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Riga, Capital of Latvia

Riga, the capital of Latvia, is not only the crown jewel of Latvia, but also of the Baltics. Riga’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riga has more than 600 000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in the Baltic States.

 

Riga is also known as an architectural jewel – a city where you can see churches from the city’s origins, medieval buildings in the Old Town, unique examples of Art Nouveau, as well as wooden architecture that has survived the centuries and modern architectural jewels. Riga has a vibrant cultural life. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet brings together world-class artists. The most prominent cultural offers include the magnificent Opera House, diverse music halls and independent cinemas. If you are a culture lover, then visit a theatre play, opera or ballet!

 

Family friendly

 

Don’t forget to bring your family and kids along for the world’s greatest Kids’ running festival in Riga! About 15 000 little ones from around the globe will earn their medals for timed 60 to 400 meter races to find out the World Queen and King of the Road titles in every possible age group.

 

Facts and figures

 

Although a rather small country (almost 2 million inhabitants) Latvia has welcoming people, gorgeous nature and Summer solstice festivities. 

 

We are not only proud of having the widest waterfall in Europe or being the world leader in internet speed, but also for our 50 shades of potato dishes and four extremely diverse seasons. Check out these amazing facts and get to know Latvia!

 

Riga is the capital of the Republic of Latvia and the largest city in the Baltics.

 

City charter granted: 1201

Area: 304 sq. km

Population (2021): 614 618

Official language: Latvian

National currency: Euro (since January 2014), Information on the current exchange rate can be found at www.bank.lv

Currency exchange: It is possible to pay by credit card almost everywhere, but cash may sometimes be required for smaller purchases at markets. Currency exchange is available at banks and official exchange points.

Time zone: GMT + 2

Weather: Riga has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons. The warmest months are July and August with temperatures reaching up to +25 / +30°C. The coldest months are December and January with temperatures reaching as low as -4 / -15°C.

International dialing code: +371

Political system: Republic; parliamentary democracy

Member of the EU and NATO since 2004.

 

Other interesting facts about Riga and Latvia:

 

Latvia's passion for athletics runs deep, with a rich history in various sports, particularly in running. From its early days of participating in international competitions to hosting its own, Latvia's love for the sport continues to grow. One significant milestone in Latvia's running history was its debut in the marathon distance at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games, paving the way for future generations of talented runners.

 

One of the last corners of Europe to join Christendom, Latvians are still very much pagans at heart. They worship nature by jumping over bonfires at Midsummer Eve, and many surnames are about birds, animals or trees.

 

Ventas Rumba in Kuldīga is the widest waterfall in Europe, and in spring you can see fish jumping up the rapids as they head for spawning sites.

 

Latvia is Wifi paradise and with over 800 free connection points in Riga, you don’t even need to pay for it.
 

The national language and some must-know phrases!

 

Latvian is the state language in Latvia. It is a Baltic language, a member of the Indo-European family of languages. Latvian is considered to be one of the oldest European languages. It is not a Slavic or Germanic language.  Only Lithuanian is similar to it.

 

Latvia’s residents are increasingly learning foreign languages, as well – English, German, French, etc.

 

Here are a few words and phrases in Latvian:

 

Hi, hello – Sveiki (svayky)

Good-bye – Uz redzêšanos (uz re´-dzee-sha-nos)

Yes – Jâ (yaah)

No – Nê (nee)

Thank you – Paldies (Puhl-dies´, the “ie” pronounced as in “weird”)

Please – Lûdzu (Loo´-dzu)

Sorry – Atvainojiet (Ah´-tvay-no-yiet, the “o” pronounced as in “logo”)

 

Learn more about Riga and Latvia at liveriga.com and latvia.travel!