Latvia – etiquette and culture guide

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Facts and Statistics

Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Capital: Riga
Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters
Population: 2,259,810 (July 2007 est.)
Ethnic Make-up: Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Government: parliamentary democracy

Language in Latvia

The official language of Latvia is Latvian, which belongs to the Baltic language group of the Indo-European language family. Another notable language of Latvia is the nearly extinct Livonian language of Baltic-Finnic sub-branch of Uralic language family, which enjoys protection by law. The Latgalian language (a dialect of Latvian) is also protected by Latvian law as a historical variation of Latvian language. Russian is by far the most widespread minority language.

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