ABOUT LATVIA

CITIES IN LATVIA

1. Daugavpils

Daugavpils is a city in southeastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. Daugavpils literally means "Daugava Castle". With a population of over 100,000, it is the second largest city in the country after the capital Riga, which is located some 230 kilometres (143 miles) to its north-west. Daugavpils has a favorable geographical position as it borders Belarus and Lithuania (distances of 33 km (21 mi) and 25 km (16 mi) respectively). It is located some 120 km (75 mi) from the Latvian border with Russia. Daugavpils is a major railway junction and industrial centre.The city is surrounded by many lakes and nature parks. It is also known for its overwhelmingly Russian-speaking population.

2. Jekabpils

Jekabpils is a city in southeastern Latvia roughly halfway between Riga and Daugavpils and spanning the Daugava River. Historic Jekabpils lies on the left bank, in Selonia while historic Krustpils (German: Kreutzburg) lies on the right bank, in Latgale. The two cities were united during Soviet rule in 1962 under the Jekabpils name, but retain their distinct regional character.Jekabpils was also formerly home to a Soviet air base.

3. Jelgava

Jelgava is a city in central Latvia about 41 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of Riga with about 63,000 inhabitants. It is the largest town in the region of Zemgale (Semigalia). Jelgava was the capital of the united Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1578-1795) and the administrative center of the Courland Governorate (1795-1918).Jelgava is situated on a fertile plain rising only 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) above mean sea level on the right bank of the river Lielupe. At high water the plain and sometimes the town as well can be flooded. It is a railway center and is also host to Jelgava Air Base. Its importance as a railway centre can be seen by the fact that it lies at the junction of over 6 railway lines connecting Riga to Lithuania, eastern and western Latvia, and Lithuania to the Baltic sea.

4. Jurmala

Jurmala is a city in Latvia, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of Riga. Jurmala is a resort town stretching 32 km (20 miles) and sandwiched between the Gulf of Riga and the Lielupe River. It has a 33 km (21 miles) stretch of white-sand beach, and a population of 55,580, making it the fifth largest city in Latvia. While Latvia was part of the Soviet Union, Jūrmala was a favorite holiday-resort and tourist destination for high-level Communist Party officials, particularly Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchev. Although it has many amenities such as beach-houses and concrete hotels remain, some have fallen into disrepair. Jūrmala remains a tourist attraction with long beaches facing the Gulf of Riga and romantic wooden houses in the Art Nouveau style.
Imants Ziedonis, one of Latvia's most important poets and folklorists of the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, was born in Jurmala district. Visitors can access Jūrmala from Riga by suburban rail (30 min) or along the highway by car (20 min). Since 2008 Jūrmala and Riga airport have been connected by a bus service. Visitors with private vehicles must pay 2 euro for each day spent in Jurmala.In publications dating from the Soviet period, the city name was occasionally spelled in English as Yurmala, a back-transliteration from Russian.

5. Liepaja

Liepaja is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E. It is the largest city in the Kurzeme Region and the third largest city in the country after Riga and Daugavpils. An important ice-free port, as of 1 July 2011, Liepaja had a population of 75,000.Liepāja is known throughout Latvia as "The city where the wind is born", likely because of the constant sea breeze. A song of the same name (Latvian: "Pilseta, kura piedzimst vejs") was composed by Imants Kalniņs and has become the anthem of the city. Its reputation of Liepaja as the windiest city in Latvia was strengthened with the construction nearby of the largest wind power plant in the nation (33 Enercon wind turbines).
The Coat of Arms of Liepaja was adopted four days after the jurisdiction gained city rights on 18 March 1625.[1] These are described as: "on a silver background, the lion of Courland with a divided tail, who leans upon a linden (Latvian: Liepa) tree with its forelegs." The flag of Liepaja has the coat of arms in the center, with red in the top half and green in the bottom.

6. Rezekne

Rezekne is a city in the Latgalia region of eastern Latvia in Rezekne River valley, also known by the nickname Latgales sirds (Latgalian Latgolys sirds) meaning The Heart of Latgalia. Built on seven hills, Rezekne is situated 242 kilometres (150 miles) east of Riga, and 63 kilometres (39 miles) west of the Latvian-Russian border, at the intersection of the Moscow – Riga and Warsaw – Saint Petersburg Railways. It has a population of 35,883 (2008), making it the 7th largest city in Latvia .

7.Riga

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 693,064 inhabitants (January 2014), Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 32.8 ft) above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.
Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga's historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture.The city is the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden. The city hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, the 2006 IIHF Men's World Ice Hockey Championships and the Kaspersky Lab Riga Open Snooker tournament. It is home to the European Union's office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states.
Riga is a member of Eurocities,the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC)and Union of Capitals of the European Union (UCEU).

8. Valmiera

Valmiera is the largest city of the historical Vidzeme region, Latvia, with a total area of 18.1 square kilometres (7 square miles). It is the center of the Valmiera District. As of 2002, Valmiera had a population of 27,323, and in 2008 – 27,569.It lies at the crossroads of several important roads, 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the north-east from Riga, the capital of Latvia, and 50 km (31 mi) south of the border with Estonia. Valmiera lies on both banks of the Gauja River.

9. Ventspils

Ventspils is a city in northwestern Latvia in the Courland historical region of Latvia, the sixth largest city in the country. In the beginning of the 2012, Ventspils had a population of 41,998. It is situated on the Venta River and the Baltic Sea, and has an ice-free port. The city's name literally means "castle on the Venta", referring to the Livonian Order's castle built alongside the Venta River. Ventspils holds the national record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Latvia with +37.8 °C on 4 August 2014

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