The middle child, because it is the second largest, of the Baltic States, is located in North Europe. Its neighbours include Estonia, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. It is also referred to as “Amberland” due to the amber pieces frequently found on its Baltic seashore. Amber, known as sunstone by the locals, is responsible for bringing luck if ancient legends are to be believed.
With a coastline of nearly 500 km, Latvia holds a special economic appeal for European companies. The same coastline also gives Latvia some of the most attractive beaches. Latvia is also full of rich wildlife. Roughly 40% of the country is forested with wolves, lynx, elk, deer, wild boar and brown bears as its inhabitants. Seals reside along the coast of Latvia while one can see beavers and otter in the inland bodies of water. Latvia has one national park, and several nature reserves.
The country has a generally cold climate for most part of the year, with temperatures hardly ever going over 4°C (39°F) from November to April. From July to August temperature range is 14-22°C (57-71°F). There are unrelenting showers in June and August, the warmest months.
Founded in 1201, Riga is the capital and main port of Latvia. Daugavpils is the second largest city. Despite the fact that Stone Age habitations were found inside city limits, the city is mostly composed of new architecture. This is due to the fact that 80% of it was destroyed in World War II. Bauska is the centre of textile-manufacturing and a historical town with 16th century Holy Spirit Church.
Area: 64 589 square km
Languages: Latvian (official), Russian, and Lithuanian
Literacy rates: 99.8% (age 15 and over can read and write)
Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Government: parliamentary democracy
Currency: Latvian lat (LVL)
Calling Code: 371