LATVIA

Information about travelling to Latvia

Latvia is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

Facts about Latvia
Population2,245,423 (July 2008 est.
CapitalRiga
Time zoneUTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begin
Location Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania

General info about Latvia
The name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
Disease threats
degree of risk: intermediate food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
Languages spoken
Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
What about drugs?
transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Balkan countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds
Ethnic division
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.6% (2001 est.)
Climate
maritime; wet, moderate winters
Resources
peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land
Economy
Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07; but entered a recession as a result of unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the softening world economy. The IMF, EU, and other donors provided assistance to Latvia as part of a package to defend the currency's peg to the euro and reduce public spending by about 5% of GDP. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. EU membership, a top foreign policy goal, came in May 2004. The current account deficit and inflation remain major concerns.
Environment
Latvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; the main environmental priorities are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution; in 2001, Latvia closed the EU accession negotiation chapter on environment committing to full enforcement of EU environmental directives by 2010

Cities in Latvia

ainazi     aizkraukle     aizpute     akniste     aloja     aluksne     ape     auce     baldone     balozi     balvi     bauska     broceni     cesis     cesvaine     dagda     daugavpils     dobele     durbe     grobina     gulbene     ikskile     ilukste     jaunjelgava     jelgava     jurmala     kalnciems     kandava     karsava     kegums     kraslava     kuldiga     lielvarde     liepaja     ligatne     limbazi     livani     lubana     ludza     madona     mazsalaca     ogre     olaine     pavilosta     piltene     plavinas     preili     priekule     rezekne     riga     rujiena     sabile     salacgriva     salaspils     saldus     saulkrasti     seda     sigulda     skrunda     smiltene     staicele     stende     strenci     subate     talsi     tukums     valdemarpils     valka     valmiera     vangazi     varaklani     ventspils     viesite     vilaka     vilani     zilupe    

National airlines
Air Balticairline website


Airports in Latvia
DaugavpilsDGP
LiepayaLPX
RigaRIX


Beer in Latvia (0.33l)
Riga~ 1.8 EUR
Riga~ 1.8 EUR

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