Story Book Lands – #6: LATVIA


“Every country is a story book land.”

Story Book Lands An initiative brought to life by our International Services Avenue in collaboration with our Blog Team as an extension of One SKY 1.0 – A mobile photography competition executed by the International Services Avenue. Story Book Lands will be a brief guide to the 8 countries represented by the 8 participating clubs in the competition.

Sveiki! (Hello! in Latvian)

Latvia is a country located in North-Eastern Europe, and its capital is known as Riga.

Official Language: Latvian / Lettish

Official Currency: Euro

With centuries of rich history, Latvia has been a multi-ethnic country with people who got distinctive qualities that make them stand among other nations. Latvians also known as Letts and Livonians are Baltic ethnic groups native to Latvia and the geographical region, the Baltics.

The main religion traditionally practiced in the country is Christianity. Due to strong historical links with the Nordic countries and Northern Germany, Lutheranism is the main Christian denomination among ethnic Latvians.

Latvia is about 64,589 km2 and lies along the shores of the Baltic sea and the Gulf of Riga. Its landscape is marked by beautiful wide beaches and sprawling forests giving the country snowy winters and mild summers. The country’s  hundreds of kilometers of seashore,  land covered by forests and the wide network of rivers has been a refuge for many rare species of plants and animals.

Famous For?

Riga is the largest city and well-known for its Art Nouveau-style buildings as well as its many wooden buildings. Riga’s historical centre has been included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s World Heritage List.

Latvia has the world’s tallest women, with the average lady coming in at an impressive 170 cm.

The country produces more female models per capita than almost any country. Also Latvian men are the 4th tallest in the world. TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s mother used to say, “If you need to get something down from a high shelf, call a Latvian.” 

Europe’s widest waterfall, Venta Rapid, or Ventas Rumba in Latvian, this famous waterfall is situated in Kuldiga in the western part of the country. It is about 249 meters wide and can swell up to 270 meters wide when it is spring flood season. Venta Rapid and the wooden path for walking and observation can be known as a significant tourist attraction.

From mystical forests to breathtaking lakes, Latvia is a wonderful country for people who enjoy spending time out in nature. The country has four national parks named Gauja National Park, Kemeri National Park, Razna National Park and Slitere National Park. Around 54 per cent of Latvia is forest, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries and these parks differ from each other with their unique characteristics.

Not many people know that it was a Latvian who invented blue jeans. A man named Jacob W. Davis (born Jacob Youphes) who was a Latvian-born American tailor, invented jeans by using sturdy cloth. Later, he partnered with Levi Strauss to mass produce them.

Latvian Culture

Choir traditions are very strong in Latvia. Alongside many professional choirs, thousands of Latvians are part of different nonprofessional choirs. This is why Latvia is called “The singing nation”. Once every five years the Latvian National Song and Dance Festival takes place with around 20,000 singers and folk-dance groups, taking part in it.

Folk songs are one of Latvia’s national treasures. Dating back over a thousand years, more than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified. The Latvian folk song (“daina”) is one of the unique features of Latvian culture.

Even though it’s not practiced as a religion, Latvian tradition lives on in folk songs, legends and festivals.

Latvian Cuisine Specialties

Communication Tips: A quick, firm handshake with direct eye contact is the traditional way of greeting. While speaking, using titles are very important and it implies respect. When being introduced to someone, it is common to state their first and surname with the honorific title “kungs” for a man and “kundze” for a woman. In Latvia, you should wait until invited to use their first name.

[smartslider3 slider=147]

Home to the widest waterfall in Europe, many of the tallest women on Earth, miles of beaches and a chunk of pristine nature, Latvia remains an unspoiled tourist destination a true Baltic Gem Oh! And Latvia’s internet speed are among the fastest in the world!

See you soon with another country!

Like / React to picture by the Rotaract Club of Riga, Latvia for One Sky 1.0 to make them the Winner!


Compiled By:

Tishani Ranawana

International Service Director – 2019/20
One Sky 1.0 – Co Chair

Samiddhi Wanigasekara

Membership Development Director – 2019/20
One Sky 1.0 – Co Chair

Aloka Weerawardane
( Co-Editor – 2019/20 )

Spread the love
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments