Latvia Facts Everyone Should Definitely Know All About! | Kidadl

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Latvia Facts Everyone Should Definitely Know All About!

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The Baltic States is an informal geopolitical term that refers to the three countries, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, members of the Baltic Assembly.

Latvia, or the Republic of Latvia, is situated in Northern Europe with Russia to the east, Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, and Belarus to the south-east. Latvia shares its maritime boundary with Sweden to the west.

Latvia is a small country with an average area of 24,938 sq mi (64,589 sq km), with Riga as its capital. The highest point of Latvia is the Gaizina Kalns, while the lowest point is the Baltic sea. In 2004, Latvia became a member of the European Union. The official language of Latvia is Latvian, which is one of the two existing Baltic languages. In contrast, Livonian is considered an indigenous language.

The majority of the population is Latvians with 62.7%, while Russians have a population of 24.5% and Belarusians 3.1%. Latvia is a secular state with 80.0% Christians (34.3% Lutheran, 25.1% Catholic, 16.9% Orthodox, 3.7% includes other Christians) and 18.3% of no religion. Latvia has been under the rule of Germany, Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia for centuries.

Currently, Latvia is considered a developed nation with a high-income economy. The living standards, Civil liberties, freedom of the press, and internet, are stable in Latvia. Besides the European Union, Latvia is a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, UN, and World Trade Organization. Latvia has a Unitary Parliamentary Republic system with Prime Minister as its head.

To learn more fun facts about Latvia, such as its history, economy, climate, and tourist spots, continue reading this article.

The History Of Latvia

The history of Latvia is extensive, beginning from the Medieval period to its restoration of Independence, which is described below.

Before the Medieval period, around 3000 BC, the ancestors of the Latvian people resided on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Gradually new trade routes were established to Byzantium and Rome. And by 900 AD, Latgalians, Semigallians, Curonians, and Selonians, who happened to be the ancient Baltic tribes, dwelled in Latvia. In the 12th century or the medieval period, Latvia has entirely incorporated into the socio-political system of Europe. During this time, the pope sent the first missionaries to convert people to Christianity.

Nevertheless, towards the beginning of the 13th century, an extensive part of Latvia was under German rule. In 1558 soon after the Livonian War, Lativa came under the Polish-Lithuanian governance. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries, Sweden and Russia, the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania, strived for domination in the Eastern Baltic region. A significant part of the Latvian population perished from plague and famine during the Great Northern War.

The 19th century marked the national awakening of Latvia, followed by various movements. After the two consecutive World Wars, Latvia was again regained by the Soviet Union, defeating the German troops. The War of Independence followed World War One, and it was a turbulent period of new borders and civil wars in the Region of Eastern Europe. Regardless, on August 21, 1991, the Republic of Latvia restored complete independence and resumed its diplomatic relations with western provinces.

Climate And Weather In Latvia

Overlooking the Baltic sea, the climate of Latvia varies, as the winters can be described as chilly, and the summers can be mildly accompanied by rain. The coastal areas are likely to have a temperate climate but the continental the eastern regions.

The temperature on the western coast of Latvia often drops below the freezing point in the beginning months of the year and gradually rises in the middle. Precipitation is not very sufficient; however, it is evenly distributed, and the coast receives more rainfall than inland. The winters can be described as cold with snowfall, and the temperature can drop as low as 24 F (-4.5 C) in certain regions during February.

The spring is usually late as the country remains snow-covered till the middle of April. Summer begins in June and continues till August. It is also the time when Latvia receives the maximum amount of rainfall. Soon after summer, with the beginning of fall, the temperature drops. Thus, the best time to visit Latvia is from June-August as the temperature is favorable and mild with a moderate downpour. However, if you want to experience snowfall, December to February is the perfect time to visit. 

Tourist Attractions In Latvia

Latvia is a country that will always welcome visitors warmly. It has some famous landmarks, monuments, and valleys that one should visit once.

Riga is the capital city of Latvia and also the largest metropolis. It comprises some of the fantastic Gothic Cathedrals, local markets, unique bars and cafes, and also Art Nouveau. Latvia is also one of the greenest countries in the world, with more than half of Latvia is covered in forests. It has 42 nature parks, 12,000 rivers, four national parks, 260 nature reserves, 2000 lakes, and more places to explore.

Gauja is one such national park that is very famous. It is appropriate to unwind for a day as it has plenty of activities such as bobsleighing and Bunjee Jumping. There is Rundale Palace and Museum that is filled with art treasures. Besides that, there are medieval castles with historical significance and river valleys.

Latvia has a beer spa where one can submerge themselves in a beer bath.

Economy And Business In Latvia

Latvia is one such nation with the highest GDP in Europe; however, in 2009, the Latvian economy started to shrink at an alarming rate due to the global financial crisis.

The economic condition of Latvia has increased as it exhibited strong growth in various economic sectors. The economy of Latvia by 5.5% in 2011 and 5.6% in 2012. And in 2018, it exceeded the pre-crisis level. Export from the primary component of this open economy contributes maximum to the GDP. Its primary export partners are Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Poland, and Denmark. The unemployment rate of Latvia is 9.8%, and the primary industries are transport, synthetic fibers, electronics, pharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery, processed foods, natural resources, and more.

Did You Know?

Here are some exclusive fun facts about Latvia that you will find very intriguing:

Western Dvina or Daugava, Gauja, the Lielupe, the Venta are some of the largest rivers of Lativia that channels into the Baltic Sea.

Although Latvian is the official language yet 1/3 of the population of Latvia speaks Russian.

The national sport of Latvia is Ice hockey, and Artūrs Irbe is considered the best goalkeeper of ice hockey who played for the USSR at the World Championship.

Latvia is contemplated a small country. However, it is bigger than other European countries like Slovenia, Estonia, Croatia, and Switzerland.

When Latvia was Dutchy of Courland during the 17th century, it was governed by Duke Jacob. It established two colonies of its own, one is the present-day Kunta Kinteh Island of the Gambia River, and the other is Tobago.

Two million people from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia combined to protest against the Soviet occupation. These people formed a human chain that extended to 373 mi (600 km).

To foster bilingualism in Latvia, a substantial program was initiated by limiting the usage of the Latvian language to support Russian as the primary language.

The tribes of Couronians, Selobians, Semigallians, northern Latgalliand, and Livs used to speak one Latvian language.

FAQs

Q: What are three interesting facts about Latvia?

A: Three interesting and fun facts about Latvia are:

One of the fastest internet connections is in Latvia

Latvia has the widest waterfall in Europe called the Ventas Rumba.

There are 20 hours of daylight in Latvia at midsummer.

Q: What are some fun facts about Latvia?

A: Some fun facts about Latvia are:

Latvian is considered one of the oldest languages of Europe.

Jeans were a Latvian invention as it was Jākobs Jufess, a Latvian-Jewish tailor who invented jeans and was backed by Levi Strauss.

The world's first mini photo camera was a Latvian product, and the State Electrotechnical Plant manufactured it in 1937.

One of the world's largest dance and song festivals is held in Latvia, which has over 40,000 partakers.

The current Latvian flag has been in use since 1280 making it one of the oldest flags in the world after Denmark.

The national bird of Latvia is the White wagtail, and it is named so as it wriggles its tail continuously.

UNESCO has recognized two World Heritage sites in Latvia. One is the historic hub of Riga, and the other is Struve Geodetic Arc, which Estonia shares with its neighboring countries.

Q: What did Latvians invent?

A: Besides Jeans and the mini camera, Latvians have invented the Aerowagon, a high-speed testing railcar attached to an engine of an aircraft. The industrial mozzarella machine was a Latvian-American invention.

Q: What is Latvian culture?

A: The culture of Latvia is influenced by its traditions, and historical heritage as Latvia comprises linguistically diverse groups of people as well. Latvia has its own two different types of national dresses. Latvia is enriched with its traditional folk songs, and it goes back thousands of years. Latvian literature commenced in the 19th century, but there were few authors even before that. Latvia is known for its short films made in the early 20th century. The choir is an integral part of Latvian culture; thus, Latvian culture is very extensive.

Q: What is traditional Latvian food?

A: Latvian food primarily focuses on the agricultural products produced, combining them with fish and meat. Some popular dishes of Latvia are Pelmeni with sour cream, Stroganoff, Borsch, Rasol, Plov, Kefir, Solyanka, and more. However, the traditional food comprises gray peas and bacon, smoked fish, rye bread, potato pancakes, cabbage soup, and Latvian meatballs.

Q: What is the national drink of Latvia?

A: Riga Black Balsam, a production of the JSC Latvijas Balzams, is considered as the national drink of Latvia. Over 2 million bottles are manufactured every year and then exported to various countries.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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