Geography in Latvia
Latvia is located in Northern Europe in the center of the Baltic States. As the middle of the three Baltic states, it borders Lithuania in the south, Belarus in the southeast, Russia in the east, Estonia in the north and the Baltic Sea in the west. The Republic of Latvia has a state area of approx. 64,600 km². Latvia essentially consists of the four historical regions of Courland in the west, Livonia in the northeast, Zemgale as a narrow strip between the Daugava and the Lithuanian border and Latgale in the southeast. For the most part it is a wooded moraine hill country with numerous lakes and a long, poorly indented coastal plain. The longest rivers in Latvia are the Daugava and the Livonian Aa, both of which flow into the Baltic Sea.
The largest lake in Latvia is the Lubāns with 80.7 km² of water, the Dridza lake is the deepest lake in the Baltic countries with over 65 m depth (65.1 m depth). The capital Riga is also geographically the center of the sparsely populated country. In the north-west of the country lies the Gulf of Riga, an indentation in the Baltic Sea. The highest point in Latvia is Gaising, 120 km east of Riga, at 311 m above sea level. NN. In order to meet the requirements for its accession to the EU and NATO, Latvia was forced to surrender the New Latgale, which was previously mainly inhabited by Latvians and encompass approx. 1300 km², to Russia.
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Flora and fauna in Latvia
There are still many intact forests in Latvia, which covered 56 percent of the country’s area. The national
trees of Latvia are oak and linden. Spruce and birch are particularly common, especially pines on the Baltic Sea. In addition to the forests, the vegetation in many places consists of fields, pastures, moors and lakes.
In addition to the deer, roe deer, rabbits, wild boar and foxes that are also native to us, elk, wolves, lynxes, beavers and bison are also found in Latvia. The European brown bear has also returned to Latvia.
National parks and nature conservation in Latvia
Latvia has a long tradition in nature conservation; The first protective provisions existed as early as the 16th century.
That is why there are 706 state-protected nature areas in Latvia today, including four national parks. The largest national park is the Gauja National Park. It occupies an area of over 920 km². With an area of 380 km², the Ķemeri National Park is the second largest. It was established after Latvia regained independence. The smallest but oldest national park with an area of 161.5 km² is the Slītere National Park. It was founded in 1921 during Latvia’s first independence.
The nature reserve Pape is particularly important for migratory birds, where bison, Konik horses and Heck cattle have also been settled.
Climate in Latvia
In Latvia, as in all Baltic states, there is a cool, temperate climate with cold winters below 0 ° C and moderately warm summers between 16 and 17 ° C. In Riga, the annual average temperature is almost 6 ° C, with 600 mm of rainfall. It is wettest in late summer and driest in spring. The sun shines 1800 to 1900 hours a year (ten percent more than in Germany). The coasts of the Baltic Sea mostly remain ice-free in winter, in August the water temperature reaches up to 17 ° C, on hot summer days near the coast up to 25 ° C.