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Introduction to Latvia

Updated: Apr 1

European Gem


Latvia, a vibrant member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, prides itself on its strategic position in the heart of Northern and Eastern Europe. Latvia is not only a part of NATO, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations, but also a neighbor to Estonia and Lithuania, with the Baltic Sea gracing its western frontier opposite Sweden.


Key Facts and Figures

Capital City

Riga, a cultural and economic hub

Official language

Latvian, with English widely spoken

 Population

Approximately 2.27 million

Total Area

64,589 km² of diverse landscapes

  Currency

Euro (EUR)

Time Zone

GMT +2, November to March GMT +3

 Country dialing code

+371

Emergency services

Dial 112 for assistance

Electricity standard

220 volts; EU standard 50Hz plugs

Measurement System

Metric system


A Journey Through Latvia – Video



Location


Latvia has a convenient geographical location in North-eastern Europe on the east coast of the Baltic Sea.

Riga International Airport (RIX) is located only minutes away from the Riga downtown and is one of the fastest growing travel hubs in Europe by providing cheap, fast and easy access to any country in Europe, Russia or elsewhere in the world.

The largest Latvian ice-free ports provide a wide range of global shipping needs. Port “Ventspils” is one of the busiest ports in the Baltic Sea region in terms of cargo turnover.


Latvia's Economic Growth and Democratic Stability


Panoramic view of Riga Old city

Latvia showcases remarkable economic resilience and a stable democratic framework, making it an appealing destination for global investors. With a focus on innovation and sustainable development, the country excels in sectors like transportation, IT technology and green energy. Latvia's integration into the European Union's legal system offers a transparent, secure environment for business, aligning with EU standards to ensure a competitive edge in the global market.


The nation's economic policies encourage innovation, attract foreign investment, and support business growth, reflecting a commitment to economic stability and progress. Meanwhile, Latvia's active role in international organizations like the EU and NATO highlights its dedication to democratic values, peace, and cooperation on the global stage.


Main Cities in Latvia


Latvia’s political, economic and culture centre is Riga, where more than one third of Latvia’s population (650 thousand) live and work. Riga is one of the oldest medieval cities in Europe and has been listed by UNESCO as one of the world’s most important cultural and heritage sites.



Latvian Nature


Over 44% of Latvia is forested, offering sanctuary to diverse wildlife and boasting one of the longest coastlines in Europe, with pristine beaches along the Baltic Sea. Latvia enjoys a temperate maritime climate, perfect for year-round exploration.





Cultural Riches - Latvia's Heart and Soul


Latvia, a country steeped in history and cultural diversity, offers a treasure trove of experiences that reflect its rich heritage and artistic vitality. From the historic streets of Riga to the serene landscapes that have inspired generations, Latvia's culture is a dynamic blend of traditional and modern influences.


Festivals and Traditions


The Latvian Song and Dance Festival

Latvia is renowned for its colorful festivals, which celebrate everything from ancient seasonal traditions to contemporary music and arts. The Latvian Song and Dance Festival, a UNESCO-recognized event, epitomizes the nation's deep-rooted tradition of choral singing and folk dancing, bringing together thousands of performers in a stunning display of unity and cultural pride.


Gastronomic Delights


Rye Bread - Latvian cuisine favorite

Latvian cuisine, with its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, offers a culinary journey through the country's seasons and regions. From hearty rye bread and smoked fish to the sweet taste of Latvian honey, the local gastronomy is a reflection of Latvia's connection with its land and waters.


Artistic Expression


Latvian National Oper Building

Latvia's artistic scene is vibrant and diverse, ranging from traditional crafts, such as ceramics and textile weaving, to contemporary art, design, and music. Riga, the cultural heart of Latvia, is home to numerous galleries, theaters, and concert halls, showcasing the creative spirit of the nation.


Architectural Heritage


Art Nuovo Architecture in Riga

From the medieval architecture of Riga's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the art nouveau buildings that line its streets, Latvia's architectural diversity tells a story of its historical and cultural evolution. The countryside also reveals a unique heritage, with ancient castles, wooden churches, and manor houses set amidst its picturesque landscapes.

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