Top Ten Latvian Attractions

Top Ten Latvian Attractions

       Latvia is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden. Latvia covers 64,589 square km (24,938 square mi) and it has a temperate seasonal climate. The Latvians are Baltic people culturally related to the Estonians and Lithuanians, with the Latvian language having many similarities with Lithuanian, but not with the Estonian language (a Finnic language). Today the Latvian and Lithuanian languages are the only surviving members of the Baltic languages of the Indo-European family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji, which, like the name of Lithuania, may have originated from the river named Latuva. The country is also the home of a large number of ethnic Russians of whom some are non-citizens. Latvia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is divided into 118 municipalities (109 counties and 9 cities). The capital and largest city is Riga. With a population of 2.22 million, Latvia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union, and its population has declined 15.1% since 1991. Following a period of being part of the Soviet Union after WWII, Latvia declared its independence in 1991. After years of economic stagnation in the early 1990’s, Latvia posted Europe-leading GDP growth figures during the 1998–2006 period. In the global financial crisis of 2008–2010 Latvia was the hardest hit of the European Union member states, with a GDP decline of 26.54% in that period. Its per capita GDP is 49% of the EU average in 2009, making it the 3rd poorest member-state.

  1. Riga

    Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, one of the major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centers of the Baltics, and an important seaport, situated on the mouth of the Daugava. With 702,891 inhabitants (2011) it is the largest city of the Baltic states. Riga’s historical center is particularly notable for its extensive Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture, which is considered to be unparalleled.
  2. Sabile

    Sabile is a town in Talsi municipality, Latvia. Sabile was first mentioned in chronicles in 1253. From the 14th century to the 16th century, it was a site of a castle of the Livonian Order and a village near the castle. Sabilė became a town in 1917. The Vīna kalns of Sabile used to be the most northern open-air vineyard in the world, registered in the Guinness Book of Records. The winemaking tradition in Sabile dates back to the 16th century. The Sabile Castle Mound, which was the center of the district from the 10th century to the 13th century, offers a beautiful panorama of downtown Sabile and the valley of the Abava River.
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  3. Struve Geodetic Arc
    Struve Geodetic ArcStruve Geodetic Arc1Struve Geodetic Arc2
    The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820 km, which yielded the first accurate measurement of a meridian. The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth. At that time, the chain passed merely through two countries: Union of Sweden-Norway and the Russian Empire. The Arc’s first point is located in Tartu Observatory, where Struve conducted much of his research. In 2005, the chain was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a memorable ensemble of the chain made up of 34 commemorative plaques or built obelisks out of the original 265, main station points which are marked by drilled holes in rocks, iron crosses, cairns, others. Measurement of the triangulation chain comprises 258 main triangles and 265 geodetic vertices. The northernmost point is located near Hammerfest in Norway and the southernmost point near the Black Sea in Ukraine.
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