The Republic of Latvia, lying on the east shore of the Baltic Sea in north-eastern Europe, is bounded on the north by Estonia and the Gulf of Riga, an inlet of the Baltic Sea; on the east by Russia; on the south by Belarus and Lithuania; and on the west by the Baltic Sea. Latvia covers an area of about 64 590 km2.
Like the other Baltic republics, the land is mostly low-lying plain with low hills and valleys, although some uplands to the east rise above 200 m. There are numerous lakes, streams, marshes, and peat bogs, the result of past continental glaciation. The largest river is the Daugava (Western Dvina). Other major rivers are the Gauja, the Venta, and the Lielupe.
Like much of Europe, Latvia's climate is moderated by the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Winters are mild and summers are relatively cool. Temperatures range from about -7 to -3 °C in January to 16 to 18 °C in July. Annual precipitation averages between 560 and 790 mm. Rainfall is heaviest in July and August. Snow covers the ground for two to four months of the year, sometimes longer.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.