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"Riga’s birth is generally given as 1201, the year when Bishop Albert arrived from Bremen with 500 crusaders and moved the short-lived Bishopric of Livonia from nearby Ikšķile to a natural harbour on the banks of the Daugava River. The area had already been settled for a long time however, the oldest archaeological evidence dates from around 2500 B.C., and was a trading centre used by those sailing up the Daugava, towards Novgorod and on to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Indeed German merchants were already living in the area along with the local Liv and Kurši populations."
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"The Latvians constitute a prominent division of the ancient group of peoples known as the Balts. The first historically documented connection between the Balts and the civilization of the Mediterranean world was based on the ancient amber trade; according to the Roman historian Tacitus (1st century CE), the Aestii(predecessors of the Old Prussians) developed an important trade with the Roman Empire."
"Latvia’s internet speeds are among the fastest in the world, averaging 13.8MB/s, compared to 11.6 in the UK, 11.9 in the US, 7.5 in France, 3.4 in Brazil and 1.7 in Egypt."
"At one time, Latvians ascribed to naturalist or what might be termed ‘pagan’ beliefs in natural deities. Although no longer practised as a religion the tradition lives on in folk songs, legends and festivals."
Start Preparing for Your Trip
Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations & Hepatitis A
Visas: Not required for a US citizen for a stay up to 90 days
What to Pack: "Add in a smarter outfit for more formal occasions, such as the Opera."
"Jūrmala was a string of fishing villages well into the 19th century. While some people would come here from Riga already in the 18th century, 25 km distance was too big for regular traffic in the era of horses and carriages. All that changed after the railway line from Riga to Tukums was completed in 1877. Each village received its own station where every warm summer day many holidaymakers from Riga would disembark, heading for the beaches. The villages closer to Riga then became known as “Rigas Jūrmala”, which means “Riga’s Seaside” in Latvian."
Where to Go
Enjoy a Little Latvia from Home
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