Tourism in Latvia
|Facts about Latvia||3|
|Discovering the countryside||6|
|The main tourism places in Latvia|
Latvia is neither very large nor very small. The Republic of Latvia is a country in Northern Europe. Latvia has land borders with its two fellow Baltic States — Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south — and Russia and Belarus to the east. In the west Latvia shares a maritime border with Sweden. The capital of Latvia, Riga, is the largest city in the Baltic States. The territory of Latvia (24,900 square miles; border is 1,862km long but coastline is 494km long) is inhabited by over 2.5 million people. Major cities are Daugavpils, Liepaja, Rezekne, Ventspils, Jelgava, and Jurmala. Latvian language is one of the most ancient European Languages. Together with Lithuanian, Latvian forms the Baltic branch of the Indo-European group of languages. Other spoken languages are English, Russian and German. Off course there are many other languages spoken in Latvia. There are three main religions - Evangelic Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox. Currency: 1 'Lats' (LVL) = 100 'santims'. Average exchange rate (2005) 1 LVL = 1.42 EUR. Latvia is a republic, parliamentary democracy. Although Latvia occupies only a small territory, the variety of its nature is large. This is determined by its geographical location, the history of its development and the local characteristics.
You won't see smoking volcanoes or geysers, cloud-covered mountain tops or boundless plains in Latvia. However, Latvia will surprise you with other generous gifts of Mother Nature. Tree-covered hills alternate with grain-fields and pastures of the flatlands and massive forests. Along picturesque riverbanks the uncovered basic strata form cliffs and crags in which the water has carved caves. Numerous lakes sparkle at the bottom of hills. The forests and waters are full of wildlife.
Nature and culture – especially music and songs – are very important in the life of Latvians. The country has had several composers who took their inspiration from folk music. Outstanding performers in recent times include Ms Baiba Skride who won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Violin competition in 2001 and Marija Naumova who won the 2002 Euro song Festival. Also literature has been flourishing. Works of painters and sculptors, including contemporary artists, can be admired and bought in the many galleries of Riga. In the early Nineteen hundreds, many Art Nouveau buildings were erected in Riga. Today most of them can still be admired, some of them beautifully restored. One of the architects was Latvian born Mikael Eisenstein, father of the famous filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. Latvians scored high in several Olympic disciplines. Romans Vansteins was the World champion cycling in 2000. Friedrich Cander, an engineer and inventor born in Riga in 1887, was one of the pioneers of rocket building and jet propulsion, and was the first to precisely calculate the distance to Mars. His contemporary, Vilhelm Ostwald, received the Nobel Prize for developing nitrogen mineral fertilizers.
Rural tourism is becoming a more and more important part of regional development. As opposed to mass tourism, it diversifies employment possibilities, improves rural infrastructure and landscape, protects the environment and increases the rural population’s income. …
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