Riga, located at the estuary of the Daugava River, where it flows into the Gulf of Riga, is the capital of Latvia. With a population of 900,000 within its 300 square-kilometers, it is the largest city in the Baltic States. It is also the Baltic’s biggest industrial, financial and transport center.

But there is more to Riga than offices and factories. The medieval Old Town, dating from the 13th century with its church towers, ancient houses and cobbled streets, is fascinating and beautiful. Brick houses and warehouses survive from middle Ages, and many other buildings were rebuilt during the 19th century.

Riga was formally founded in 1201 by German Bishop Albert of Bremen. Some historians believe the city’s name was taken from a Germanized version of “rija”, the Latvian word for barn. Over the years Riga became an important port city, a center for trade and manufacturing. The governance of the city has changed hands numerous times over the years. From the 13th to the 16th century it was the most important city in Livonia. From the late 16th through the 17th century it belonged first to Poland, then to Sweden. In the 18th century it fell under control of the Russian empire. Today, Riga is the capital of the independent Republic of Latvia.

Latvia is a story of courage, suffering and hope where there once was no hope. This is a story of a country sad in its loss, but working on a future completely, and lovingly, built around its children. Latvia is the best example of the resilience of the human spirit. The focus is clearly on providing a secure, spiritual, educated future for its children. Nearly all their emerging social programs are geared to supporting the development of the children.

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