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Brukna Manor, Semigallia Latvia
19th century Brukna Manor in Semigallia (Zemgale), one of the four historical and cultural regions of Latvia.
Image: Normunds Kolby
 

___ Latvia

Flag of Latvia
Flag of Latvia
Location map of Latvia. Where in the Europe is Latvia?
Location map of Latvia

Destination Latvia, one of the three Baltic states, situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania.
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


Country Profile



Background:
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.

 

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

ISO Country Code: lv, LVA

Time:
Time Zone: Eastern European Time (EET)
Local Time = UTC +2h
Actual Time: Sat-Nov-18  00:59
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).

Government:
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.

Geography:
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.

Climate:
Temperate, maritime; wet, with four seasons of almost equal length. January temperatures average -5°C (23°F); July 17°C (63°F).

People:
Nationality: Latvian(s).
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.
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.

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.

 
Latvia's parliament building in Riga
The House of the Livonian Noble Corporation in Riga is home to Latvia's parliament, the Saeima.
Image: Ernests Dinka, Saeimas Kanceleja



Political System
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 Latvia

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

Saeima
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.


Statistics
Latvia Statistika
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Latvia in Figures
Key statistical data of Latvia.


Weather
Latvijas Hidrometeorologijas agentura (LHMA)
Latvian Hydrometeorological agency.


Maps

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 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 News

According to BBC, the media reflect the linguistic and cultural split between Latvian and Russian speakers [1]. 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 [2]. Latvia's foreign minister says there is increasing evidence that Russia is automating disinformation on social media in the Baltics [3].


The Baltic Times
News from the Baltic Region.

Delfi
Latvian news magazine (in Latvian)
Diena
National news (in Latvian)

nra.lv
Daily news.

LETA News Agency
Latvian News Agency.

International
Latvia - The Guardian
Latvia news by the Guardian.
Latvians Online
International Latvian site with news reports, current affairs and interviews.

TV
Play 24
Digital news channel in Latvia.
TV3
Commercial tv channel owned by Sweden's MTG.
 

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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.

 
First human drone flight
Latvia peforms the world’s first human flight with a drone and jump at high altitude.
Image: Ansis Starks

Business & Economy


Latvijas Banka
Central Bank of Latvia.
Riga Stock Exchange

Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Transportation
Airlines
airBaltic
Latvian Airline.

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

Railroad
SJSC Latvijas Dzelzcelsh
Latvian Railway.

Port
Port of Ventspils
One of the leading deep-water ports of the EU on the East coast of the Baltic Sea.
 
 
View of Riga from Saint Peter's church
View of Riga from Saint Peter's church with Duagava river and TV Tornis (Television Tower) in background.
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.

Meeting.lv
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.
Tervete Nature Park
Nature park of Tervete river valley.


City-Guides


__Riga
Riga
The City of Riga.
Riga
News from Riga. (in Latvian)
Riga this week
Official city guide to Latvias Capital.
Riga
Cultural Capital of Europe 2001.


Jurmala
The City of Jurmala is a popular vacation resort.
Ventspils
The City of Ventspils is famous for its beach and the Castle of the Livonian Order.
Talsi
One of the most beautiful small towns in Latvia.

 

Rundale Baroque Palace, Latvia
Rundale Baroque Palace
© latviatourism.lv - Photo: Janis Vitins
University of Latvia Central building
Central building of the University of Latvia, the university was established in 1919.
Image: ogre11

Education


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.

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.
 
Riga, Latvia
Riga at Night
© 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


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.
WWW-VL History: Latvia
 
 

Sources and additional Information on Latvia


Amnesty International: Latvia

BBC Country Profile: Latvia

GlobalEDGE: Latvia

The Heritage Foundation: Latvia

Human Rights Watch: Latvia

OEC: Latvia

Reporters Without Borders: Latvia

Wikipedia: Latvia

The World Factbook -- Latvia
 
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