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Home> Destinations> Europe> Riga> Overview

Welcome to Riga

Updated: 2015-03-10 / (liveriga.com)





City Introduction

Riga (Riga cathedral and St. Peter's Church) is not only the capital and the economic and cultural center of Latvia, but also the large seaport and fishing harbor in Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea.





History and Culture

The rise of Riga City benefited from its geographic advantages. Near Gulf of Riga, Riga is the center of the Baltic States, and is also the natural good harbor. The name of “Riga” is originated from the ancient Riga River that once flowed through here but now disappeared. However, Riga City is currently adjacent to River Daugava, River Lielupe and City Canal, and Lake Kisezers.

The earliest inhabitants in Riga were the Liv people. Then due to its geographic position, Riga has the significance in strategy and trade. It was owned by Poland, Sweden, and Germany one after another, and finally became the capital of Latvia since the independence of Latvia.





Natural Environment

As the capital of Latvia, Riga is situated in the central position of the Baltic States, and is adjacent to Gulf of Riga, with the downtown area spanning both sides of River Daugava, and 15 km from the Baltic Sea on the south. Riga enjoys very important geographic position, because it is situated on the intersection place of West and East Europe, Russia and Scandinavia Peninsula. Its port has great strategic significance and is honoured as “beating heart of the Baltic Sea”. Since Riga is close to the rivers and lake, it has the name of three rivers and one lake. The three rivers refer to River Daugava, River Lielupe and City Canal, and the one lake refers to Lake Kisezers. The area of Riga is 307 square kilometers.





Climate Change

Average temperature in January and July are respectively -4.9°C and 16.9°C. With the population over 740,000, it accounts for one third of the population in the whole country. This port has the northern temperate continental climate. Annual average temperature is 30°C, and lowest temperature is about -26°C. The coastal frost period is from December to the next April, and the navigation shall start with the ice breaker. Annual average precipitation is about 700 mm. Average height of estuary water level is 0.9-1.8 m.





Useful Information

Special tips: In case of going into the Latvia forest zone in the summer, it is required to prevent forest encephalitis. This disease is the natural focal acute central nervous system infectious disease caused by forest encephalitis virus (RNA virus) via hard tick vector. Clinical characteristics include sudden high fever, awareness disorder, headache, hard neck, paralysis of upper limbs, neck and scapula muscles, and often with sequelae. The person going into the forest for the first time shall be inoculated with the vaccine for forest encephalitis. It is required to have the first injection 15-20 days before going into the forest, and the second injection 7-10 days later, totally two injections.





Visa Information

The documents required for applying for the Schengen visa: A complete Visa application table (Category C) filled out and signed by the applicant; one recent photo with white background; passport (the validity period shall be at least 3 months following the expiry date of the visa) and the passport copy, including the ID page and all used visa pages; related documents proving that the visa applicant receives the letter of invitation approved by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs of Latvia within six (6) months as from the date of application (the number of the aforementioned letter of invitation shall be valid); original copy of letter of introduction from the Chinese company (translated into English or the language of the country accepting the application) (indicating the address, tel./fax number, title and applicant salary, the working duration in the company, and the purpose of the intended business activity), attached with the signature and being affixed with the official seal; original and copy of the business license (duplicate) of the Chinese company, translated into English or the language of the country accepting the application; original + 1 copy of valid tourism health insurance policy (with the minimum insurance amount of 30,000 Euro, covering the whole travel process + 15 days, guaranteeing the undertaking of the emergency medical treatment fees, as well as the expenses incurred for the return of the visitor to the original permanent resident country due to medical reasons or the expenses incurred by death). Booking of return travel flights; lodging certification; household register-registered household residence (original and copy); ID card (original and copy); visa fee.





Currency Exchange

Local currency is Latvian Lats with stable currency value. Bank of Latvia and foreign currency exchange places refuse the folded, worn, faded or contaminated American dollars and other foreign currencies. Even there is a very small mark on the foreign currency, it will be refused. Only the USD issued after 1990 is accepted. In the airports, cities and tourist attractions, there are foreign exchange offices, available for the exchange of Euro and USD into the local currency.





Tourism Service Number

Emergency Number: 112 (01 for Police alarm, 02 for Fire alarm)

First Aid Tel: 113 (or 112-03)

Emergency Aid Number: 11

Lost and Found: 67086628

Traffic accident: 67377000






Latvia foods mainly include sea products, such as various fishes and seafoods. It is possible to taste extremely rich seafood dishes in Northern Europe, which however are fatty. The delicious foods in Latvia are also rich and delicious, but too fatty. Main delicious foods include cream-barley soup, milk fish soup, bacon onion pie and brown bread pudding. When appreciating these typical foods in Latvia, it is also required to match them with local beer. The Latvians like drinking beer, and there is pure European beer for tasting.


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