December 7, 2023
interesting facts about Latvia

70 Interesting Fun Facts about Latvia: History, Culture, Travel

(Last Updated On: May 26, 2023)

There are a lot of interesting facts about Latvia. You will love to know that, Latvia is a nation in northeastern Europe that is sandwiched between the three Baltic republics. Latvia proclaimed independence on August 21, 1991, after being seized and annexed by the Soviet Union in June 1940. On September 6, the Soviet Union acknowledged its sovereignty, and it became a member of the United Nations shortly after. In 2004, Latvia became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as the European Union (EU). Riga is the country’s capital and largest city. We will share many more cool fun interesting facts about Latvia fun interesting facts for you, keep reading.

Kurzeme is a seaside area on Latvia’s west coast, about three hour’s drive from Riga. The shoreline was a closely guarded border during the Soviet period, and it was mainly blocked to development, leaving Latvia with miles of breathtaking natural beauty along the remote and mountainous coastline. The coastline region is dotted with a few coastal villages, the most notable of which is the 1.8-mile-long (3-kilometer-long) Liepja Seaside Park, a Blue Flag beach, and one of Latvia’s largest wooded parks.

The remote sands of Karosta, 20 minutes along the coast, provide more than natural delights. Along the Baltic Coast, the Northern Forts are a collection of abandoned bunkers. Much of the facility, which was formerly part of the Naval Port’s fortifications, was judged obsolete and dismantled by Tsar Nicholas II in 1908. Despite attempts to blow them up, the bunkers stood firm. Exploring the remains, it’s paradoxical that, 100 years later, as the bunkers crumble and tumble into the sea like icebergs calving, they’re piquing the curiosity of visitors to Latvia.

The Jurkalne Bluffs, a series of rounded bluffs, are located 12.45 miles (20 kilometers) up the coast from the picturesque fishing community of Pvilosta. Jurkalne (which translates to “Sea Mountain”) boasts the country’s steepest shoreline, making it one of the most picturesque beaches on the Latvian coast. The bluffs rise up to 65.6 feet in spots (20m). Because of the strong winds and towering dunes, the little hamlet of Jurkalne draws paragliders and kite surfers, yet the long stretch of beach is typically deserted.

While pelkie ziri (big grey peas akin to chickpeas, cooked then fried with fatty smoked bacon) stands out, it is Latvia’s love affair with exquisite rupjmaize (dark rye bread) and what they do with it that attracts each visitor. Try kvass, a refreshing traditional Latvian drink made with rye bread and comparable to beer. Although it is considered nonalcoholic, it does contain a small amount of alcohol, up to 1%. Maizes zupa, or rye bread soup, is a thick, chilly soup cooked with sweetened dark rye bread, water, dried fruits, and cream. This article will feature many more interesting facts about Latvia like this, keep reading.

Decorating the Christmas tree, the most well-known of Christmas traditions has its beginnings in Riga, Latvia. From 1334 through 1939, Riga was home to the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a German trading organization. The records of the Blackhead’s Brotherhood Fraternity contain extensive information about the 1510th winter custom. They say the tree was adorned with ribbon bouquets, dried flowers, straw figurines, weaving, and fruits.

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Two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania linked their hands in protest against the illegitimate Soviet occupation on August 23, 1989. Approximately two million individuals created a 600-kilometer human chain that connected the capitals of all three countries. It connected and unified individuals from the Baltic states in their fight for independence, assisting in the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a whole. This once-in-a-lifetime event has been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

The historic center of Riga is noted for its Art Nouveau architecture, and the lesser-known Struve Geodetic Arc, which Estonia shares with Belarus, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine, are both Unesco World Heritage sites. It is a series of survey triangulations that stretches from Hammerfest, Norway, to the Black Sea and resulted in the first accurate meridian measurement.

The BBC’s current rendition of War and Peace was shot mostly in Latvia and Lithuania. One of the most noteworthy locales was the Rundle Palace. For Telegraph Travel, John Gimlette commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a stunning structure: a big, saffron-yellow Versailles.” “Its construction, which began in 1730, employed 1,000 artisans and 433 wagon-loads of supplies every day” (including three million bricks, 15,000 planks, and 36,000 saplings). The true Napoleonic army arrived eighty-two years later, and the names of the French troops are still gouged into the plaster of the Gold Hall.” Let’s find below some cool interesting facts about Latvia!

Interesting facts about Latvia

Here are some very interesting facts about Latvia!

1. Latvians are not Slavs; Slavic is an adjective for Slavs (an ethnic group). Nordic, on the other hand, is a geographical term. The Baltics aren’t commonly thought of as Nordic, yet they are in the widest sense.

2. Latvia used to be known as ‘Lettland,’ and Latvians were known as ‘Letts.’ This is due to the fact that the indigenous were Letts until the 13th century when the Livonian Brothers of the Sword (German knights with a legitimate title) arrived and took over.

3. A Latvian Russian is one out of every four people in the country. The large cities of Riga, Daugavpils, and Rzekne are home to the majority of Latvian Russians. The Russian language is the most frequently spoken and understood minority language in the nation.

4. Riga is the capital of Latvia. Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. It is located 9 miles (15 kilometers) above the mouth of the Daugava (Western Dvina) River on the Gulf of Riga.

5. Beyond the international airport, Latvia is surprisingly well-linked, with contemporary, fast, and cost-effective transportation alternatives. Lux Express also offers low-cost bus services from Riga to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk, and Warsaw in Russia (Poland). Overnight ships with roomy sleeping cabins from Riga to Stockholm every day – a great way to get to Stockholm or return as a side trip from Latvia.

6. Riga, Latvia’s capital and frequently referred to as the “Paris of the North,” is home to about one-third of the country’s two million citizens, which is one of the cool interesting facts about Latvia.

7. In the Second World War, an estimated 12.5% of Latvia’s population was murdered, the greatest proportion of any European country save Poland and Lithuania. Between 1945 and 1952, up to 190,000 people were imprisoned in Soviet gulags.

8. With 330 kilometers of sandy beaches, it’s a good pick for an unconventional beach vacation provided you don’t mind the frigid water. Jurmala, just west of Riga, was a favorite summer vacation spot for Brezhnev and Khrushchev. In the height of summer, temperatures can reach 20°C, necessitating the use of sunscreen.

9. Latvian internet speeds are among the world’s fastest, averaging 13.8MB/s, compared to 11.6MB/s in the United Kingdom, 11.9MB/s in the United States, 7.5MB/s in France, 3.4MB/s in Brazil, and 1.7MB/s in Egypt.

10. In comparison to Western Europe, Latvia is a far more affordable place to live. It’s a great place to live for ex-pats who wish to enjoy high living standards yet are on a budget. When it comes to dining out, you have a lot of choices. Restaurants in Riga, for example, offer set dinners for only €8.

11. The Latvian flag has three horizontal stripes: a chestnut-colored stripe at the top, a white stripe in the middle, and another chestnut-colored stripe at the bottom. The white stripe on the flag is a symbol of peace as well as freedom.

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12. Crime and scams aimed at tourists are common in Latvia, so here’s what you need to know to keep safe. Whether you’re a single lady, traveling with friends, a family, or a couple, Latvia is a very safe nation to visit.

13. Jrmala, a coastal town 30 minutes from Riga, is known for its stunning beaches and a unique architectural combination of 19th-century wooden cottages and significant Soviet-era buildings including Dubulti Station and the concrete monolith known as the emeri Sanatorium.

14. Latvia is not a hilly country. Gaizikalns, at 312 meters above sea level, is the highest peak. They erected a tower on top of Suur Munamagi, Estonia’s highest peak at 318 meters, in order to exceed it. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, it was destroyed in 2012.

15. Within its eastern European boundaries, this small but significant Baltic state crams Art Nouveau buildings, UNESCO World Heritage sites, natural landscapes, and sticky black balsam.

16. In Latvia, Christian holidays are the ones with the greatest traditions and are the ones that are most avidly commemorated. Christmas is the apex of the year (December 24th-26th). The most well-known Christmas custom is the decoration of Christmas trees in town centers and people’s houses.

17. Latvia’s de facto national summer sport (ice hockey in the winter) is basketball. Ujana Semjonova, a 6-foot-11-inch former basketball player who led TTT Riga to 12 straight European titles between 1964 and 1975, is a notable Latvian. She was the first woman from outside the United States to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.

18. Around 20% of Latvia is under protection. Four national parks, 42 nature parks, 260 nature reserves, 355 environment monuments, seven protected marine areas, 24 micro reserves, and a biosphere reserve are among the country’s natural wonders. In 2012, it came out on top of the Environmental Performance Index.

19. Latvia’s low birthrates, like those in most of former Soviet Eastern Europe, have been compounded by a decades-long migration of young people in search of better-paying professions in the West and a reluctance to welcome immigrants from outside Europe.

20. Latvia’s coastline stretches for more than 500 kilometers and has some of Europe’s most gorgeous, if not strange, beaches. The Baltic shore is lined with quiet white sand beaches and eerily gorgeous pine trees.

21. Introversion is a personality type that is often overstimulated and loves alone, calm, and introspection. Latvians are sometimes self-deprecating about their culture’s inclination towards introversion. There are several examples, ranging from the Zolitde (Solitude) neighborhood in Riga to various engrained practices like avoiding smiling at strangers.

22. Its largest airline is a trailblazer. airBaltic, which was created in 1995 and is based in Riga, flies to 68 destinations. It came up with an innovative idea in 2013: guests could build their own in-flight meal while booking their tickets.

23. Rupjmaize, a type of rye bread, and prdzii, a type of bun stuffed with bacon and onion, are two more popular meals, which is one of the jaw-dropping interesting facts about Latvia.

24. Crocodile Dundee was a Latvian by birth. Crocodile Dundee may have been inspired by Arvds Blmentls, according to certain accounts (or Crocodile Harry). He migrated to Australia in 1951 after being born in Dundaga and spent years hunting crocs in Queensland.

25. Around half of Latvia is wilderness, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries. Latvia is a fantastic hiking and camping location, with 330 miles (530 kilometers) of woodlands abutting the Baltic shore.

26. It is acknowledged by UNESCO as a world-class cultural phenomenon, with over 40,000 participants, and choir singers and conductors are superstars in Latvia. Latvia also possesses one of the world’s greatest collections of traditional folk tunes, with over 300,000 songs.

27. The nation is littered with designated campgrounds, but unlike many other countries, wild camping is still permitted in Latvia, making getting back to nature even more of an experience.

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28. While coastline hiking is one of the finest things to do in Latvia, the Terrific Kameri Bog in the Kameri National Park is a great day excursion from Riga. Bogs are one of Latvia’s most valuable natural resources, and many of them are EU-protected areas.

29. Latvia’s cuisine scene is affected by surrounding nations such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, and, of course, Latvia’s Baltic sisters – Lithuania and Estonia, which are located at the crossroads of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

30. Ethnic Latvians of younger generations frequently speak English significantly better than Russian (and would switch to English when communicating with foreigners). In tourism materials, English is very often used. Anyone intending to work in the tourism business must be able to communicate in English.

31. The Latvian gastronomy is heavy on meat dishes, as well as smoked and pickled fish and pelmeni (a tortellini-style meat dumpling). Seasonal harvests such as wild mushrooms, berries, sorrel, and nettle contribute unique styles and tastes.

32. Pelkie ziri ar spei is Latvia’s national dish. Local grey peas (similar to chickpeas), sauteed onions, and sliced specks are used to make this stew, which is one of the fun interesting facts about Latvia.

33. Latvian is one of Europe’s most archaic/oldest languages, retaining several traits of the nearly 5,000-year-old Proto-Indo-European, which is the ancestor of all European languages. Many terms in Latvian and Sanskrit are very similar (the sacred language of Hinduism and Buddhism).

34. Jacob W. Davis, a tailor, was born Jkobs Jufess in Riga and immigrated to the United States as a young man in 1854. In 1870, he was asked by a client to construct a sturdy pair of pants for her woodcutter husband; his design would go on to become the model for contemporary denim jeans, which he copyrighted two years later with the aid of Levi Strauss.

35. In 1949, Aleksandrs Laime, a Riga native, became the first human to reach Venezuela’s, Angel Falls. If you feel like visiting the country, don’t hesitate to book your lodging with cozycozy, where you can compare all types of accommodation and prices!

36. The bulk of the Russian national group in Latvia today is the consequence of a large population flow from other USSR republics, mostly from Russia. Russians primarily settled in cities rather than in the countryside. Larger cities, such as Riga and Daugavpils, were frequently chosen.

37. Approximately two-thirds of Latvians have light hair and grey, blue, or greenish eyes, with the remainder having darker skin and brownish hair and eyes. (Only a few Latvians have black hair.)

Fun facts about Latvia

38. It has a national bird that can shake a tail feather. The white wagtail is Latvia’s national bird, so named because it wriggles its behind practically continuously, which is one of the thrilling interesting facts about Latvia.

39. The creation of the world’s first small picture camera, the VEF Minox, began in 1937 at the State Electrotechnical Plant (Latvian – Valsts Elektrotehnisk Fabrika (VEF)). VEF Minox’s shooting capability and size make it appealing to a variety of secret agencies, and this fact has earned it the unofficial moniker of “spy camera.”

40. Latvians traverse the high moss marsh through a scene of peat moss, aromatic wild rosemary, pines, and little lakes on The Great Kameri Boardwalk, which is less than an hour’s drive from Riga.

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41. The wooden boardwalk is divided into two sections. The shorter arc is 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers) long, while the greater arc is 2.2 miles (3.7 kilometers) long and includes an observation platform with spectacular views of the bog from above.

42. Name days are similar to birthdays in Latvia and many other European countries, but they are better. Name days, unlike birthdays, are national holidays noted by national calendars, radio stations, and news sources, days when people are honored only for answering to certain names.

43. The Great Kemeri Bog, one of Latvia’s most beautiful landscapes, is a popular dawn and sunset site for photographers all year. Also, in retrospect, we wish we had known more about Latvia.

44. From a cultural standpoint, Ludza, the country’s oldest town, is intriguing. Ludza is home to the ruins of the once-great Ludza Castle, which has been mentioned in historical records dating back to the 10th century. This served as the Livonian Order’s far eastern outpost.

45. Typically, a Latvian Christmas meal consists of 12 distinct courses. Roasted pork, carp, boiled or roasted potatoes, grey peas, stewed sauerkraut, pig snout, gingerbread, and sweet roots are some of the most traditional Christmas foods in Latvia.

46. The old military jail at Karosta has been converted into a guesthouse. The “whole prisoner experience” includes uniformed officers, less-than-luxurious quarters, verbal abuse, and organized physical activity. 

47. In the relatively tiny Republic of Latvia, there are already 76 towns and cities. Throughout the years, Latvian towns have undergone a variety of transformations, which is one of the surprising and interesting facts about Latvia.

48. Latvians (Latvian: Latvia) are a Baltic ethnic group and country native to Latvia and the surrounding Baltic area. They’re also called Letts on occasion, notably in older bibliographies. Latvians speak the same language, have the same culture, and have the same history.

49. While Latvians are not outwardly extroverted, they are quite friendly. Almost every Latvian can communicate fluently in three languages. Russian and English, in addition to their native tongue, are commonly spoken, even in the most distant locations. If you want assistance, please inquire!

50. The standard Latvian alphabet now consists of 33 letters. The contemporary standard Latvian alphabet consists of 22 Latin letters that have not been changed. Q, W, X, and Y are missing from the Latvian alphabet.

51. Europe’s Largest Waterfall Raami Vacation.jpg The waterfall at Kuldiga is 249 meters wide (Latvia). In the spring and autumn, spawning fish try to get over the waterfall by jumping into the air, which is an exciting occurrence to see.

52. Per capita, Latvia produces more female models than nearly any other country on the planet. Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Denmark are the only countries that rate higher.

53. In the 17th century, Latvia, or the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia, created two colonies: small St. Andrews Island (now Kunta Kinteh Island) in the Gambia River’s estuary, and Tobago in the Caribbean.

Latvia facts

54. As a result of legal reforms, carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages in public will no longer be prohibited in various Latvian cities as of January 1, 2020, which is one of the amazing and interesting facts about Latvia.

55. Singing Lgo songs, harvesting various herbs, building wreaths, bonfires, eating cheese, and drinking beer is among the most popular Lgo rituals. The plants picked on Midsummer Day, according to the ancient Latvians, would defeat bad spirits and provide blessing and health to the people.

56. Latvia is the European Union’s third poorest country. Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Latvia is the third poorest and most disadvantaged country in terms of anti-poverty strategy, with a major expansion in the gap between the affluent and the poor in recent years.

57. Around 54% of Latvia is covered in forest, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries, while 10% is bogland (so pack your wellies). Binoculars are also recommended because it is home to black storks, lesser spotted eagles, otters, beaver, lynx, and wolves, as well as large numbers of deer, wild boar, elk, and red fox.

58. Latvian, sometimes known as Lettish, is an Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic area that belongs to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is the Latvian language, as well as the official language of Latvia and one of the European Union’s official languages.

59. You Should Try These Traditional Latvian Dishes: Grey peas with bacon, rye bread, smoked salmon, cabbage soup, potato pancakes, Latvian meatballs, rye bread soup, Pelmeni, and more dishes

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60. Riga Black Balsam (Latvian: Rgas Melnais balzams) is a traditional Latvian balsam that is frequently regarded as the country’s national drink, which is one of the cool interesting facts about Latvia.

61. Mra is Latvian mythology’s highest-ranking goddess, Mother Earth, and a feminine counterpart to Dievs. She has the ability to take spirits after they have died. She may be thought of as Dievs’ polar opposite (like in Yin and Yang). Her helpers or other manifestations are other Latvian deities, perhaps all of them.

62. It boasts one of the oldest flags in the world. The present Latvian flag has been in use since 1280. Only Denmark has a long history.

63. Riga, Daugavpils, and Liepaja are the biggest of the 15 cities with populations over 10,000. Durbe, Subate, and Pvilosta are the smallest Latvian towns.

64. The Latvians are a people to admire. Latvian women are among the world’s tallest, with the typical woman standing at 170 cm. The guys, who are in the fourth position, are no midgets either.

65. Latvian signs endow the world around us with personality and purpose, protecting us, balancing energies, and fostering wealth, fertility, and good fortune via seasonal synchronization. While all signals have a fundamental meaning, many of them have features of importance that are similar.

66. Riga even has a Beer Spa, where you can “immerse yourself in a warm beer bath… while simultaneously satisfying thirst with a glass of chilled beer… which will open not just pores, but will also provide a completely new perspective on life.” Please add us to the list.

67. Black Balsam is a traditional liqueur created in oak barrels with 24 different plants, flowers, buds, liquids, roots, oils, and berries. It’s thought to be a wonderful cold medicine, and history has it that Catherine the Great was sick while visiting Latvia and was cured after drinking it.

68. Latvia boasts 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes, making it ideal for boating enthusiasts.

69. In many parts of the world, including Latvia, eggs are a common breakfast item. Many people serve their eggs sunny side up, scrambled, hard or soft-boiled, with vegetables or meat, such as bacon. Fewer individuals choose store-bought breakfasts such as salads and sausages.

70. In Kuldga, the Venta Rapid is Europe’s largest waterfall, reaching up to 270 meters depending on the season. It’s not quite as impressive as it sounds, considering it’s only a few meters tall.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed these interesting facts about Latvia.


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