Latvia is situated in north-eastern Europe, with a coastline along the Baltic Sea,
It has borders with Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania, with linguistic links with Lithuania to the south, and historical and religious ties with Estonia to the north.
It joined the EU in May 2004.
For centuries Latvia was primarily an agricultural country, with seafaring, fishing and forestry as other important factors in its economy, but in recent years it has embraced the free market.
Its top two exports are refined petroleum and sawn wood.
The population is 2.2 million with more than a quarter Russian-speaking.
A Latvian meal is seldom complete without pork, you can even enjoy cūkas ausis (pig’s ears), grūdenis (pig’s head stew) and cūkas kājas (pig’s feet).