Theme Week Latvia

Monday, 23 May 2022 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Historic centre of Riga, an UNESCO World Heritage Site © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

Historic centre of Riga, an UNESCO World Heritage Site © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is one of the Baltic states; and is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia covers an area of 64,589 km² (24,938 sq mi), with a population of 1.9 million. The country has a temperate seasonal climate. Its capital and largest city is Riga. Latvians belong to the ethno-linguistic group of the Balts; and speak Latvian, one of the only two surviving Baltic languages. Russians are the most prominent minority in the country, at almost a quarter of the population.

After centuries of German, Swedish, Polish-Lithuanian and Russian rule, which was mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away from the German Empire and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became increasingly autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis. The country’s de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia’s forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, and the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years. As a result of extensive immigration during the Soviet occupation, ethnic Russians became the most prominent minority in the country, now constituting nearly a quarter of the population. The peaceful Singing Revolution started in 1987, and ended with the restoration of de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Since then, Latvia has been a democratic unitary parliamentary republic.

Saeima, the parliament of Latvia in Riga © flickr.com - Ernests Dinka/cc-by-sa-2.0 Turaida Castle © Nikater/cc-by-sa-3.0 University of Latvia © panoramio.com - ogre11/cc-by-3.0 Historic centre of Riga, an UNESCO World Heritage Site © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 House of the Blackheads in Riga © Roland Struwe/cc-by-sa-3.0 Riga Dome Cathedral © Ryzhkov Sergey/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Saeima, the parliament of Latvia in Riga © flickr.com - Ernests Dinka/cc-by-sa-2.0
Most of the country is composed of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills. In a typical Latvian landscape, a mosaic of vast forests alternates with fields, farmsteads, and pastures. Arable land is spotted with birch groves and wooded clusters, which afford a habitat for numerous plants and animals. Latvia has hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore—lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches. Latvia has the fifth highest proportion of land covered by forests in the European Union, after Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia. Forests account for 3,497,000 ha (8,640,000 acres) or 56% of the total land area. Latvia has over 12,500 rivers, which stretch for 38,000 km (24,000 mi). Major rivers include the Daugava River, Lielupe, Gauja, Venta, and Salaca, the largest spawning ground for salmon in the eastern Baltic states. There are 2,256 lakes that are bigger than 1 ha (2.5 acres), with a collective area of 1,000 km² (390 sq mi). Mires occupy 9.9% of Latvia’s territory. Of these, 42% are raised bogs; 49% are fens; and 9% are transitional mires. 70% percent of the mires are untouched by civilization, and they are a refuge for many rare species of plants and animals.

Agricultural areas account for 1,815,900 ha (4,487,000 acres) or 29% of the total land area. With the dismantling of collective farms, the area devoted to farming decreased dramatically – now farms are predominantly small. Approximately 200 farms, occupying 2,750 ha (6,800 acres), are engaged in ecologically pure farming (using no artificial fertilizers or pesticides). Latvia’s national parks are Gauja National Park in Vidzeme (since 1973), Ķemeri National Park in Zemgale (1997), Slītere National Park in Kurzeme (1999), and Rāzna National Park in Latgale (2007). The 2012 Environmental Performance Index ranks Latvia second, after Switzerland, based on the environmental performance of the country’s policies.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Governemtn of Latvia, Latvia Tourism, Tourism in Latvia, History of Latvia, Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, History of the Jews in Latvia, Economy of Latvia, Culture of Latvia, Architecture of Latvia, Art Nouveau architecture in Riga, World Heritage Sites in Latvia, Latvian cuisine, Wikivoyage Latvia and Wikipedia Latvia. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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