Latvia

The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18,1918, which is now the national holiday, but in 1991 Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence, and in 2004 joined the EU and NATO.

It is located on the east coast of the Baltic Sea with a coastline of 494 km. Apart from the Gulf of Riga and the open Baltic Sea , Latvia boasts of an intensive network of  12,5000 rivers, 2,256 lakes, seashore lined by pine forests and continuous  white sand beaches.

Of the 77 towns and cities in Latvia, 23 cities have the population over 10.000 .

Official language : Latvian.

It is one of the oldest and least changed of all Indo-European languages and is spoken as the primary language by 1,5 million people  in the world. Around 90% of Latvians live in Latvia.

The Latvian flag is very similar to the Austrian flag, but darker in colour.It consists of 2 dark red bands with a narrower white band in the middle.

The mational anthem  „Dievs svētī Latviju”(God,bless Latvia.) was written in the second half of the 19th century by a Latvian composer Kārlis Baumanis. It became the national anthem in 1918.

There are about a thousand Latvian personal names, and each day of the Latvian calendar is highlighted by one or more of them. This is a „namesday”. On that day,Latvians usually receive greetings, gifts and flowers, and should expect visits from guests without invitations.

Amber is of special significance for the country as its name is used in songs, company names and the names of different products, and it is one of the best souvenirs.

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