On 1 May 2004, in the wake of a referendum on EU membership, Latvia officially joined the European Union (67% votes in favour, 32% against). Entrance to the euro zone became official in 2014, delayed by almost 10 years due to adverse economic conditions.
Riga, the Latvian capital, is famous for its agglomeration of art-nouveau architecture, considered one of the most impressive in all of Europe. Riga's mediaeval city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also meritorious. Any takers?
Languages commonly used in Latvia are Latvian (official) and Russian. Livonian, the native language of Livonian people who live in the north of Latvia's Kurzeme peninsula, is now critically endangered.
Three Christian Religions
Latvia is a country of Lutheran tradition. Today, three-quarters of the population belongs to one of the three major Christian religions: Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy.
A Decreasing Population
Latvia is one of the few countries in the world with a declining population. The current population is less than that recorded 20 (or even 100) years ago. Between 1991 and 2011, due to low fertility rate and migration flow, Latvia has lost nearly 23% of its population.
Music is truly at the heart of Latvian culture. More than half of the population has taken music lessons, played a musical instrument or sung in a choir. Music festivals are extremely popular national events.
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