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Geography of Latvia


Latvia, Republic of, a country in eastern Europe that was once a part of the Soviet Union. Latvia is bounded by Estonia. Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, the Baltic Sea, and the Gulf of Riga.


Area: 24,938 mi2. (64,589 km2). Greatest distances—north-south, 170 mi. (270 km); east-west, 280 mi (450 km). Coastline—293 mi (472 km).

Elevation: Highest—Gaizina (mountain), 1,020 ft (311 m).Lowest—sea level along the coast.

Glaciers formed most of Latvia's physical features thousands of years ago.

Most of the land is flat to gently rolling, and in some areas there are glacial hills, some reaching as much as 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level.

Peat bogs and small glacial lakes dot the land. Sand dunes edge parts of the coast.

Latvia's largest river is the Western Dvina (or Daugava), which flows northwestward from Belarus and empties into the Gulf of Riga.

Other sizable rivers include the Gauja, Venta, and Lielupe.

Latvia's climate is tempered by the sea and is moderately continental.

Temperatures average about 20° to 23° F. (–7° to –5° C.) in January and 62° to 65° F. (17° to 18° C.) in July. The annual precipitation varies from about 20 to 26 inches (510 to 660 mm), depending on location.