Official name : Republic of Latvia Nationality : Latvian National Day : November 18th Capital : Riga Top cities : Riga (796,732), Daugavpils (115,450), Liepaja (95,427), Jelgava (70,931), Jurmala (58,865) (1999) Language : Latvian (official), Russian Religion: Christianity Climate :Latvia has cool summers and cold winters with frequent snowfalls. A record high temperature in Latvia is 36.4 ° C degrees and a minimum of -43.1 ° C degrees. Some facts about Latvia
History of Latvia The territory known today as Latvia has been inhabited since 9000 BC. In the first half of 2000 BC, the early Baltic tribes arrived. They were the ancestors of the Latvian people. At the same time that these people came to the east coast of the Baltic Sea, primitive Ugric tribes already lived in that territory. They are considered the ancestors of contemporary Estonians, Finns and Livy. During the ancient age, Latvia was a staging area of trade between the Vikings and the Greeks, and the people who lived in the region participated actively trade in the region.
The system of government of Latvia is a parliamentary system, in which a Prime Minister runs the country. The Parliament or Saeima consists of 100 deputies, elected by popular vote every four years. The President is appointed by the Parliament, in a separate election, also every four years. Then the President appoints a Prime Minister. The Latvian judicial system is based on the constitution, any person has the right to appeal to justice. Politics
The President of Latvia, chosen by the country's Parliament, is the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of the Republic of Latvia. All the presidents so far, except Gustavs Zemgalsand Karlis Ulmanis, ruled for two terms. The terms are 4 years. These are the presidents of Latvia from 1922 until today. Presidents: • Jānis Čakste: November 14, 1922 until March 14, 1927 • Gustavs Zemgals: April 8, 1927 until April 9, 1930 • Alberts Kviesis: April 9, 1930 until April 11, 1936 • Karlis Ulmanis: November 11, 1936 to July 21, 1940 from 1940 to 1991 Latvia was under Soviet occupation. • Guntis Ulmanis: July 7, 1993 to July 7, 1999 • Vaira Vike-Freiberga: July 8, 1999 to July 7, 2007 • Valdis Zatlers : July 7, 2007 to the present. Politics
Geography Latvia is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Lithuania, also borders with Russia. Currency: Lat (LVL) Inhabitants: 2.220.700
Location of Latvia Latvia is one of the three Baltic Republics. Its limits are to the north by Estonia, to the east by Russia, on the southeast by Belarus, Lithuania to the south and west to the Baltic Sea. Riga, the capital, is the largest capital of the Baltic republics. In the historical center of Riga we can see a blend of medieval and art nouveau buildings, declared World Heritage Site. Forests cover almost half the territory, which promotes eco-tourism, especially in the town of Sigulda, surrounded by caves and woods.
Sport in Latvia Basketball In Latvia, basketball is sometimes mentioned as a national sport. Latvia has a long basketball tradition. Latvia won the first European championship in 1935 and hosted the second championship in 1937. Ice hockey Latvia has one pro hockey league, there are also several amateur hockey leagues. Ice hockey has been played in Latvia since 1920s. Latvia is a member of International Ice Hockey Federation, its national team participated in several World Championships and 1936 Winter Olympic Games.
Sport in Latvia Football Football was the most popular sport in Latvia during first independence (1918-1940). The Latvian national team participated in final stage of 2004 European Football Championship. Tennis Since 2006 tennis has become popular sport in Latvia, because of Ernests Gulbis's achievements. He reached 4th round of 2007 U.S. Open where in 3rd round he beat world No. 8 Tommy Robredo.
Sport in Latvia Athletics Latvian athletes have achieved medals in Olympics and European/World championships. Somes famous athletes are Vadims Vasilevskis , Stanislavs Olijars and Jeļena Prokopčuka . Cycling Also Latvian cycling athletes are famous in the world arena. Lately in BMX. First time in Europe cycling history one country Latvian BMX Elite Riders (Artūrs Matisons, Ivo Lakučs,Māris Štrombergs , Artis Zentiņš) triumphed on European Championships 2006. Māris Štrombergs wa s the UCI BMX World champion in 2008 and Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics gold medalist . Rally Rally is considered to be the second most popular sport in Latvia.
Gastronomy <ul><li>The Latvian cuisine uses fish from the sea as well as from the river. </li></ul><ul><li>Among the best-known dishes are the herrings, sardines, salmon and pike, not forgetting the wonderful caviar. </li></ul><ul><li>Cold dishes are very popular among Latvians as well as berries and grains. </li></ul><ul><li>We also can eat meat dishes very well prepared in restaurants. </li></ul>