ABOUT LATVIA

CULTURE OF LATVIA

The culture of Latvia combines traditional Latvian and Livonian heritage with influences of the country's varied historical heritage.

People

The majority of inhabitants are Latvians. There is a culturally and linguistically distinct subgroup, the Latgalians, who inhabit the Latgale region in eastern Latvia. Another indigenous group are the Livonians, whose Finnic Livonian language is nearly extinct. The largest minority group is the Slavic people, notably Russians. Other well known minorities are Romani people, Baltic Germans and Jews, whose population decreased significantly after the Second World War, as well as Lithuanians and Estonians.

Regions

Latvia is divided into several cultural and historical regions - Vidzeme, Latgale, Courland and Zemgale. Sometimes, Selija and Maliena are also distinguished.

Folklore

Latvians have the rich heritage of traditional folklore, especially folk songs. Dating back well over a thousand years, more than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified

Architecture

A form of traditional architecture in Latvia is log houses. The position of houses differs between regions. In western Latvia, single farms are more popular and in villages, the houses are positioned in a circle around a central square. In eastern Latvia, villages are more popular and houses are positioned along a main street. This is seen as an influence of nearby Russia.

Cultural canon

Launched in 2007 and now complete, the Lativan Cultural Canon was selected by a series of groups of experts in the areas of architecture and design, cinema, literature, music, stage art, national traditions and visual arts. It contains a total of 99 works.

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