Latvia is one of the 28 countries that form European Union – EU. It is located in northern-eastern part of Europe and together with Lithuania and Estonia form Baltic States. Latvia has borders with Lithuania and Estonia and with Russia on east and with Belorussia on south-east. It is located on the cost of the Baltic Sea.
Latvia always has been very attractive for its geographical location therefore during centuries has formed an important commercial route; Latvia was a part of the Hanseatic League.
The capital of Latvia is Riga and its inhabitants are called Latvians. Its population is approximately is more than 2 million people. Almost half of its population resides in Riga. The language spoken in Latvia is Latvian.
Latvia is a democratic republic. The parliament of Latvia is called Saeima and it consists of 100 members. It is a legislative authority of the country. Its members are elected in the democratic elections every 4 years. The Latvian Parliament Saeima elects the president of the country.
In the 1st of January, 2014 Latvia joined the euro zone by substituting its national currency since 1993 – lats with euro.
Latvia maintains one of the highest numbers of students in the world. The basic education is assured by the state and in the state universities partly as state scholarships.
Latvian people are known for speaking more than two languages. Apart from their mother tongue – Latvian, the most common languages to learn are Russian, English and German.
On 1st of January 2015, Latvia has taken over the rotating Presidency of the European Council.
The Baltic tribes came to actual Latvian territory around 3rd millennium B.C.
Its territory was known as the Viking route and the Route of Amber as mentioned in the old chronicles. The route came from Scandinavia and navigated down the Daugava River.
Latvia is known for its fine amber stone that is found on the costs of Baltic Sea
Latvia has been through different times. In 13th century it was under the influence of the Order of Livonian Brothers of Sword.
The capital of Latvia – Riga was found in 1201 by Germans. Riga along with other cities of Latvia was included in the Hanseatic League. For its geographical location it turned in the one of the most important cities of commerce of the Baltic countries.
In 16th century a great change happened in Latvia – the reform and collapse of the Livonia after the Livonia War. The territory of Latvia passed in the hands of Polish – Lithuanian influence where it stayed until 18th century when Russia took over Latvia. In 18th of November, 1918 it proclaimed its Independence until the5th of August, 1940 when it was annexed to the Soviet Union as a Socialist Soviet Republic of Latvia – as a consequence of the pact between German Nazi and soviets named Ribbentrop y Molotov.
In 1990 Latvia recovered its Independence. Today it is a country of European Union and NATO, is a part of Schengen zone and member of UN and most of its institutions.
Riga, the capital of Latvia always have been a popular cultural destionation of Europe. Nevertheless, this year it has been particulary visited for its designation as a capital of culture of Europe 2014. The number of cultural activities in theaters, museums, art galerries, expositions, concerts of all kind and opera is impressive. More than couple of hundred different cultural events will be taking part during all year and there are events for different tastes. The cultural herritage of Latvia is unique, expressive and briliante. The wide range of artistic activities are values that differs Latvia from other countries. The location of Latvia between east and west has alwyas been a temptation for the conquisters. In its past Latvia has been under the influation of Sweden, Russia, Poland, Lithuania and Germany. Each period has marked the development of Latvian culture.
Latvia is famous all over the world for its folklore music. The Festival of the songs and dance where the choirs of Latvia get together every 5 years is one of the biggest choral events in the world and is included in the list of the cultural heritage of UNESCO.
The opera of Latvia is well known for its productions of opera and ballet. It has been national pride for more than 90 years. The Latvian Opera is well known internationally and is a home of a number of world famous Latvian artists.
The capital of Latvia – Riga is well known for its architecture. Its Old Town is included in the list of sites of the UNESCO.
Riga attracts a lot of admirers for its buildings that are decorated in the style of Art Nouveau that was inspired by nature. It has decorations in form of flowers, mystical creatures. The district of Art Nouveau is considered one of the greatest examples in Europe.
Latvia is one of the greenest countries in the entire world. Latvia is one of the few countries where half of its territory has conservated the ecosystems in its natural state. It is a country of great diversity where lakes, valleys, rivers, sea, forests and countryside has been developing during centuries in its own rytham with a little human interference. The beaches of the white sand are 500 km long where one can appreciate dunes of sand, white sand beaches and old fisherman villages. Latvia has more than 12 500 rivers that are 38 000 km long and more than 2200 lakes. In its territory of 64 600 square km there are rare animal species. The black storks, wolfs and linces, the blue cows and more than 1300 species of the native plants and flowers can be found in Latvia.
The forests of Latvia are mixed forests of white pines and many more tree species. The forests grow in swamps and for its unique climate is a home to many species of animals and plants that can survive only in this microclimate. The forests of Latvia in the summertime produce raspberries, blueberries, wild strawberries, cranberries and many types of mushrooms including the famous chanterelle.
Information technologies, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, electronics, engineering, mechanics, Wood and construction, food processing, textiles, fishing and agriculture among others are the most important sectors of production in Latvia.
Wood and products of metal, machinery, electronic equipment and mineral products are principal exportations of Latvia. The most important trade partner of the Latvian exportation is still European Union.
Latvia has nine sea ports. The principal ports are Port of Riga and Port of Ventspils. The airport of Riga is the most important in the region and has connections to all capitals of Europe.