City of Riga, Latvia
Riga Vacation - Tourism
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Geographical position of Riga
Riga, the capital of the Republic of Latvia, lies on the banks of the Daugava river not far from where the river flows into the Gulf of Riga. The territory of Riga covers 307 square kilometres and the total population was 815 thousand in January 1997. Riga is not only the largest city in the Baltic States, but also the most important centre of industry, finance and transport in the Baltic region.
General Riga Information
Economy of Riga and
In recent years the city has become the biggest financial hub in the Baltic States. Owing to the liberal legislation in Latvia towards banking as well as to the firm financial policy, the city has become a place where a considerable amount of foreign capital, especially that of Eastern origin, has accumulated and circulated.
Riga is the largest industrial centre in Latvia and in the Baltic States. However, since 1989 one can notice a fall in the volume of production. The industrial re-structuring appropriate to the new requirements has been hindered by a shortage of financial resources available to manufacturers. Most of the largest enterprises still need substantial investments from abroad. The industrial structure has also changed dramatically: today, one can observe rapid growth in industries that are mainly based on local resources, such as wood-processing and food industries. Today more and more large companies, such as 'Laima', 'Staburadze', 'Aldaris' and 'Rigas Miesnieks', are capable of producing goods and high quality services which meet with the highest Western standards. With the inflow of foreign investments, it is expected that other enterprises would recover and become more competitive too. The conditions for foreign investment have improved recently. This is confirmed by both the impetuous increase in the number of proposals for cooperation from Western firms and by the international rating agency 'Standard & Poor' that has assigned its 'BBB' long-term issuer credit rating as a positive outlook to the City of Riga.
The unemployment rate in Riga is comparatively low -- it equalled only 3.6% that is almost twice as low as the country's average. The cause of this discrepancy is the fact that there has been a considerable increase in the number of small and medium size enterprises, especially in the service sector, which is now dominated by private capital. In future, as the market reforms continue, it is believed that major emphasis will be put on service sector, particularly on the financial sector that is seen as one of the cornerstones of the economic base of the city.
Since ancient times, Riga has been an important transport junction. In the 14th and 15th century, Riga became one of the most developed centres of the Hansa Union. The city is ideally located on the cross-roads between Eastern and Western Europe as well as between Russia and the Scandinavia. This is why the harbour of Riga has always been one of the most important sources of income; it has also served as a crucial factor in the successful development through centuries. If the lengths of the piers are compared, the harbour ranks among the largest in Europe. Since 1991 more than 13 million dollars have been invested in the development of the harbour. The weight of cargo that is annually serviced by the harbour of Riga equalled 7.4 million tons in 1996. It is expected that this number will be even bigger in the future since the territory of the merchant port has been declared a free port with duty-free zone regime. The reconstruction of the Sea Passengers' terminal is still in progress but even today there are regular voyages to Stockholm, Kiel and Leubeck. There are also many direct flights from Riga International Airport to various cities all over the world. Among the carriers which operate from Riga, one can find many well-known companies, such as LUFTHANSA, SAS, BRITISH AIRWAYS and others. Coaches and trains connect Riga to the largest Baltic and CIS cities. It is also possible to take coaches to Germany and Poland and direct trains to Germany, Poland and Bulgaria. Latvian long-distance telephone codes and international communication networks are mutually interconected, therefore today, it is easy to communicate with other cities. The major companies operating in Riga include LATTELECOM, which serves the local telephone networks, and both LMT and BALTCOM -- firms that ensure good communication for those who use cordless telephones.
Municipality of Riga
History of Riga
the local tribes and the subsequent consolidation of German feudal lords in the 13th century, a number of elements of German culture were introduced in Riga. Even today this heritage is reflected in the buildings that were built during the middle ages. Several forms of urban organisations formerly characteristic only to German cities were introduced too. These forms include fraternities, guilds, corporations and others. Later on the political fortune of Riga was largely determined by the Livonian war (1558 -- 1583). Although the city of Riga was not devastated during the war, it opted to conform to the political power of that time with the aim that the privileges and independence of the city were maintained. After the war the city experienced several colonial masters: in the 16th century they were polish, in the 17th century -- Swedes but after the Nordic War the city fell into the hands of Peter the Great, the Tsar of Russia. With the disintegration of feudalism, a surge of small and medium sized industrial enterprises occurred in Riga and its neighbourhood. The newly built Russian railway network, which connects Riga to Russian markets and sources of raw materials, also play a significant role in the development of industry and trade. In the beginning of the 20th century an industrial crisis which made workers' movement more active, began and latter transformed into the cruel suppressed revolution of 1905. After the collapse of the Russian Empire, Latvia proclaimed its independence and Riga became the capital city of Latvia.
Though Latvia was independent only for 20 years, Riga managed to become a prosperous and significant city that was a worthy partner to other European cities.
In 1940, the Soviet troops occupied Riga and the World War II interrupted the city from flourishing. During the years of the Soviet occupation after the World War II, Riga experienced rapid changes as a result of forced industrialisation. In addition to the raw materials necessary for the industries, labour also had to be imported, but the majority of the goods produced had to be exported to the Soviet Union. In 1991 the independence of Latvia was re-established and Riga again became the capital of the Republic of Latvia. Today the city has been able to develop as one of the most versatile commercial, culture and tourism centres in Eastern Europe.
Culture and Education
Riga Vacation - Tourism
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