Latvia is one of three Baltic states, and is borded by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Belarus. The capital of Latvia is Riga. The Latvian flag
is dark red with a white stripe running horizontally through the center. Latvia joined the European Union in 2004.
Latvian Language and Religion:
Latvian language is spoken in Latvia - it is a sister language to Lithuanian, and one of the Baltic languages. However, it has developed separately from Lithuanian, so Lithuanians and Latvians cannot understand each other when they speak their native tongues. Many people in Latvia also speak Russian.
While Christianity is the dominant religion in Latvia (with many Christians practicing Roman Catholics), Eastern Orthodoxy and other religions are followed in Latvia as well.
Recent History of Latvia:
Latvia was once part of the Soviet Union, and the Baltic still is host to a significant Russian population. After gaining independence, Latvia began to tighten its language restrictions in schools and for citizenship - would-be Latvian citizens have their Latvian language skills tested after submittal of their application.
Latvian Traditions and Culture:
Latvia has a long cultural heritage, and many ancient traditions are still observed. Latvian dress is worn for folk festivals and Latvian musical instruments
may be played.
Travel in Latvia:
Plan to your travel to Latvia during peak summer months. June through September see the warmest temperatures. Winter in Latvia can be exceptionally cold, but you may be able to enjoy skiing or snowboarding in Latvia this time of year. As Latvia has many lakes and forested areas, be sure to work camping, hiking, or canoeing into your travel itinerary to experience Latvia's natural environment.