Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 658,640 inhabitants (2012), Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre of the Baltic Sea region. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the river Daugava. Riga’s territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies between 1 and 10 metres (3.3 and 33 ft) above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.
Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture.The city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden. The city hosted the 2006 NATO Summit, the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 and the 2006 IIHF Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships. It is home to the European Union’s office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states.