Über Lettland

About Latvia

Name of Country: Republic of Latvia, Latvijas Republika
Climate: Moderate, but with considerable seasonal temperature fluctuation: summer warm, spring and fall relatively mild and short, winter relatively long (October to April).
Location: At the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea; borders in the north on Estonia, in the south on Lithuania, in the east on Russia and in the southeast on Belarus.
Area: 64,589 km²
Capital: Riga (698,529 inhabitants)
Population: 1,959,000 inhabitants
Official Language: Latvian (only official language); Russian widespread
Religions: Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Roman Catholic Church, Russian Orthodox Church, Jewish synagogues, German Evangelical-Lutheran Church with 5 congregations.

Latvia is a North European state in the center of the Baltic countries. Since May 1st 2004, Latvia belongs to the European Union and is since the beginning of 2014 a member of the Eurozone. The Baltic state neighbors to Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Estonia and the Baltic Sea. The climate is – like it is common in the Baltic Area – moderate. In summer, the average temperatures range between 17-18°C, whereby the daily temperatures can reach up to 30°C. In winter, the average temperate is approximately 0°C.

Riga is with about 700,000 inhabitants the capital of Latvia and only 40 kilometers away from Jelgava. Beyond that, Riga is one of the biggest agglomerations of the three Baltic States and political, cultural and economic center of the country.

Latvia is strongly influenced by Northern Europe in regard to culture. In historic districts of Latvia, typical elements which are used in the Hansa area can be recognized. Latvia has therefore many close relationships with the northern German cultural area and to the one in Sweden and Finland. Beyond that, the country is known for its distinct folklore and folk music culture.

Ice hockey is considered a national sport in Latvia and is very popular – just like football or baseball in the USA or soccer in Germany. Nevertheless, soccer – especially since the UEFA EURO qualification in 2004 – is getting more and more attention. Besides ice hockey, basketball is another popular sport among Latvians.