Latvija <ul><li>German: Lettland </li></ul><ul><li>French: Lettonie </li></ul><ul><li>Spanish: Letonia </li></ul><ul><li>Greek : Λετονία </li></ul><ul><li>Bulgarian: Латвия </li></ul><ul><li>The name "Latvija" comes from the ancient Latgallians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, who along with Couronians, Selonians and Semigallians formed the ethnic core of today’s Latvian people. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Where are we on the map of Europe? </li></ul>
LATVIA <ul><li>One of three Baltic states; </li></ul><ul><li>Territory 64589 km 2; (24,937 sq. miles ) </li></ul><ul><li>Population 2,236,910 (2011.); </li></ul><ul><li>3/5 – Latvians; other nationalities – Russians; Belarusians; Ukranians; Poles; Lithuanians and others; </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
<ul><li>State language- Latvian (one of the two Baltic languages (the other- Lithuanian) of the Indo-European family; </li></ul><ul><li>Latvian is a Baltic language that belongs to the Indo-European language family. Its only linguistic relative is Lithuanian, and is considered to be among the oldest and least changed of all living Indo-European languages in the world. It is estimated that 1,5 million people worldwide use Latvian as their primary language. English and Russian are widely spoken throughout Latvia, while German, French and the Scandinavian languages are also frequently heard. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Regions: Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme, Latgale. </li></ul><ul><li>Total national border length: 1,862 km. Length of Latvia's Baltic coastline : 494 km. </li></ul><ul><li>The largest lake: Lubāns, 80.7 sq.km. </li></ul><ul><li>The deepest lake: Drīdzis, 65.1 metres. </li></ul><ul><li>The longest river within Latvian territory: the Gauja, 452 km. </li></ul><ul><li>The largest river to flow through Latvian territory: the Daugava, total length 1,005 km, of which 352 km within Latvian territory. </li></ul><ul><li>The highest point : Gaiziņkalns, 311.6 metres. </li></ul><ul><li>There you can see the main geographical features. Of course, we don’t have high mountains. There are no large lakes. But every corner of our country is specific for its beauty, picturesque views, silent and calm places. </li></ul>
Coat of Arms Latvia’s coat of arms combines the traditional heraldic symbols of Latvian statehood and national identity – three stars, the sun, the sea and oak leaves. Latvia’s historical districts of Kurzeme and Zemgale are represented by a red lion, while Vidzeme and Latgale are depicted by a silver griffin.
The Flag The crimson-white-crimson flag of Latvia is one of the oldest in the world and dates back to a battle near Cesis in the 13th century. According to one legend, it originated from a white sheet used to carry a mortally wounded Latvian tribal chief from the battlefield. Soaked with his blood on two sides, his soldiers hoisted the warrior’s sheet as a banner as it led them to victory.
Largest Religious Confessions: <ul><li>Evangelic Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the 16th century Reformation, the Lutheran church has played the leading role in Latvia. But the Aglona Basilica is the centre of the Catholics. Every summer there is a great festivity when pilgrims from Latvia and several other countries gather there to celebrate Blessed Virgin Mary's Assumption Day . </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
Government <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
Riga – the capital of Latvia Our capital city is not large if we compare it with the other European cities, but it is beautiful, full of surprises. There you see the traditional view of the city with the skyline that can’t be mixed up with any other view. Inhabitants – about 700,000.
Now we have climbed up St.Peter’s Church. Breathtaking views open before you from the hight of 72 metres.
If you are in Riga, it is a must to go along the narrow streets of Old City. You will get lost, but don’t worry- you will always get to the river Daugava.
Riga and the sea – these are two i nseparable sights, places in Latvia. The Baltic Sea and the Riga Gulf have always been admired by tourists and by local people.
You may be lucky and see how the waves from the sea and the gulf clash in the north of the country – in the Irbe Strait, that is the most dangerous place for the ships.
You see that we enjoy the views from the top of some places. Now you see the river Gauja from the air tram. This river is extremely picturesque, but full of dangerous maelstroms.
A geographical object that has its importance on the European scale – the widest waterfall in Europe on the river Venta. Its width depends on the volume of water- about 100-110m. During floods even up to 270 metres wide.
In 2007 this building was listed as an item of European Cultural heritage. The pearl of baroque style was designed by Rastrelli in 1736 .
Oh, after exclusive trip to the Palace you may enjoy a true natural farm somewhere far away from “civilisation”. It may be appreciated by people who like country sounds and calmness.
There you will enjoy nature as colourful as it can be.
There you may expect visitors from the nearest forest.
Besides you may be surprised by sudden nature fancy Flowers and snow. Here it is hail.
But now let’s return to our village Ropazi. The picture has been taken from the air balloon by one of our teachers. And there is our school. Not clearly seen?
Here it is. Bright, full of sun, surrounded by beauty of autumn.
If you don’t like autumn, here it stands in winter.
But still autumn is the most colourful season of the year. The river Big Jugla flows just behind our school. It seems calm, but...
Be careful in spring when floods start. It can cover large areas on both sides of its bank. Don’t worry – our school is safe.
The bank of the river were a good place to build a fortress in 1205, that is the year when the name of this settlement was mentioned first in chronicles. A group of our previous students have organised a club to preserve the ruins of the castle. They organise Medieval festivals here.
The activities during these festivals are extremely popular among our villagers and guests.
Let’s turn back to our school. There you see the symbol of our school and vil l age – three larks. The teacher you see on the photo and her group of students have done much in order to get the green flag of ECO school. Activities to preserve nature, to help the environment, to go closer to the nature have be e n organised during the last three years.
Wouldn’t you enjoy such closeness to the nature?
Our school keeps to the traditions that are popular in Latvia. The primary class students celebrate Martin’s Day on the 10th of November.
Our students take part in the Latvenergo contest. The results are the best. Almost every year the team from our school get to the all Latvia final that is shown on TV. The prize?
Last year it was the possibility to fly like a bird. The company AERODIUM was founded and still its leader is a previous student from our school. Probably somebody remembers the closing ceremony of Turin winter Olympic Games. Aerodium was a surprise for the whole world.
Every S eptember is marked by Days of Poetry, dedicated to our prominent poet Janis Rainis. The same tradition is followed in our school as well. As you see, boys also write poetry.
Spring comes with Easter, or as we call it “The Great Day”, when grown-ups and small children sing, dance, play games, swing, organise egg fights, and so on.
A tradition that is not so old – the Teachers’ Day – it on the first Sunday in October. Students from class 12 usually make teachers feel a bit stressy because we have to do some tasks.
One of such tasks – miraculous transformations. No choice-take something from the stack of clothes and change your traditional outfit.
But this year we shocked our students. Our school celebrated the 75th anniversary from its opening. The teachers dressed up as ladies and gentlemen from different ages. Did we have to worry about discipline in the hall? No, there was complete silence.
So we love our country in summer when it is full of colourful flowers.
We love it in autumn when the rainbow comes into school through the window.
We love it in winter when the snow is almost to the roof (but not in all winters).
We love it in spring when the sea is the bluest .
Welcome to Latvia! The photos have been taken from personal archives of our teachers Solvita Alksne and Baiba Lukaševiča