Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and is located in North-eastern Europe on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. It consists of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills, with most of its territory less than 100 metres above sea level. It has an extensive network of rivers, thousands of lakes and hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches.


Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the north, Russia to the east, Lithuania to the south and the Baltic Sea to the west. Its strategic location has made it an international crossroad for trade, commerce and cultural exchange since ancient times. Vikings followed the ‘Amber Road’ through Latvian territory along the Daugava River to reach Byzantium and the Mediterranean Sea.


With over 44 percent of its territory covered by forests, a vast network of free flowing rivers and thousands of lakes, Latvia is one of Europe’s best preserved havens for a wide variety of wildlife. Over 27 thousand species of flora and fauna thrive in natural settings that are still relatively undisturbed by man. Many rare species, such as the black stork and lesser spotted eagle, make their homes in Latvia’s mixed forests, marshes and meadows. There is also an abundance of otters, beavers, lynx and wolves, as well as great concentrations of deer, elk, fox and wild boar. Bird-watching is particularly rewarding in Latvia, especially in the coastal areas and wetlands during annual migration periods.


Latvians are the indigenous people of Latvia, and the Finno-Ugric Livs (or Livonians) are the only indigenous minority. Latvia’s present ethnic mix is largely a result of massive post-war immigration, which resulted in a decline in the share of ethnic Latvians from 77% in 1935 to 52% in 1989.

Population in 2009: 2 261 294
Urban: 68% Rural:32%

Ethnic composition:

  • 59.3% Latvian,
  • 27.8% Russian,
  • 3.6% Belorussian,
  • 2.5% Ukrainian,
  • 2.4% Polish,
  • 1.3% Lithuanian,
  • 3.1% other nationalities.

Official Language: Latvian

Hi – Sveiks!
Good-bye – Uz redzēšanos
Yes –
No –
Thank you – Paldies
Please – Lūdzu
Sorry – Atvainojiet

Most Common Foreign Languages:

English, Russian, and German.

Look for more information:

Latvian Institute
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