Valka is a town and municipality in northern Latvia, on the border with Estonia along both banks of the river Pedele. Valka and the Estonian town Valga are twins, separated by the Estonian/Latvian border but using the slogan "One Town, Two Countries"; the border dividing the Livonian town of Walk was marked out in 1920 by an international jury headed by British Colonel Stephen George Tallents. With the expansion of the Schengen Agreement and abolition of the Estonian/Latvian border in 2007, it was announced that common public bus transport would be established between Valka and Valga. All border crossing-points were removed and roads and fences opened. In 2016 it was announced that due to better welfare and higher salaries in Estonia, many Valka inhabitants have registered themselves as inhabitants of Valga; the town of Walk was first mentioned in 1286 and from 1419 was the seat of the Landtag of the Livonian Confederation. City rights were granted by the Polish-Lithuanian king Stefan Batory in 1584.
However, the town gained its importance only at the end of the 19th century when the Vidzeme teacher's seminary was operating here, the important railway junction was developed. Furthermore, the first narrow-gauge railway line in the territory of modern Latvia was stretched from Valka to Estonian city of Pärnu. On November 15, 1917 the decision to proclaim the independent Republic of Latvia was made in Valka; the red-white-red flag of Latvia was raised here for the first time. On July 1, 1920 the town was divided between the newly-born Estonian states. There is a gymnasium in Valka; the Institute of Latvia-Estonia provides further education. Jānis Cimze, founder of Vidzeme teacher's seminary - first higher education institution in Latvia's territory Aigars Fadejevs, Olympic race-walker, winner of silver medal at Olympic Games of 2000 in Sydney Vents Armands Krauklis, politician, former mayor of Valka city, member of Saeima, current mayor of Valka municipality Roberts Ķīlis, social anthropologist, former Minister of Education and Science Pavel Loskutov, Estonian long-distance runner Gatis Smukulis, road bicycle racer Andris Vilks, former Minister of Finance Valka is twinned with seven cities: Valga, Estonia Durbuy, Belgium Östhammar, Sweden Weissenburg, Germany Tvrdosin, Slovakia Orimattila, Finland Radviliškis, Lithuania Valka Town Theatre Valga, Estonia Official website
Seda is a town in Latvia founded in 1952. The major local industry is extraction of peat; the town is remarkable for its 1950s-style Stalinist architecture, dating from the glory days of Seda, when workers from all over the Soviet Union came to work for the peat extraction enterprise. Joint stock company "Seda" is still a major employer; the town and its people were the subject of the documentary film Seda: People of the Marsh. Media related to Seda at Wikimedia Commons Seda travel guide from Wikivoyage website of JSC "Seda" List of cities in Latvia
Riga District was an administrative division of Latvia, located in Semigallia and Vidzeme regions, in the centre of the country. The district had the two cities of Jūrmala with the Gulf of Riga to the north. Beginning from the west and counterclockwise to the east, Riga District had Tukums, Bauska, Ogre, Cēsis and Limbaži former districts as neighbours; the area of the district was 3,058 km² with a population of 159,247. Riga District was one of the largest regions of Latvia, it was strategically important and had some of the most developed infrastructure in Latvia, it was a junction of 6 important railroad lines. Districts were eliminated during the administrative-territorial reform in 2009; the larger part of the former region lies in the sand-soil plains of Riga that are covered by pinewoods, low links and level countryside, typical for littoral lowlands. In the northern part, there are ridges of links and many lakes have formed in hollows between them. There are 132 lakes in the Riga Region and the biggest of them is the Babīte Lake, Lielais Baltezers, Mazais Baltezers, Dūņu Lake and Lilaste Lake.
The former district is crossed by three major rivers in Latvia – Daugava and Gauja Rivers. The north-eastern part of former Riga District is covered by the largest deciduous forests in Latvia; the Gauja National Park is part of these forests and has more than 900 kinds of plants, 48 species of mammals and 149 species of birds. One of the first ancient settlements was situated in this district and dates from the 9th century BC. Across time localities of the Riga District had their resurgence and downturns caused by wars and unrest; this land been occupied by German crusaders and Swedish, Prussian and Russian armies. More than 300 monuments of cultural and historical significance that are on the list of cultural heritage protection tell us about the most important events of local history; the reasons for the rapid development of Riga District can be found in its geographic position and natural resources, rich heritage of culture and history. For the same reasons this region is valuable for tourism and business travel.
Photos of Riga and district
Daugavpils District was an administrative division of Latvia, located in Latgale region, in the country's south-east. It was organized into twenty one parishes, each with a local government authority; the district council headquarters were located in the city of Daugavpils, however, was not part of the district. As of 2009, The district's area was 2,525.5 km2, which contained 21 parishes, one city and one municipality. The district was located in Latvia's southeastern area, it bordered Belarus and the former Latvian districts of Jēkabpils, Preiļi and Krāslava. Daugavpils District was situated in the geographical region of East-Latvian Lowland, Latgale Upland and Augšzeme Upland; the highest points above sea level were Egļukalns, Piķeļnieku kalns, Lediņu kalns and Skrudalienas kalns. All of the territory was located in the Daugava River basin. Besides the Daugava River there were many small rivers. District were eliminated during the administrative-territorial reform in 2009, being divided into the municipalities of Daugavpils and Ilūkste
Latvia the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states, it is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the southeast, shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2; the country has a temperate seasonal climate. After centuries of Swedish and Russian rule, a rule executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis; the country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years.
The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover. It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic and a highly developed country according to the United Nations Human Development Index, its capital Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule and Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians, some of whom have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all.
Until World War II, Latvia had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews. Latvia is predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, predominantly Roman Catholic; the Russian population are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, WTO. For 2014, the country was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country on 1 July 2014. A full member of the Eurozone, it began using the euro as its currency on 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats; the name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, which formed the ethnic core of modern Latvians together with the Finnic Livonians. Henry of Latvia coined the latinisations of the country's name, "Lettigallia" and "Lethia", both derived from the Latgalians; the terms inspired the variations on the country's name in Romance languages from "Letonia" and in several Germanic languages from "Lettland".
Around 3000 BC, the proto-Baltic ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Balts established trade routes to Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals. By 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia: Curonians, Selonians, Semigallians, as well as the Finnic tribe of Livonians speaking a Finnic language. In the 12th century in the territory of Latvia, there were 14 lands with their rulers: Vanema, Bandava, Duvzare, Megava, Pilsāts, Upmale, Sēlija, Jersika, Tālava and Adzele. Although the local people had contact with the outside world for centuries, they became more integrated into the European socio-political system in the 12th century; the first missionaries, sent by the Pope, sailed up the Daugava River in the late 12th century, seeking converts. The local people, did not convert to Christianity as as the Church had hoped. German crusaders were sent, or more decided to go on their own accord as they were known to do. Saint Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Ikšķile, in 1184, traveling with merchants to Livonia, on a Catholic mission to convert the population from their original pagan beliefs.
Pope Celestine III had called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193. When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, Meinhard plotted to convert Livonians by force of arms. In the beginning of the 13th century, Germans ruled large parts of today's Latvia. Together with Southern Estonia, these conquered areas formed the crusader state that became known as Terra Mariana or Livonia. In 1282, the cities of Cēsis, Limbaži, Koknese and Valmiera, became part of the Hanseatic League. Riga became an important point of east-west trading and formed close cultural links with Western Europe. After the Livonian War, Livonia fell under Lithuanian rule; the southern part of Estonia and the northern part of Latvia were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and formed into the Duchy of Livonia. Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of
Districts of Latvia
Before July 1, 2009 Latvia was divided into 26 administrative districts and 7 cities under state jurisdiction, indicated with asterisks: Administrative divisions of Latvia Administrative divisions of Latvia before 2009 Planning regions of Latvia Cultural regions of Latvia ISO 3166-2:LV Media related to Districts of Latvia at Wikimedia Commons