Latvia - Best Ethical Destination

ethicaltraveler.org has listed Latvia and Lithuania among The Worlds' 10 Best Ethical Destinations in 2013 and 2014, emphasizing such points as nearly all inland waters beeing pollution-free and beeing the most improved country on the Environmental Protection Index among others and also stating Latvia as a safe heaven to countless protected species, with virtually half of the country's nature beeing unspoiled.

 

Main Facts about Latvia

Geography: Latvia is located in the northern part of the east Europe. It is one of the three Baltic States, located in between Estonia and Lithuania. The country also has a border with Belarus and Russia. Latvia takes up an area that is slightly bigger than the one of Croatia, Slovakia or Estonia.


Seashore: In the western part Latvia borders the Baltic Sea, the length of the sea shore is 494km.
Population: 2,19 million (Latvian 59.3%, Russian 27.8%, Belarusian 3.6%, Ukrainian 2.5%, Polish 2.4%, Lithuanian 1.3%, other 3.1% (2009)).


Religion: Lutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)
Language: the official language of the country is Latvian. It is one of the two still surviving languages of the Baltic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latvia language is a mother-tongue to only about a half of the inhabitants of the country as another language widely spoken is Russian.


Capital: Riga (706,413 inhabitants (2010))
Other cities: Daugavpils (93 312), Liepaja (76 731), Jelgava (59 511), Jūrmala (50 840), Ventspils (38 750), Rezekne (32 328), Valmiera (25 130), Jekabpils (24 635).


Climate: Latvia is located in temperate climate zone and the weather conditions are influenced by the proximity of the Baltic Sea, hence the climate is mild and humid, without extreme weather fluctuations. However, the country has four clearly pronounced seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. The average temperature in winter is around -6°C, however, the weather conditions change throughout the winter and sometimes the temperature can fall all the way to -30°C. Summer is generally warm, the average temperature being +19°C, nevertheless, during the hottest month- July- the temperature can rise to 35°C.


Local time: GMT+2 hrs.


Currency: The Lat (Ls) consists of 100 centime. The Lats are pegged to euro with the central rate 1 euro = 0.702804 lats. Latvia is planning to join the euro zone in 2014.


State system: Latvia is a parliamentary democracy. The main principles of modern democracy and the country’s political and social system are sealed in the Constitution of 15 February 1922, which was restored to force by the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Latvia adopted by the Supreme Council 21 August 1991. The Latvian parliament, called Saeima consists of 100 seats. The head of the state is the presidents elected by the parliament for a four years term. The prime minister is appointed or dismissed by the president with the approval of the Saeima.


National flag: Latvian National Flag