Riga Latvia

About Riga

Riga is the capital and largest city of the Republic 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; 135 miles), Belarus (141 kilometres; 88 miles), Lithuania (453 kilometres; 281 miles), and the Baltic Sea (531 kilometres; 330 miles). Latvia has a total area of 64,589 square kilometres (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 630,000 (2019).


The climate of Riga is humid continental. 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 80 days. The summers in Riga are humid with the average temperature of 18°C (64°F), while the temperature on the hottest days can exceed 30°C (86°F).

Local time

The local time of Riga is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +2 which is seven hours behind Cairns.

Sister City agreement

The first agreement with Riga was signed in 1990 and was replaced by a new proclamation made in 2013.

The 2013 proclamation reads

'Cairns Regional Council in Queensland, Australia and the Riga City Council in the Republic of Latvia, hereby signal our intent to strengthen our lasting and friendly relations by formally signing a Sister City Agreement.

We agree to promote economic, educational, cultural and tourism exchange to generate mutual understanding and goodwill leading to a better life for our citizens.'

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

More information

Last updated: 16 June 2020