Welcome to Latvia
Latvia is situated in the North of Europe on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea. It has borders with Estonia, Lithuania, Russia and Belarus. Although Latvia is one of the smallest European countries with a population of about 2 million, it was always an aim for the foreign invaders. Due to its advantageous geographical location Latvia from the ancient times used to be a big center of trade and even a member of the Hanseatic League.
The capital of Latvia Riga is the ancient city with a rich history, which was founded in the year of 1201 by the German bishop Albert. Other big cities are Daugavpils, Jelgava as well as cities - ports Liepaja and Ventspils.
The official language in Latvia is Latvian, being together with Lithuanian a unique representative of the Baltic Language of the Indo-European language family. Another widely spoken language in Latvia is Russian, being a mother tongue for about 30 percent of inhabitants. English and German are the foreign languages that are learned at school.
Latvia has always been and also remains a center stage for global trade. The foreign trade principally changed its direction and started to increase after Latvia became a EU member. By the year of 2010 it highly expanded its exports to EU countries. The main industries and products are wood articles, chemical products, metal goods, machinery and electrical equipment.
Since Soviet times Latvia has attracted millions of tourists who were eager to taste the cocktail of European lifestyle, ancient history and beautiful seaside. After Latvia gained its independence it proposed to enjoy its hospitality also to European tourists as well as visitors from other countries.