ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
After the abolition of large estates, agriculture was mechanized during the Soviet occupation thanks to the introduction of collective and state farms. Productivity has grown considerably, hand in hand with the professional skills of the employees. Simultaneously with the modernization process of the system, the level of production also increased thanks to the reclamation of over one million hectares of marshy land. Despite the low fertility of the soil, yields have thus reached values that are among the highest in that agricultural system. Main products are cereals, potatoes, flax and sugar beet; horticulture and fruit growing are also practiced. Breeding is highly developed: cattle farming is concentrated in the vicinity of cities and widespread above all in coastal areas rich in pastures, while farms with a mixed productive orientation (cattle, pigs and poultry farming) are present mainly in the interior. Cattle, pigs and poultry have given rise to substantial exports, thanks to the good production of meat and dairy products. The extension of the forest cover has allowed the development of forestry, a highly profitable business that supplies softwoods to the paper and construction timber industry. Fishing has a fair size (cod, herring, sprat): its main center is Riga, but along the coast there are various fishing ports and large modern equipped vessels operate in the ocean. Visit rctoysadvice for Latvia Geography.
The country’s transport infrastructures are quite developed: an essential element are the ports, mainly those of Riga, Liepaja and Ventspils, which offer an outlet to the sea to the vast ex-Soviet hinterland even in winter, when the St. Petersburg and Arcangelo are blocked by ice. The tertiary sector contributes 74.2% to the formation of the GDP and employs 59% of the active population. The main trading partner is still Russia, which has been joined by various European Union countries since the last decade of the twentieth century, in particular Germany, Sweden, Finland and Lithuania. The most exported Latvian products are timber, textiles, foodstuffs and mechanical and electronic constructions; the more substantial imports, on the other hand, mainly concern raw materials, chemical products and machinery. Tourism is concentrated in the capital, whose historic center, with its medieval core and neoclassical buildings, has been declared a UNESCO heritage site. The sector is expanding,
Latvian music. To promote national music culture, Latvia was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 1992, along with the other two Baltic states. Traditional chants are the oldest form of song among Latvians. The predominantly unanimous folk songs usually have a lyrical character. Folk musical instruments include kokle (zither-like instrument), shepherd’s flute, shepherd’s trumpet and bagpipes. Latvian art music, especially choral songs, has developed since the middle of the 19th century. The singing festivals founded in 1873, at which up to 30,000 singers and dancers took part, were the highlights of musical life. Jāzeps Vītolš (* 1863, † 1948) became the founder of national Latvian music around 1900 and the creator of the national opera (»Baņuta«, 1920) Alfrēds Kalniņš (* 1879, † 1951). New musical works in a wide variety of genres have been created since the 1940s. Important composers include Ādolfs Skulte (* 1909, † 2000), Marģeris Zariņš (* 1910, † 1993), Arvīds Žilinskis (* 1905, † 1993), Jānis Ivanovs (* 1906, † 1983), Raimonds Pauls (* 1936), Ģederts Ramans (* 1927, † 1999) and Romualds Kalsons (* 1936).
The younger generation of composers will be v. a. Represented by Imants Kalniņš (* 1941), Pēteris Vasks (* 1946), Pēteris Plakidis (* 1947) and Juris Karlsons (* 1948). Of the numerous choir composers, v. a. Pauls Dambis (* 1936), who includes folk music tradition in his vocal cycles. Up to the present day, Latvian music has retained its romantic and neo-romantic idiom; Avant-garde movements remained the exception. In the 1970s, folkloric trends emerged, and in the 1980s there were also aleatoric currents. To promote national music culture, Latvia was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 1992, along with the other two Baltic states.