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.
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”)