources which provide you with all the information you need to know about this North European nation, e.g.: official web sites of Latvia, addresses of Latvian and foreign embassies, domestic airlines, city- and country guides with extensive travel and tourism information on accommodation, tourist attractions, events and more like weather information, maps, statistics and local newspapers from Latvia.

Riga, Latvia
Riga at Night
© - Photo: Dafnis Leimanis

Republic of Latvia | Latvijas Republika

Country Profile

Flag of Latvia
Flag of Latvia

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 30% 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.

border countries: Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia
Where in the Europe is Latvia?

Official Name:
Latvijas Republika
short form: Latvija
int'l long form: Republic of Latvia
int'l short form: Latvia

ISO Country Code: lv

Time Zone: Eastern European Time (EET)
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Thu-Jan-19  02:14
DST from March - October (UTC+3)

Country Calling Code: +371

Capital City: Riga (pop. 1.15 million metro area)

Other Cities:
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).

Nationality: Latvian(s).
Population: 2 million (2011 census)
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.
Literacy: 99%

Natural resources:
Peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land.

Agriculture products:
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.

Currency: Latvian Lat (LVL)

Latvia in Figures
Key statistical data of Latvia.


Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Official Sites of Latvia

President of the Republic of Latvia
The Chancery of the President.

The Latvian Parliament.

Arlietu ministrija
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia.

Diplomatic Missions
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.

Latvia Statistika
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 Google Earth Latvia
Searchable map and satellite view of Latvia.
Google Earth Google Earth Riga
Searchable map and satellite view of Latvia's capital city.
Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.

Latvia News

The Baltic Times
News from the Baltic Region.
CITY PAPER - Baltics Worldwide
Baltic Region news.
National news (in Latvian)
Latvians Online
International Latvian site with news reports, current affairs and interviews.
LETA News Agency
Latvian News Agency.
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Arts & 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.

Hommage à Josef Elgurt
The artist Josef Elgurt is living and working in Riga, Latvia.
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Business & Economy

Latvijas Banka
Central Bank of Latvia.
Riga Stock Exchange

Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Latvian Airline.

Riga International Airport
RIX is Latvia's principal international airport.

SJSC Latvijas Dzelzcelsh
Latvian Railway.

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.

Nature Parks
Gauja River Valley
The Gauja National Park.
Kemeri National Park
Includes Kemeri Marsh, Kanieris Lake, the Slocene river valley, ancient dunes, and Valgums Lake.
Teiãi Nature Reserve
Teiãi Marsh is the largest mossy bog in the Baltic States.
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.

Hotels in Latvia
Find a Hotel in Latvia.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Rundale Baroque Palace, Latvia
Rundale Baroque Palace
© - 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
Latvijas Universitate
University of Latvia, founded in 1919 on the basis of the former Riga Polytechnic (founded in 1862)
Riga Technical University
Official site of RTU.

Environment & Nature

Latvijas valsts mezi
The State Stock Company of "Latvia's State Forests" represents interests of the state in forest management.

Latvian Fund for Nature
Non-governmental nature conservation and research organisation.

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.


History of Latvia
Article about Latvian history, from the first human settlements until now.
Latvian History
Comprehensive information on Latvia's history by The Latvian Institute.
Latvijas Valsts Arhivs
State Archives of Latvia.

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