About Latvia and Riga
Latvia in Brief
REPUBLIC OF LATVIA - Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania)
RIGA - THE CAPITAL CITY OF LATVIA
CALLING CODE: +371
TIME ZONE: EET (UTC+2); EEST (UTC+3)
COUNTRY CODE: LV
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Metric
INTERNET TLD: .LV (.EU)
CURRENCY: Name: Lats (1 Ls = 0.7 EUR)
THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE - LATVIAN
MOST COMMON FOREIGN LANGUAGES: English, Russian, and German
The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918.
Latvia joined the WTO in 1998 and in 2004 became a member of the European Union and NATO.
GEOGRAPHY - 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.
Area - 64,589 sq.km or 24,937 sq.miles.
Regions - Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Latgale.
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.
Population in 2010: 2 248 374
Urban: 68% Rural:32%
The Capital of Latvia - Riga
Latvia has traditionally had one of the highest per capita ratio of students in the world. The state guarantees free primary and secondary school education and offers scholarships for higher education. Foreign students from EU countries pay the same fees as permanent residents of Latvian, and degrees from Latvian educational institutions are recognized internationally. Doctorates can be received in the social sciences, natural sciences, and law, as well as technical and humanitarian sciences. Latvia also has state-financed ethnic minority schools or classes where courses are taught in Belorussian, Estonian, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Polish, Roma, Russian and Ukrainian.
Largest Religious Confessions
Evangelic Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. Since the 16th century Reformation, the Lutheran church has played a leading role in Latvia.
Latvia is a democratic, parliamentary republic. Legislative power is in the hands of the single chamber Saeima , which has 100 deputies. Parliamentary elections are held every 4 years. Latvia’s head of state, the President, is elected by the Saeima for a period of 4 years. The President signs laws, chooses the Prime Minister (who heads the government) and performs representative functions.
European Union, NATO, United Nations Organisation, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of the Baltic Sea States, etc.
Largest Towns and Cities
-Rīga – 706 413
- Daugavpils – 103 922
- Liepāja 84 074
- Jelgava – 64 898
- Jūrmala 55 858
- Rēzekne 35 074
- Ventspils 42 734
Of the 77 towns and cities in Latvia, 23 cities have a population of over 10,000.
Latvia’s three major ports of Rīga, Ventspils and Liepāja service a wide range of global shipping needs. Ventspils is one of the busiest ports in the Baltic Sea region and one of Europe’s leading ports in terms of cargo turnover.
The Bank of Latvia is the central bank of Latvia and a participant in the European System of Central Banks. Since joining the EU more than 20 commercial banks have been operating in Latvia, offering a full array of banking services. Many banks have established an extensive network of ATM’s throughout the country and offer international Internet and mobile banking services.
The countries of the EU remain Latvia’s main trading partners (71,8% in 2009), while trade with CIS countries (13,9% – 2009) continues to expand. Wood and metal products, machinery, electrical equipment and mineral products are Latvia’s main exports.
Among Latvia’s traditionally most popular national foods are caraway cheese, grey peas with bacon, bacon-filled pastries and a special rye bread prepared to ancient recipes. Latvian rye bread is a staple for most of the population and is one of Latvia’s most popular food ‘souvenirs.
Jāņi - The Most Important Traditional Festival
In Latvia, celebration of the summer solstice is oldest and most beloved traditional holiday. The nearly three-day long midsummer fest concludes on June 24th, the day known to Latvians as ‘Jāņi’. Most leave the cities to gather with family and friends around thousands of bonfires, where special foods, beverages, songs, dances and rituals celebrate the movement of the setting and rising of the midnight sun.
*More information about Latvia: www.li.lv
Art Nouveau in Riga
Latvia’s political, economic and culture centre is in Rīga, where more than one third ofLatvia’s population (706 thousand) lives and works. Rīga’s elegant Old Town and distinctive Art Nouveau architecture serve as a stimulating setting for a vibrant modern business and cultural life. Founded in 1201, this former Hanseatic League member is one of the oldest medieval cities in Europe and has been listed by UNESCO as one of the world’s most important cultural and natural sites. As one of the new stars of the dynamic Baltic Sea region, Rīga has hosted a NATO summit, world hockey championship, the Eurovision Song Contest and many other large-scale international events. Rīga’s International Airportis one of the fastest growing travel hubs in Europe.
Art Nouveau is a style from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its use in architecture led to the present-day style system.
The development of Art Nouveau in Riga coincides with the city’s period of unprecedented prosperity and a sudden expansion of the population. Over a period of several years more than 100 multi-story stone buildings were erected. The distinctive look of Riga’s central district took shape in the early 20th century. By 1904, the eclectic characteristic of Riga’s late 19th century architecture completely disappeared. Approximately 40% of all buildings in the central district are in the Art Nouveau style. This is considerably more than in any other city in the world.
Local architects were actively employed in Riga. Approximately 250 buildings were built utilizing the designs of K. Pēkšēns; J. Alksnis authored approximately 140; O. Bārs, R. Donbergs and E. Laube accounted for 80; A.Vanags, 70; P. Mandelštams and E.Pole, 40; B. Bīlenšteins, 30; M. Nukša, 20. Almost all of the architects received their professional education at the Riga Polytechnic Institute.
Read more about Art Nouveau in Riga
Some have even refereed to Riga as the "Paris of the north" ! To add even more charm, Riga has many great and relaxing city parks that are exciting during all seasons!
The old Riga
The Old Riga (Vecriga) is a unique architectural ensemble combining diverse buildings and styles. This "stratagem" can be walked through in a quarter of an hour but one can also roam here until late in the evening. A foreigner who is here for the first time can even lose his way.
During ages the town of Riga surrounded by a stone wall has been developing in a restricted space. Narrow winding street composed a complicated labyrinth. Land plots were small and houses stood very close, so neighbours living across the street from each other could shake hands without leaving their homes. Now the narrowest street of Vecriga is a short segment of street between Jauniela and Tirgonu streets which has preserved since the XIII century. It has no pavements and two carts would not miss each other there.
Almost all the streets existing currently in the Old Riga appeared by the beginning of the XVI century but some of them had no permanent names at that time. The ancient names of the streets indicate their inhabitants and tell about the history of the city.
Smilsu (Sand) Street had been the main street of Riga until the XVII century. It ran from the main town gate and Sand (Powder) Tower. Though the street has lost its primary purpose it has retained its name.
Houses of merchants where one could buy goods that were not available even at the Market Square were situated on Tirgonu (Merchant) Street.
Some streets have lost their purpose and the fact of them being renamed was not noticed. So, Skunu (Barn) Street never had any barns or warehouses on it. First its name was Kurpju (Shoe) Street since shoe-makers lived there. But in everyday speech that relatively long name was pronounced somehow shorter what finally gave Skunu. Some streets have changed their names several times. Grecinieku (Sinner) Street was called the Street of the Rich in the XIV century. Several houses of rich merchants stood on that street not far from the Market Square. Once one of those merchants by the name of Herman Sundem was the richest. Therefore the street, the gate at its end, and the XV century tower were called after him. Later the family name Sundem was changed by the common people into "Sunder" meaning "sinner".
Until the XVIII century almost every landlord had a small animal-farm. in summer the cattle was driven to the pasture along the so called Pasture Road. The memory of those times has retained in the name of the street Ganibu Dambis (Pasture Dike).
The city, which is famous not only for its more than 800 years history and cultural heritage, but also for its active business environment and entertainment opportunities. Riga is a modern, dynamic European city. It is one of the largest cities in the Baltic region. Riga was officially founded in 1201. The Riga City history is more than eight hundred years long, and it has an abundance of dramatic events stored in countless volumes of works and monuments, legends, songs, memoirs and tales.
Riga is also called the city of parks and gardens. The central part of the city is mostly occupied by commercial offices, banks, and other business building reflecting the hectic present day life and the tendencies of rapid city development.
Sounds good, doesn't it? So why not plan a little trip to Riga?
Merqury Group would be more than happy to help you with it!
State Museum of Art
The collection of the State Museum of Art comprises 32,000 items making it the widest and most significant collection of visual art in the country. Nowadays there are two basic collections in the museum - Latvian Art Collection, and Foreign Art Collection.
Address: Kr. Valdemara 10 a, Riga
Museum of The history of Riga and Navigation
The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation was founded on Nikolaus von Himsel's private collection in 1773 and now is considered to be one of the oldest museums in Europe.
Address: Palasta 4, Riga
Latvian Ethnographic Opera Art Museum
More than ninety authentic houses, farmsteads, windmills, wooden churches, fishermen's villages and other historic structures have been brought here from different regions of Latvia and represent the life of craftspeople, peasants and fishermen in the 16-20th centuries.
Address: Brivibas 440, Riga
Latvian War Museum
The Latvian War Museum was founded during World War I as the Latvian Riflemen's Museum. In 1919, the museum moved into the Powder tower, the only extant ancient tower of Riga's fortification wall.
Address: Smilšu 20, Riga
Latvian Museum of Natural History
This is one of the oldest museums in Latvia. Six exhibitions - Geology, Botany, Zoology and Entomology, Anthropology, Paleontology, and People and the Environment are hosted here.
Address: Kr. Barona 4, Riga
Riga Porcelain Museum
This is the only museum of porcelain in the Baltics featuring more than 6,000 exhibits. The basis of the collection forms the porcelain from famous Kuznetzov's factory that was opened in Riga in 1814. Exhibitions of the museum include exquisite luxurious china sets as well as inexpensive crockery.
Address: Kaleju 9/11, Riga
Latvian Museum of Photography
The collection of the museum contains transparencies, negatives, photographic equipment, documents and books. The permanent exposition "The Development of Photography in Latvia 1839-1941" illustrates the growth and development of photography in the country from the primitive techniques of the 19th century.
Address: Marstalju 8, Riga
Paldies dievam piektdiena ir klat (Thanks God it’s Friday!)
Аddress:11. Novembra krastmala (I-1), Riga, Centre
Open : 12.00 - 02.00, Fri, Sat 12.00 - 04.00.
Pulkvedim neviens neraksta (Nobody writes to the Colonel)
Аddress: 26/28 Peldu iela (J-2), Riga, Old Town
Open : 12.00 - 02.00, Tue., Wed, Fri, Sat 12.00 - 05.00
Аddress: 55 Elizabetes iela («Radisson Blu Latvia», 26. floor), Riga, Centre
Аddress: 6 Marstalu iela (J-2), Riga ; 11 Maza Pils iela (H-1), Riga, Old Town
Open : 11.00 - 01.00
Fri 11.00 - 04.00
Sat 13.00 - 02.00
Sun 13.00 - 24.00
Аddress: 12/14 Kalku iela (I-2), Riga, Old Town
Аddress: 11 Kalku iela (I-2), Riga, Old Town
Open: 08.00 - 03.00
Fri 08.00 - 06.00
Sat 11.00 - 06.00
Sun 11.00 - 03.00
Аddress: 3 Palasta iela, Riga, Old Town
Stars Sport Bar & Pub
1. Аddress: 35 Lachplesa iela (D-7)
Open:11.00 - 12.00, Fri 11.00 - 01.00, Sat 14.00 - 01.00, Sun 14.00 - 01.00.
2. Аddress: 11a Grecinieku iela (J-2)
Open: 11.00 - 03.00. 10.00 - 24.00, Sat 10.00 - 01.00, Sun 10.00 - 22.00.
3. Аddress: 19 Skunu iela (I-2). Open: 09.00 - 03.00.
4. Адрес: 11a Grecinieku iela (J-2). Open: 11.00 - 03.00.
Аddress: 6 Kalku iela, Riga, Old Town
Аddress: 2 Skolas iela, Riga, Centre
Open: Wed, Sun 23.00 - 05.00, Thr 23.00 - 06.00
Fri, Sat 23.00 - 08.00
Admission – from 5 Ls to 10 Ls.
Open: Fri, Sat: 23:00-06:00
Аddress: 52/54 Lachplesha iela, Riga, Centre
Open: Fri, Sat: 22:00-05:00
Аddress: Brivibas gatve 214B, Riga
Admission – 5 Ls.
Open: Thr - Sat: 12:00-05:00, Sun-Wen:12:00-02:00.
Аddress: 12 Z.A.Meierovica bulvaris, Riga, Old Town
Open: Fri, Sat, Sun: 10.00 - 06.00.
Аddress: 24 Kalku iela, Riga, Old Town
Admission: from 3,- to 5,- Ls.
Open: Fri, Sat: 23:00 - 06:00
Аddress: 2 Terbatas iela, Riga, Centre
Admission: 5 Ls.
Open: Fri, Sat: 22:00-06:00
Аddress: 8 Kungu iela, Riga, Old Town
Open: Fri, Sat: 22:00-06:00
Аddress: 73 terbatas iela, Riga, Centre
Dress kode - smart casual
Entrance fee- 10 Ls
Open: Thr, Fri, Sat, Sun: 22:00-05:00.
Аddress: 55 Elizabetes iela, Riga, Centre
Open: Fri, Sat: с 22:00.
Аddress: 4 Andrejostas iela, Riga, Centre
face – control