Latvia Country Profile Travel Guide Business Information

Latvia Country Profile Travel Guide Business Information

Latvia population Latvia religion Latvia history Latvia economy Latvia currency Latvia road travel & other national Latvia information

Related pages  Contact the Latvian Consulate / Riga Visitors Guide

Latvia Country Profile

Latvia Recent History

Latvia became an independent state in 1919. It was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 following a pact between the same and Nazi Germany. Many Latvians were deported to Siberia at this time. In 1941, Latvian Jews fell victim to Nazis persecution when the country was occupied by Germany for three years.

In 1944 as forces of the Soviet Union repelled the Gernam occupation, many Latvians fled to Germany (en route for the US). The Soviet occupation led to further deportations of Latvian nationals to Siberia. At the end of the war the Soviet Union established imposed a Communist government in Latvia.

The Soviet status was maintained for the next 40 years until Mikhail Gorbachev’s presidency in Russia in the late 80s enabled political reform groups and pro- independence groups to voice their opinions. In August 1991 as a consequence of the political sItuation in Moscow, Latvia declared its Independence. The first parliamentary elections were held in June 1993. For the History of Riga see the Euromost Riga Guide.

Population In Latvia The Capital of Latvia is Riga, home to 800,000 people out of a national population of 2.4m. The indigenious population are 58% Latvian, 29% Russian and 9% Belarussian. Religion In Latvia Religions followed are Lutheran, Catholicism and Russian Orthodox. The Latvian Language The official language is Latvian and Russian is widely spoken. Latvia Currency The union of cuurency is the Lat. Latvia Currency Regulations Visitors entering or leaving Latvia with cash in any currency which exceeds 10,000€, must declare it to customs officials.

Latvia – Economy Business

Since the early 1990s economic reform in Latvia has being undertaken in snatches. Many industries still remain under state control but the Latvian ecomomy which was closely aligned to the Russian economy is now more independent. Currently the country has an annual growth rate of around 8% with unemployment at a similiar level. It’s major industries are timber, textiles, oil food and shipping. Its major trading partners the EU (namely the UK & Germany) Russia and Sweden.

Latvia Tourism

Though the country is very picturesque with forests and in the south – eastern region many lakes, it has yet to realise it potential as a tourist destination. In recent years it has attracted the attention of low cost airlines which has increased tourism to Riga. Visitors will find this a interesting place to see but without the crowds of comparable destinations.

Latvia Drug Laws

In Latvia there is zero tolerance of drug taking. If you are found to be in possession of drugs however small the quantity and even if it is only for your own personal use you will be arrested and may be detained in custody until your trial. The time between arrest and trial may be several months.

Personal Id In Latvia

As you may be required to prove yoursidenity at anytime have a photo copy of your passport details. Where possible leave your passport and valuables in your hoteliers safe.

Medical Precautions Latvia

If you are going to forested areas take medical advice about innoculations against rabies & tick-borne encephalitis.

Emergency Medical Treatment Healthcare In Latvia Latvia ia has a good standard of health care and has a free emergency medical treatment agreement for UK nationals. More

Latvia Health Insurance

Entry to Latvia can be refused if you do not have health insurance. Visitors to Latvia who need a visa to enter the country will be asked to show proof of this insurance before a visa is granted.

Latvia Passport Validity

Your passport must be valid for three months from the date your enter Latvia and cover the entire length of your stay. Further information on entry regulations to Latvia can be found using the links on the euromost consulate page.

Travelling In Latvia In winter

The Latvian winter can be very severe with temperatures of – 20C or below. – see (see the Riga City Guide) Visitors should have clothes to cope with these temperatures which can occur between October & March.

Travelling In Latvia

Road Travel In Latvia Cautionary notes (3)

Motorists visiting Latvia be especially careful when driving as the standard of driving is poor and statistically the death rate on Latvian roads is four times higher than in the United Kingdom. If you are involved in an accident do not move the car under ant circumstances until you are instructed to do so by the police.

Anyone found drinking and driving in Latvia can be sent to prison or fined heavily.

You are advised to park your car in a secured car park or garage wherever possible as car theft and theft fom cars is a problem in Latvia. —–

Motorists taking their own vehicle or motorbike into Latvia must take with them the original vehicle registration documentation. Without this they will not be allowed to leave Latvia with their vehicle. Roads in towns and cities are generally fairly well maintained but in rural areas they are not more inferior. Drivers must drive with their headlights on day or night.

During the winter Latvia can suffer very severe weather conditions with extremely cold temperatures (see the Riga Travel Guide) and heavy snow. By law, winter tyres must be fitted to vehicles from December 1st until March 31st. However Estonia can suffer from winter weather in November and April and visitors travelling at these times are advised to fit the winter tyres at these times.

Motorists travelling in Latvia during the winter are advised to check the weather forecast and road conditions before setting out. They are also advised to carry mobile phones for use in an emergency along with supplies of food and warm drinks especially if going on a long journey.

The Former Secrets Of Karosta

220km west of Riga is the seaside towm of Liepja and 10km further north is Karosta. Both towns are famous for their white beaches and surfing popularity but the latter is well known locally for it history of being an out post of firstly imperialist Russia and then its communists successors. After the end of WW2 it became a key Soviet Naval base – supposedly a secret harbour for Russian submarines during the cold war which retained many examples of historic and very quaint Latvian & Russian architecture.

Im 1994 three years after Latvian when the Russians were expelled the population fell from 25,000 to 6,000. Since then much of the evidence of the Russian connection has been dismantled though the ruins of the naval base remain. There is an air of derelection here similiar to a town where a war has just been fought but it remains a very pretty town. Its almost spooky and bizaarely its twinned with Chernobyl. One to note and defintely a tale of two cities.

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