10 Interesting facts about Latvia and the Latvian language

For people interested in visiting or curious to learn more about Latvia and the Latvian language, here’s a brief overview for help getting started.

  • 1. Over 2 million people live in Latvia, with land borders of Estonia to the north, Russia to the east, Belarus in the southeast, and Lithuania in the south.  Across the Baltic sea from Latvia includes Sweden to the west and Finland to the north.  Latvia gained its independence from Russia in 1991.
  • 2. The name Lativa, or Latvija, comes from the Baltic tribe of the Latgalians believed to have settled in the area in 500-600 AD.
  • 3. The language Latvian, or Lettish, is spoken by about 2 million people, mostly in Latvia, is a Baltic language and similar to Lithuanian.  The oldest examples of written Latvian were from 1530, a translation of a hymn from the city of Riga.
  • 4. The terrain is mostly lowlands and smaller hills, with the average elevation being less then 100 metres or 330 feet above sea level.  Much of landscape is forests, 56%, which is the 4th highest in the EU after Finland, Sweden and Slovenia.  There are four national parks to visit, including Gauja, Kemeri, Slitere and Razna.  Besides the national parks are 1 biosphere reserve, 42 nature parks, 9 areas of protected landscapes, 260 nature reserves, 4 strict nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, 7 protected marine areas and 24 microreserves.  All the protected areas add up to ~20% of the total land area and Latvia was ranked 1st worldwide in 2012 from an Environmental Performance Index.
  • 5. Within the many forests and nature reserves include a wide range of biodiversity, including 27,700 species of flora and fauna, animals such as deer, wild boar, moose, lynx, bear, fox, beaver and wolves.
  • 6. There are over 12,500 rivers going through Latvia, making it the largest spawning ground for salmon in the eastern Baltics.
  • 7. The currency used is the Lats, the exchange rate symbol is LVL.
  • 8. The famous Amber Road goes through Latvia.   Amber is fossilized tree resin, is a national cultural symbol and frequently sought by ancient civilizations such as the Vikings and others.
  • 9. The cuisine in Latvia is influenced by agricultural products, with meat being in most dishes along with potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbage (sautéed sauerkraut), onions, eggs, cheese and relatively few spices.  Fish from the sea and rivers, such as salmon, are also regularly featured in Latvian dishes.   Beverages include besides beer and vodka, are Kvass (a fermented beverage made from black or rye bread with less than 1.2% alcohol) as well as Riga Black Balsam, a bitter and sweet liqueur with 24 natural ingredients and vodka giving 45% alcohol, usually mixed with something else for a cocktail or even used as a topping on ice cream.
  • 10. There are about 1.5 million tourists or visitors that travel to Latvia and it’s been increasing about 15% per year since 2009.

Have your own networks with others in Latvia

If you regularly share content or work with people in Latvia, here are a few benefits you get from using an Odysen solution:

  • Use in your language, including Latvian, Russian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Swedish, Finnish and others.
  • Have separate networks for different groups, keeping content focused for each.  This could be having separate networks for different groups of friends, family members, organizations as well as using in professional environments, having separate networks for different clients or customers.
  • Organize content with easy to use folders, add sub-folders to expand and see integrated views in respective parent folders.
  • Within each folder you can add content to the applications, including actions, notes, events, photos, graphics, audio files, office files, videos, websites and blogs.
  • Get started and invite other users for free with the Basic plan.  This includes the ability to add networks, use the applications, and initial storage for your various files.

Learn more about having your own networks with others in Latvia, including using the applications, languages available, solution examples and relevant blog articles.

Published by


Founder and CEO of Odysen, involved with different writing and music freelancing activities, and have previously worked for larger technology businesses in the US, Europe and Asia.