Facts about Latvia

Latvia

Area:

64,589 sq km

Population:

2.27million (2007)

Capital City:

Riga (population: 713,016)

Main Ethnic Groups:

Latvian (59.03%)

Russian (28.29%)

Other (12.68%)

Languages:

Latvian (state language)

Russian

Religion(s):

Lutheran

Catholicism

Russian Orthodox

Currency:

Lat

Main Cities
 
Riga - the capital and largest city of Latvia, one of the major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centers of the Baltics.
 
Daugavpils - located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. Daugavpils literally means "Daugava Castle".
 
Liepaja - a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E, and the administrative center of Liepaja district. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region of Latvia.
 
The culture of Latvia is as colourful as its' past, having been influenced by various civilizations since ancient times. Local Latvian Pagan heritage has survived over millennia, with German missionary knights introduced Christianity to the territory of Latvia in the 13th century. These enduring Pagan customs combined with common Christian traditions and rituals are two distinct characteristics of Latvian culture today. Along with the standard holidays as Easter, Christmas, New Year, Labour Day, Independence day - 4th May and etc, Latvians have their Jani (Janis being Latvian for John) Celebrations consist of a lot of traditional elements - eating Janu cheese, drinking beer, singing hundreds of Latvian folk songs dedicated to Jani, burning bonfire to keep light all through the night and jumping over it, wearing wreaths of flowers (for the women) and leaves (for the men) together with modern commercial products and ideas.
 
Famous Latvian people
  • Peteris Vasks - One of the world’s leading contemporary composers.
  • Vija Artmane - Great theatre actress.
  • Valters Caps (Walter Zapp) - Inventor of the first high-resolution mini spy camera.
  • Aivars Lembergs - The richest men in 2009.
  • Sandis Ozolinš - Football player and superstar.
 
Cuisine
The traditional Latvian cuisine typically consists of agricultural products, with meat featuring in most main meal dishes.
Traditional dishes to taste are the Kimenu siers (caraway cheese), rasols (potato salad), and sauerkraut - "sour cabbage", pickled mushrooms . Popular drinks are beer, vodka, and balsam.
A traditional dinner consists a cold beet soup, pot-cooked cabbage, a meat cutlet, a pickled cucumber, sour milk (kefir), and some kvass.

 

Basic words in Latvian

English

Latvian

Hello

Sveiki

Good morning

Labrit

Good afternoon

Labdien

Good evening

Labvakar

Good night

Arlabunakti

Please

Ludzu

Thank you

Paldies

Sorry

Atvainojiet

How are you?

Ka Jums klajas?

I am well, thank you

Man labi, paldies