Latvia in Brief


National currency: Euro (EUR), 1 euro consists of 100 cents
Official name: Latvijas Republika (The Republic of Latvia)
Government: Democratic parliamentary republic with one legislative house (Saeima, 100 members)
President: Andris Bērziņš
Major cities: Daugavpils, Rēzekne, Liepāja, Ventspils, Jelgava, Valmiera, Jūrmala, Jēkabpils
Official language: Latvian – an Indo-European, non-Slavic and non-Germanic language similar only to Lithuanian
Religion: Predominantly Protestant (Lutheran); Roman Catholic in the eastern part of the country;
Geography: Northern Europe, on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, sandy beaches, lowland plains, rolling hills, lake land in the east;
64,589 km2
Climate: Summer average +18°C, winter average -3°C
Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 in summer)
Population: 2,070,000
Ethnic composition: Latvian 59,0%, Russian 28,5%, Belorussian 3,8%, Ukrainian 2,5%, Polish 2,4%, Lithuanian 1,4%
Division into regions: Kurzeme (western part of Latvia), Zemgale (southern part), Vidzeme (middle and northern part), Latgale (eastern part)
Independence Day:  18th of November
History: From 1200 to 1918 ruled by Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians; proclaimed as an independent state in 1918; occupied by Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union during World War II; under Soviet occupation utill 1991 when Latvia regained its independence
Public holidays: January 1 – New Year,
March/April – Easter,
May 1 – Labor Day,
May 4 – The Day of Declaration of the Independence of the Republic of Latvia,
June 23-24 – Ligo, Midsummer night,
November 18 – The Proclamation day of the Republic of Latvia,
December 24, 25, 26 – Christmas,
December 31 – New Year’s Eve
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