Latvia is a Baltic country located in the western part of the East European Plain. The area of Latvia is 64,589 square kilometers. The length of the borders of Latvia is 1,382 kilometers. See Latvia abbreviations.
In the north, Latvia borders on Estonia, and in the south, the borders of Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Latvia and Russia, Latvia and Belarus, adjoin. In the western part of Latvia has access to the Baltic Sea. The coastline stretches for 498 kilometers. In the north of the country there is the Kurzeme peninsula with cape Kolkasrags. The Moonsund Islands, which separate the Gulf of Riga from the Baltic Sea, belong to Estonia.
Latvia owns 12 nautical miles of territorial waters, as well as the continental shelf. The landscape of Latvia is mostly represented by plains and small hills, the height of which ranges from 100 to 200 meters above sea level. Along the Baltic coast there is a long lowland, the width of which in different places ranges from 2 to 50 kilometers.
In the western part of Latvia there is the Kurzeme Upland, the height of which reaches 184 meters above sea level. The Venta River divides the Kurzeme Upland into two parts: East Kurzeme and West Kurzeme. Lowlands and slightly pronounced uplands in Latvia merge into each other in the eastern part, where the Central Latvian lowland, rising, becomes the Vidzeme upland with the peak of Gaiziņkalns. The height of this mountain is only about 312 meters, but Gaizinkalns is nevertheless the highest point in Latvia.
In the northeast direction there is the North Latvian lowland, which in its southern part passes into the East Latvian lowland. The East Latvian lowland with a swampy central part (Luban lowland) separates two uplands: Latgale and Vidzeme. The Latgalian highlands are founded by such hills as Lielais Liepukalns (its height is about 289 meters) and Dzierkalu kalns (its height is 286 meters).
The most significant river in Latvia is the Daugava (Western Dvina), and the total number of Latvian rivers reaches 700. Other major rivers in Latvia are the Venta, Lielupe and Gauja.
There are 5 nature reserves in the country, more than 90 parks (they include 2 arboretums: Skriversky and Kazdangsky), as well as 3 national natural parks: Slitere, Razna and Gauja.
According to 800zipcodes, the climate of Latvia, maritime in the coastal areas and continental in the central part of the country, is characterized by a fairly high annual rainfall (from 500 to 800 millimeters).
The number of sunny days during the year is not so great: from 30 to 40 days. The month in which there is usually the least precipitation, and the number of sunny days reaches an annual maximum is May. Winds in Latvia are dominated by south-western.
The summer months in Latvia are quite cool, the average air temperature from June to August is about +18 °C. However, winters here are mild, in the coldest month of the year – January, the air temperature usually stays at -5 ° C. Natural anomalies, when severe frosts or severe heat occur in Latvia, occur extremely rarely.
Capital of Latvia: Riga.
Large cities: Daugavpils, Liepaja, Cesis, Sigulda.
Cuisine of Latvia
Latvian cuisine is not characterized by sophistication and a wide variety of products included in the dishes. But all the dishes prepared by the local chefs are always plentiful and tasty. The cuisine of Latvia has been influenced by the culinary traditions of the peoples of the Baltics, Poland, Germany, Belarus and numerous Scandinavian countries.
As in any seaside country, fish and seafood are the favorite staples of Latvian cuisine. However, the local chefs also do not forget about the meat, preparing it with special skill. The presence of several types of meat in dishes at once, as well as the predominance of natural meat over minced meat, is characteristic.
Potatoes are a side dish for almost any dish, a rare Latvian dinner will do without this vegetable. Dishes such as baked potatoes with cheese, potato salad, potato chops, etc. are popular. Side dishes and independent dishes from legumes, cabbage, beets, pumpkins and other vegetables are also widespread. No wonder almost any lunch in Latvia opens with a vegetable salad.
In addition, flour and various types of cereals (with a predominance of pearl barley) take part in many Latvian national dishes. Do not forget about widespread dairy products: yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. Among the seasonings, it is worth highlighting the widely used cumin.
Noteworthy are such Latvian dishes as Baltic salmon, extremely tasty in any type of cooking, herring casserole with boiled potatoes, cod liver, which they know how to cook here in countless ways. Smelt, eel, herring and herring are good, as well as smoked flounder, eggs with minced fish and pike caviar.
The meat menu in most restaurants is represented by an impressive size clopps steak, poured onion sauce, chicken meat soup, baked pork knuckle, baked pies with bacon, corned beef and more. Pig’s head cheese, tender lamb in cumin sauce, pork ribs are original and popular.
And this is not counting hundreds of varieties of sausages, sausages, bacon, pates, etc. A dish common both in Latvia and abroad is “Peasant Breakfast”, prepared from smoked loin, homemade sausage and boiled potatoes. All this is covered with a mixture of eggs and milk and baked.
Unlike residents of most Western European countries, Latvians are very supportive of soups – meat, fish and vegetable. Spinach and sorrel soup, cabbage soup, vegetable, as well as fruit and berry puree soups are popular. The national dish is Aukshta Zupa beetroot soup served cold.
Latvia does not have a very favorable climate for growing fruits, but there is an abundance of berries: strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries – all this is actively used in dessert cooking. So, famous cake “Alexander”, prepared from layers of pastry, with cream and fresh raspberries and cranberries. In addition, those with a sweet tooth will be able to enjoy sweet cherry soup with dumplings, a variety of pies with sweet fillings, rye bread puffs, cakes and fine buns, muffins and other bakery products.
Tourists should be prepared for the presence of dishes on the menu, the composition of which may seem very strange. Thus, local chefs prepare beer soup with the addition of dried fruits, Buberte semolina porridge with whipped protein, and also cook jelly from black bread with cranberries and honey and rhubarb with whipped cream.
The alcoholic products of Latvia are also quite original. The famous “Riga Black Balm” enjoys worldwide popularity, since 1755 it has been a kind of visiting card of the country. You can also taste many types of vodka and liquor, all of consistently high quality. Kimenu Degvins cumin vodka, tomato vodka and a variety of herbal spirits are original.
The local population consumes Latvian beer with pleasure, as a rule, preferring it to well-known European varieties sold nearby. It is possible to single out such types of light beer as Aldaris Zelta, Aldaris Luxusa and Bauskas Gaisais, as well as dark ones – Bauskas Tumsais and Porteris.
Among non-alcoholic drinks, bread kvass is notable (the best variety is “Rigas kvass” ).