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Home > Europe > Latvia > Editors' Reviews
 Editor's Review
An independent republic since its peaceful ‘singing revolution’ during Soviet ‘glasnost’, Latvia is an ancient Baltic marine state that benefits from the added protection of the Gulf of Riga – the capital was a member of the medieval Hanseatic trading League. The coastal region is increasingly popular, with clean Blue Flag beaches – notably a resort town, Jurmala, which in Latvian simply means ‘seaside’. Visitors to Latvia can stay in simple farmsteads – or in converted castles or grand manor-houses. National parks house wild-life including bear, lynx and wolves. Riga itself, however is the country’s focus. A spacious, easy-paced city, it has an impressive ‘old town’, with well-preserved wooden architecture, that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It also has vestiges of walled fortifications such as the Gunpowder Tower, the richly- treasured Dome Cathedral, a very gentle-looking castle, and many 17th/18th century handsome ‘stepped-frontage’ buildings. An endearing newly-wed’s custom has furnished the many locked padlocks seen on city bridges as pledges of eternal love. Sheltered by the Gulf or not, Riga’s main Liv Square features a well-used ice rink through the winter.

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