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  • The culture of Latvia combines traditional Latvian and Livonian heritage with influences of the country's varied historical heritage.
  • Latvians have the rich heritage of traditional folklore, especially folk songs. Dating back well over a thousand years, more than 1.2 million texts and 30,000 melodies of folk songs have been identified.
  • The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is an important event in Latvian culture and social life. The All-Latvian Song and Dance Festival has been held since 1873, normally every five years. During the festivals exhibitions of photography, art and folk craft, orchestra concerts, and a festive parade also take place.
  • Latvia claims to be the home of the first Christmas Tree. The first documented use of a evergreen tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510.
  • Latvian Fridrich Cander (1887-1933) was an inventor who worked on the theory and design of jet engines and rockets.
  • Among Latvia’s traditionally most popular national foods are caraway cheese, grey peas with bacon, bacon-filled pastries and a special rye bread prepared to ancient recipes. Latvian rye bread is a staple for most of the population and is one of Latvia’s most popular food ‘souvenirs’.
  • The literature in the country of Latvia was primarily started by the epic national poem called Lacplesis by Andrejs Pumpurs , it was based on traditional folk tales. One of the largest figures in Latvian literature is Janis Rainis, as well as Krisjanis Barons.
  • The spy photocam Minox was invented in Latvia.
  • The first painter to have international acclaim was Janis Rozentals, in the early 1900's, as he painted scenes of peasant life as well as portraits. Two great landscape artists of the early 1900's were Vilelms Purvitis and Janis Valters.
  • In Latvia, celebration of the summer solstice is oldest and most beloved traditional holiday. The nearly three-day long midsummer fest concludes on June 24th, the day known to Latvians as ‘Jāņi’. Most leave the cities to gather with family and friends around thousands of bonfires, where special foods, beverages, songs, dances and rituals celebrate the movement of the setting and rising of the midnight sun.
  • Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Latvia. Follows football and basketball. Orienteering is a popular sport that combines cross-country running with land navigation skills in the woods.
  • Latvia has gained 17 olympic medals including two golds even though its short existence as independent state. The most recent is from newly introduced men’s BMX cycling race won by Maris Štrombergs.