Latvia

Riga has a wonderful downtown vibe; imposing St. Peter’s church in the central square

Country Information:

Latvia, founded in 1918, the capital is Riga and the country’s population is about 2.1 million. The official language is Latvian and the dominant religion is Lutheranism, followed by Catholicism and Russian Orthodox. The time zone is 6 hours ahead of EST.

Jim’s Perspectives:

Took a trip organized by MIR Travel which started out in Moldova, then to Ukraine, on to Belarus, Lithuania, and ended in Latvia.

Latvia cannot be visited without exploring Riga, known for its art and culture. The city is filled with cafés, bars, and restaurants serving delicious food, as well as local market produce for travelers who want to see local food options. The architecture is stunning, with Gothic cathedrals and old historic buildings in vibrant colors.

A must-see is the Latvian National Opera House in Riga or the Rundale Palace and Museum, nicknamed the “Baltic Versailles” for its superb decorations and treasures within the palace, as well as a surrounding rose garden.

A fun fact is that the Latvian flag is one of the oldest in the world. Legend says that the flag was created when a Latvian chief was wrapped in a white sheet after being wounded in a battle. His blood stained the sides of the sheet, while the central stripe remained white.

 

Bustling streets and restaurants in downtown Riga, 2015

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