Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia, a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltics, and an important seaport, situated on the mouth of the Daugava. Riga's territory covers 307.17km2 (118.60sqmi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 33 ft) above sea level on a flat and sandy plain.
Riga's historical centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is particularly notable for its extensive Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture, which UNESCO considers to be unparalleled anywhere in the world.
Located in the Baltic region of Eastern Europe, Latvia is bordered by Estonia (339 kilometers; 211 miles), Russia (217 kilometres; 13xz5 miles), Belarus (141 kilometers; 88 miles), Lithuania (453 kilometers; 281 miles), and the Baltic Sea (531 kilometers; 330 miles). Latvia has a total area of 64,589 square kilometers (40,136 square miles). Its capital, Riga, is centrally located and lies next to its namesake, the Gulf of Riga.
The population of Riga is approximately 645,000 (2012).
The climate of Riga is humid continental (Koppen Dfb). The coldest months are January and February, when the average temperature is −5°C (23°F) but temperatures as low as −20°C (−4°F) to −25°C (−13°F) can be observed almost every year on the coldest days. The proximity of the sea causes frequent autumn rains and fogs. Continuous snow cover may last eighty days. The summers in Riga are warm and humid with the average temperature of 18°C (64°F), while the temperature on the hottest days can exceed 30°C (86°F).
The local time of Riga is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +2 which is seven hours behind Cairns.
Sister City agreement
The agreement with Riga was signed in 1990.
The proclamation reads
'The cities of Cairns and Riga believe that the development of friendship and cooperation between the two cities on a people-to-people basis and the promotion of mutual understanding and goodwill, will help to strengthen and promote peace and prosperity between Australia and Latvia (USSR).
Furthering the friendly relations existing hitherto, the two cities hereby agree to establish a Sister City affiliation for the promotion of exchange activities in sharing information, knowledge and experience in such fields as the environment, education, sports, tourism, music and the arts.
This exchange would encompass visits by citizens and youth that are involved in the aforesaid fields and assist in practical ways to carry out the organisation of such cultural cooperation.'
Sister City activities for Cairns-Riga
- 2016 - Djarragun College student Antonia Epseg travels to Latvia in June at their invitation for an exchange experience.
- 2015 Official visit from Riga (27 Aug - 1 Sep). Exchange of official gifts to mark 25th Anniversary and musician from Riga performs at Festival Cairns
- 2015 On 10 July, a photo exhibition, “Cairns and Aalborg – the Charms” opened at the Riga City Hall to mark the 25-year anniversary of friendship with Cairns.
- 2014 Two students from Riga travel to Cairns as part of Youth Ambassadors Program
- 2013 Committee Members of Cairns Sister Cities, Alex Garsa and Ilze Bikins, attended the Song and Dance Festival in Riga
- 2011 Youth Ambassadors attend program in Cairns
- 2010 Riga participates in Fibres of Life textile exhibition displayed in cairns
- 2010 Mrs Lone White (member of the Cairns Regional Council Sister Cities Advisory Committee) visited Riga for the School Youth Song and Dance Celebration and the display of photographs from the "Face of a Sister City" exhibition.
- 2009 Riga participated in the Cairns "Face of a Sister City" photographic exhibition Face of a Sister City Photo Exhibition - Riga
- 2008 Riga participated in the Cairns "Earth Links" Sister Cities ceramics exhibition
- Visit the Riga City official website (Latvian)