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Legendary painter Mark Rothko was born in Daugavpils, southeast Latvia, before finding fame in the US. 6 (Violet, green and red) is one of the priciest paintings of all time.
Every year in August, the village of Aglona in the Latgale region briefly becomes Latvia’s second biggest city, when over 200,000 people converge on the local basilica at the end of one of Europe’s biggest pilgrimages.
Chugging down 78 litres of beer per capita every year, Latvians love a cold brew on a summer’s evening.
The country also boasts one of the world’s most northerly outdoor vineyards in the village of Sabile.
The haunting Karosta district offers accommodation in the old military lockup complete with Soviet-style treatment.
One of the last corners of Europe to join Christendom, Latvians are still very much pagans at heart.
They worship nature by jumping over bonfires at Midsummer Eve, and many surnames are about birds, animals or trees. Latvia has the world’s tallest women, with the average lady coming in at an impressive 170 cm.
Latvia is a small country, but at one stage it had colonies abroad.
In the 1600’s, the independent Duchy of Courland covering western Latvia was a powerful maritime nation and controlled part of Gambia in Africa and the Caribbean island of Tobago.Latvia has a huge capital relative to its tiny population, with over one third of the population living in Riga.