50 Fascinating Facts About Latvia

Latvia is a nation in Northern Europe's Baltic area and is formally known as the Republic of Latvia. Latvia has been referred to be one of the Baltic states since its independence. A total of 64,589 square kilometers (km2) make up the landmass. Its capital and largest city are also called Riga. Latvian is the country's national language. Its official currency is the Euro (EUR). Estonia, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania are its land neighbors. Here are some entertaining and intriguing facts to help us learn more about this beautiful country.

Fascinating Facts

Riga, Latvia's capital and sometimes referred to as the "Paris of the North," is home to over one-third of the country's two million citizens.
For all of Europe's nations, save Poland and Lithuania, around 12.5% of Latvia's population perished during World War II. Between 1945 and 1952, the Soviet Union's gulags held up to 190,000 political prisoners.
330 miles of sandy beaches make it a good choice for an unusual beach vacation, provided you don't mind the calm sea. Jurmala, a popular summer vacation spot for Brezhnev and Khrushchev, is located west of Riga. In the height of summer, temperatures can soar to over 20°C, necessitating sunscreen.
Latvia is one of Europe's greenest countries, with 54 per cent of its land covered in forest and 10 per cent in the bog (so pack your wellies). In addition to the storks and lesser spotted eagles, it's also home to otters, beavers, lynxes, and wolves, as well as large populations of deer, wild boar, elk, and red fox.
Latvia is not a hilly country at all. Gaizikalns, at 312 metres above sea level, is the highest peak in the country. They did, however, erect a tower atop Suur Munamagi, Estonia's highest peak at 318 metres. There were safety concerns, and the building was torn down in 2012.
Latvia is the 46th most developed country in the world, according to the Human Development Index.
On January 1st, 2014, the Euro replaced the Latvian lats as the country's official currency.
A developed country, Latvia has a thriving economy. In 2014, the United States provided Latvia with a total of 67 million dollars in military aid.
Double taxation is avoided because of a deal between the United States and Latvia.
Latvians do not need a visa to visit the United States for up to 90 days. Travel to the United States is permissible for leisure as well as business.
The country of Latvia comes in seventh in the Akamai Q4 2015 Global Average Connection Speeds Rankings, ahead of Switzerland and Hong Kong. Note that South Korea is at the top of the heap when it comes to the fastest internet.
Latvia is the world's leader in the production of female models per population. Only four countries rate higher than Estonia: Iceland, Lithuania, and Denmark.
Since 1280, Latvia has flown the exact design of the flag. Only Denmark's has been around for as long as the rest of the European Union.
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is home to almost 4,000 historic wooden structures. This is unique in Europe, as no other city has so much historical timber left over.
Riga is also well-known across the world for its architecture. According to the United Nations, Riga possesses Europe's best collection of Art Nouveau buildings.
Latvia is somewhat larger than West Virginia in terms of land area.
Latvia has a 498-kilometre coastline.
The highest peak in Latvia is Gaizina Kalns (312 m). Do you know where the highest point in the Baltic Sea region is? "Suur Munamägi" is Estonia's highest mountain, standing at 318 metres. There's no one left to challenge for the region's highest peak now!
A 2016 global peace index placed Latvia as the 32nd most peaceful country.
Latvia was part of Poland from 1562 to 1629 and of Sweden from 1721 till it became independent.
An estimated 250 individuals may survive for three months in a secret Soviet bunker that built-in 1982. The bunker was stocked with enough food and water to survive for months, as well as cutting-edge technology. However, since 2003, the bunker has become a popular tourist destination.
Latvians are believed to be quite patriotic. In other words, when you first arrive in Latvia, be sure to compliment the locals and their nation. Latvians, it turns out, can be rather amusing as well.
Though most Latvians speak Russian, they don't think of them as Russians because they look like them. The Latvians are a distinct ethnic group.
The woodlands of Latvia are often referred to as "green gold." This is primarily because the country's woods are a significant source of revenue.
Aspen, black and white alder, oak, and many more deciduous tree species may be found across the nation. Pine and fir are abundant in the area, as well as many other coniferous tree types. In recent years, the country has taken a leading role in tree plantings as well.
Gigantic Riga hangars built to host German airship factories in the early 1900s are now home to 3,000 trade stalls. Today, it's the most significant market bazaar in Europe.
As for fashion models, Latvia is supposed to have the most, and the ladies of Latvia are reputed to be the tallest in the world.
A museum in Latvia is devoted to Hieronymus Karl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen, the most terrific liar in history. That's right; you read that correctly. He was well-known for making up stories about his trip on the moon and his heroics in the Russo-Turkish War. A museum honoring the nation's hero is now bringing in big bucks for the country. In 2005, Latvia also released a commemorative coin in honor of the 285th birthday of this historical figure.
During the beginning of the 13th century, the Germans reigned over a substantial portion of Latvia. For your information, the country was ruled by foreigners from the 13th century to the 20th century.
The four rivers that flow through Latvia and into the Baltic Sea are the Gauja, the Daugava, the Lielupe, and the Venta. The Baltic Sea gets 29 rivers from eight European nations, of which Latvia is one. On the other hand, the Baltic Sea does not store this water; instead, it discharges it into the Atlantic Ocean.
To date, only one Latvian has won the Nobel Prize: Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald. In recognition of his contributions to catalysis, chemical equilibrium, and reaction velocities, the scientist was awarded the coveted Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909.
In addition, as a byproduct of sugar manufacturing, Latvia was the first to generate citric acid from molasses. Until recently, lemons were used to make the acid, and Italy held the global monopoly on its manufacture.
It's worth noting that Latvia is home to more than 12,000 different rivers. Only 17 of these rivers, however, are more than 100 kilometres long. That's intriguing!
Latvia is the largest country in the region.
Forests cover more than a third of Latvia's land area. Timber and wood products account for most exports because of the country's forest cover.
And a few thousand years ago, woods covered 90 per cent of Latvia.
Wood from Latvia is illegally sold to other European nations because of the high price given by European Timber purchasers.
The Soviet and German occupation of Latvia resulted in a considerable number of the country's Jewish inhabitants during World War II. According to legend, the Nazis were to blame for most of these fatalities.
After that, the Russians took over and governed the nation till 1918. In 1994, the Russian military pulled out of Latvia.
In case you didn't know, Estonia and Lithuania are major electrical suppliers to Latvia.
Energy drinks containing caffeine or other stimulants are no longer sold in Latvia to anybody under 18.
For generations, Latvia's primary industry was agriculture.
It is estimated that Latvians use 2.72 times as much energy as the Vietnamese.
In honour of the Letts, Latvia is frequently referred to as Lettland.
As the Baltic State' capital city, Riga is home to the country's most populous city.
The "Minox" spy camera, invented in the nation, was also a gift to the globe. Between 1937 and 1943, the Latvian firm VEF produced it.
More than 250,000 Latvians fled the Soviet Union during World War II.
Latvia is also a stopover point for migratory bird flights that fly across the Black Sea.
When released into the atmosphere, sulphur dioxide starts a chemical reaction that leads to acid rain, which is responsible for a substantial part of the country's forest loss.