The currency unit in Latvia is the lat. The 500-lat note, worth about £550, is one of the world's most valuable banknotes in current circulation.
The highest point in Latvia is only 312m above sea level, which is about 70m lower than the top of the Empire State Building.
Latvia's first ever Olympic gold medal was won by Igors Vihrovs in the men's floor gymnastics event in Sydney 2000. At those Olympics, Latvia ended with a complete set of medals: one gold, one silver, one bronze.
In 1997, a team of doctors in the Latvian capital, Riga, wrote to Guinness World Records staking their claim for an entry on the grounds that they had sewn back four severed hands in five days.
In February 2008, the death was reported of Lisis, the pet rabbit of Latvian President Valdis Zatlers. The rabbit died less than a year after moving to the presidential home. It was reported to have apparently had trouble coming to terms with the move despite being allowed to roam freely instead of being kept in a hutch.
Latvia's national liqueur is Riga Black Balsam, a sticky drink the consistency of crude oil. It is made from plants, flowers, buds, juices, roots, oils and berries.