Music in Latvia

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Welcome to Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA) which is the only one university-type education establishment in Latvia providing higher musical education in performing arts, composition, musicology, music education, as well as carrying out research. JVLMA offers internationally accredited study programmes on bachelor, master and doctoral level and professional qualifications. Scientific research and artistic creativity are the cornerstones of all professional and academic study programmes. Last academic year at Academy studied 550 students.



The academic year begins on 1st September and is over approximately in the middle of June. (40 weeks of lectures, seminars and practical work are divided into 2 semesters: September – December and February - May). After study periods follow the exam sessions held in January and June.

First semester: 1 September 2016 – 22 January 2017

18 November – Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, public holiday

Examinations: December 2016 - January 2017

Second semester: 30 January 2017 – 15 June 2017

14 – 17 March – Easter holidays

1 May - Labour Day, public holiday

4 May - Restoration of Independence day, public holiday

Examinations: May – June


Office of International Relations is the first place you have to visit after your arrival. It will provide all necessary information about practical matters, as well as assistance in working out individual study curriculum and transcript of records.

Vice-rector for International Relations

Assoc. prof. Dr. Maija Sīpola

Phone: +371 67223522


Room 110


Vita Šiliņa

Anita Alksne

Phone: +371 67820271


Room 112, open all working days 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

International collaboration is based on short-term educational activities (masterclasses, workshops, seminars, lectures, intensive courses), student and staff exchange (in frames of Erasmus+ and Nordplus programmes) and various events (performances, competitions, festivals, conferences, individual research). Every year JVLMA is hosting more than 50 visiting professors who offer masterclases for all instruments and programmes. JVLMA joined Erasmus programme in academic year 1999/2000, and today we have bilateral agreements with more than 100 partner institutions.


Your study plan in JVLMA is subject of individual consultation with representatives from International department and Study programmes department. Please be aware that even if JVLMA has signed your Learning Agreement, your schedule most probably will be revised and slightly changed due to different system of ECTS calculation in JVLMA, teacher`s language proficiency, availability of the course for your study circle and year or other administrative and pedagogical reasons.


Although musicians have the privilege of universal common language of music, the official language of instruction at our institution is Latvian. As most of lessons are thought individually or in small groups and many teachers speak Russian, English or German it is possible to work out individual curriculum.

Foreign students intending to stay longer than 3 months can take Latvian language courses for foreigners.

Information about study programmes, current study plans and course descriptions in each programme you can find here .


An average workload of a full-time study year in Latvian higher education programmes is 60 ECTS, accordingly 30 ECTS for one semester. DIES



After enrolment international students will receive student identity card – ISIC at ISIC Latvia office /Torņa street 4, C1 – 101, Riga/, which entitles them for use of Academy library, phonoteque, videotheque and rooms for practicing, as well as travel discounts in public transport, various discounts on theatre and concert tickets. Detailed information about ISIC card in the Office of International Relations.

Since February 2016 we have online room reservation system AZIMUT which is used in some of the most prestigious Academies in Europe.


In Latvia’s higher education a ten-point grading system prevails, where 10 is the maximum and 4 is the pass mark.

Explanation of the grading system and approximate comparison to ECTS grades:

|Achievement level|Grade |Meaning |Explanation |Approx. ECTS|

| | | | |grade |

|very high |10 |izcili (with distinction) |Knowledge of the student is substantially higher than the |A |

| | | |estimated normal level | |

| |9 |teicami (excellent) |Knowledge of the student is higher than the estimated |A |

| | | |normal level | |

|high |8 |ļoti labi (very good) |Knowledge corresponds to the highest expected level |B |

| |7 |labi (good) |The student has mastered the subject deeply and with |C |

| | | |understanding, is progressing within the expected limits, | |

| | | |but makes minor mistakes | |

|medium |6 |gandrīz labi (almost good)|The student has generally succeeded in |D |

| | | |the course within the required limits, but | |

| | | |he or she is either merely reproducing the knowledge | |

| | | |rather than actively using it, or making more substantial | |

| | | |mistakes | |

| |5 |viduvēji (satisfactory) |Awarded to students, who are progressing within the limits|E |

| | | |of their individual abilities, generally are not behind | |

| | | |the appropriate age group, but make substantial mistakes | |

| | | |and reproduce the facts rather than analyse them. | |

| |4 |gandrīz viduvēji (almost |The very last positive grade. Awarded to |E/FX |

| | |satisfactory) |students, who do their best but still make | |

| | | |grave mistakes and just reproduce most of the relevant | |

| | | |material | |

|low |3–1 |negatīvs vērtējums |Marks of different levels for students whose records are |Fail |

| | |(unsatisfactory) |below the expected | |


After a successful study period and exam period at Latvian Academy of Music we issue Transcript of Records with ECTS grades and credit points about all completed courses.


JVLMA library is the oldest music and related literature repository in Latvia, safekeeping rare manuscripts, scores, books, sound and video recordings, and periodicals. Library stock holds approximately 92000 scores and 4500 books; special funds consist of research works by academic staff and students of former Latvian State Conservatoire and JVLMA. Musical scores by Latvian musicians, manuscripts, photographs and historical materials are also available.

There is a free of charge information database in the reading room: encyclopedias, dictionaries and periodicals. Reading room provides excellent environment for studies and information gathering. Free Internet access, Grove music database, digital catalogue and archive of photographs are available.

Library takes pride in its unique collection of sound and audiovisual recordings. Current stock counts 54 000 audio recordings and video tapes/discs. Researchers of interpretation history are in an excellent position, since most of the musical examples are available in up to 50 different versions. In this respect the stock of JVLMA audiovisual department is the largest and the most specialized collection in Latvia. Rich selection of ballets, recital videos, documentaries about musicians and relevant subjects of music history is also available and can be viewed/listened to in the premises of audiovisual department. Information about the library stock and the digital catalogue is available in Internet.

The library is open to the general public and has the following opening hours: Books department, reading room and audiovisual department is open from 8.30 till 19.00 on weekdays, Scores department – till 17.00. On Saturdays all departments work from 9.30 till 16.00.

N.B. There is a fine for bringing back books later than the set date!


The Wi-Fi connection is available in both Academy’s buildings. The Password JVLMA-Public

Outside the Academy, you can access the Internet in many public spaces (wherever you see a “WiFi” sticker on display), in the Internet cafés and, of course, from the internet providers (e.g. Lattelecom, TELE2, LMT).


In case you need to print or copy something, there are several places where to do it, some of them:

- Library Book department (room 105)

- Merkeļa Drukas Darbnīca “Areatech” (Merķeļa str. 13),

- CopyPro (Raiņa Blvd. 17), etc.


All the students are welcome to the Academy`s Sports centre where they can play basketball, volleyball, table tennis, mini football, and exercise at the gym. For small charge solarium and sauna is available. Twice a week, usually starting from the middle of September, it is possible to attend the swimming pool in Ķīpsala (across the river Daugava) for a very low price. Please contact the head of the Sports department professor Uldis Janis Veispals to book your time.


Latvian Academy of Music does not have its own student dormitory, but in cooperation with the University of Latvia we can offer a place in one of their student hostels which are located outside the city centre (approx. 15 min by trolleybus) at Rēznas street.

ω Prima offers single, double and triple rooms (100 – 270 EUR per month)

However places are limited and have to be booked well in advance. More info and application:

If you do not want to stay at student dormitory, you can find room for rent on your own, and it is advisable to do so in advance. There are several agencies in Riga which can help also with private housing arrangements, besides there are also several websites in English: - interface available only in Latvian and Russian, but descriptions often are in English, too. Ask for advice or help at the International office!

- group Riga Student's Appartment Market on Facebook

Facebook: Flatshare in Riga – Latvia Realty



ω Make sure you have an approved copy of your Learning Agreement

ω Make sure your passport is valid till the end of your exchange period

ω If you are a EU student, obtain your EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (EHIC)

ω Make sure that you have arranged all the documents required to apply for the residence permit in Latvia (if staying in Latvia for a period of time exceeding 90 days within half a year counting from the first day of entrance. More info at .lv/en)


ω Visit the International office first (Room 110 or 112)

ω Bring with you your ID document and passport size photo so that Department of Study Programmes can copy it and arrange your file.


ω Make sure that all scores and books are returned to the library

ω Visit the International Relations Department to inform about the exact date when you are returning home and to receive your Transcript of Records.


Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-profit international student organisation. Their mission is to represent international students, thus provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students.

Check ESN Riga site and meet incoming exchange students from other universities in Latvia. They organize several events: Welcome week, Cultural nights, trips to Saint Petersburg, Stockholm and other cities, Welcome and goodbye seminars etc. Register for receiving mailinglist not to miss them.



As probably you will have chosen one of the four basic means of transportation, you will find yourself either:

ω At the airport (Lidosta), which is about 10km south-west of city centre, you can take either Air Baltic Airport Express (5 EUR) or Bus No. 22 to reach city centre (tickets - kiosk (“Narvesen”, “Plus punkts”) or from the driver). Check the price and schedule on Rīgas Satiksme website:;

ω The bus terminal (Autoosta), which is situated in the centre, next to the train station, which is 5 minutes, at most, from the Old Town;

ω The Ferry terminal (Pasažieru osta) is some 1.5 km north from the very centre of Riga. Take trams Nr 5, 7 or 9 and go two stops. The tram stop is situated on Ausekļa str. in front of the terminal;

ω The central train station (Dzelzceļa stacija), which is also located in the centre of Riga (Stacijas laukums), is about 5 minutes’ walk away from the Old Town.



Public transportation in the city is provided by trams, trolleybuses and buses. Fares –

ω the so-called e-ticket (e-talons) can be bought in kiosks,

ω one-trip tickets – at the special ticket vending machines or driver (a bit more expensive).

Check the price routes and departure times on Rīgas Satiksme website:

As students receive the discount for the tickets, each student should apply for his/her own personalized E-ticket. Students can apply for the E-ticket in the Service centre of Rīgas Satiksme. To do so, you will need your ISIC student card. More info:



ω As in many places, also in Latvia besides great and friendly people there are some of those, who might want to snatch your bag, or check out the contents of your pockets. Therefore, whenever you find yourself in a crowded place (train station, bus station, public transport, etc.) take care of your pockets, backpacks and other belongings.

ω Also, when being in pubs and restaurants never leave your belongings unattended. They just might “walk away”.

ω If possible, avoid walking alone at night.


Latvia has three main GSM operators: LMT, Tele2 and Bite.


All International students must have life and health insurance which is valid in Latvia, for EU citizen – at least European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Vaccination: There are no mandatory vaccinations required for entering Latvia. If you plan on hiking in the countryside or in the forests between March and October, a vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis is advisable.

Here are some clinics:

ω Medical Care Centre “ARS”/ Medicīnas sabiedrība “ARS” (Skolas str. 5, phone: +371 67201006, 67201007, 67201008). ARS has English speaking doctors

← “Rakstnieku poliklīnika” (Raiņa Blvd. 27, phone: +371 67286470, 67214197, 29627834)

ω “Health Center 4” / “Veselības centrs 4” (K. Barona str. 117, phone: +371 67847100)

ω “Veselības nams 5” (Grēcinieku str. 34, phone: +371 67222892)

ω Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital / Paula Stradiņa Klīniskās universitātes slimnīca (Pilsoņu str. 13, phone: +371 67069600)

In case you need a pharmacy, look for a place with the sign: “Aptieka”.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY – Call: 112, a toll-free number. The operator will connect you with the necessary emergency service.



Latvia is the central country of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and is located in North-eastern Europe on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. It consists of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills, with most of its territory less than 100 metres above sea level. It has an extensive network of rivers, thousands of lakes and hundreds of kilometres of undeveloped seashore lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches.

Cultural and historical division (Reģioni) – Kurzeme (western part of Latvia), Zemgale (southern part), Vidzeme (middle and northern part) and Latgale (eastern part)

Area (Platība): 64,589

Population, 2011 (Iedzīvotāju skaits): 2,224,230

Highest point (Augstākais punkts): Gaiziņš – 311.50 m

Largest lake (Lielākais ezers): Lubānas – 82 sq. km

Longest river (Garākā upe): Daugava – 1 020 km (367 km within Latvia)

Religion (Reliģija): Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholic churches dominate. English-language services at the Anglican Church in the Old City. Rīga has a Jewish synagogue, as well.

Ethnic groups, 2011 (Etniskās grupas):

- 59.5% Latvians,

- 27.3% Russians,

- 3.5% Belarusians,

- 2.5% Ukrainians,

- 2.3% Poles,

- 1.3% Lithuanians,

- 3.6% others


The biggest cities (Lielākās pilsētas): Rīga – 650 000 inhabitants, Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Rēzekne, Ventspils, Valmiera.

Currency (Valūta): EUR

Climate (Klimats): Moderate climate with four distinctive seasons. Summers are usually dry, sunny and warm with temperatures sometimes exceeding +30o C. Spring and autumn have often unstable weather with sun and rain on the same day. Winter is from December to March and usually with snow and sometimes the temperature may decline even down to –25o C (it usually gets so cold in January, February). Weather forecast: meteo.lv4

Language (Valoda): The official language is Latvian. It belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European family of languages. Its closest and only living relative is Lithuanian (Latvian is a non-Slavic and non-Germanic language). Russian, English and German are also widely spoken in Latvia.

Time in Riga (Laika zona): GMT +2 (as Helsinki, Tallinn, Vilnius, and Athens)

Symbols (Simboli): the official state symbols are:

ω the flag,

ω the coat of arms,

ω the national anthem (look for the lyrics and translation below),

ω the oak tree/the linden tree,

ω amber,

ω the white wagtail,

ω Two-spotted Ladybird,

ω daisy,

ω the river of Destiny – Daugava, etc.

Holidays (Brīvdienas):

ω January 1 – New Year’s Day (Jaungads)

ω March/April, Good Friday and Easter; (Lielā Piektdiena un Lieldienas)

ω May 1 – Labour Day (Darba svētki)

ω May 4 – Declaration of Independence Day (Neatkarības pasludināšanas deklarācijas diena)

ω June 23 & 24 – Midsummer celebrations (Līgo & Jāņi)

ω November 18 – Independence day (Neatkarības diena)

ω December 24, 25, 26 – Christmas (Ziemassvētki)

ω December 31 – New Year’s Eve (Vecgada vakars)

Political system (Politiskā sistēma): Latvia is a republic, parliamentary democracy.

Head of state – the President, elected by Parliament for 4 years.

Legislative power – the Parliament (Saeima), 100 deputies elected every 4 years.


9000 B.C. first inhabitants on Latvian soil

Early 2000 B.C. Baltic tribes (forefathers of the modern Latvians) settle Latvia's territory.

900 A.D. – early 1200 A.D. Individual tribal groups (Couronians, Latgallians, Selonians, Semgallians) start to form specific tribal realms.

Latter half of the 1100’s – 1200’s The arrival of German traders, missionaries and crusaders in Latvia. The city of Rīga is founded 1201. Livonia is established.

1500’s Livonian War (1558–1583). Polish-Lithuanian rule. The dukedoms of Kurzeme and Pārdaugava are formed.

1585, 1586 – The Roman Catholic and Lutheran catechisms printed as the first books in the Latvian language.

1600’s Polish-Swedish War (1600–1629). Vidzeme and Rīga under Swedish rule. Rīga – Sweden's largest city. Dukedom of Kurzeme experiences an economic boom.

1700’s The Great Northern War (1700–1721). Russian rule.

1850’s – 1870’s National awakening of the Latvian people. The movement of New-Latvians (Jaunlatvieši).

November 18, 1918 Proclamation of independence of Latvia.

1919 – the foundation of the University of Latvia.

1940–1941 Latvia occupied by USSR troops.

June 14, 1941 15,424 Latvians are deported from Latvia to Siberia.

1941–1945 Latvia occupied by the German Third Reich.

May 8, 1945 End of the war. The German occupation army capitulates and the USSR occupation power is reestablished in the territory of Latvia.

1945–1991 – Latvia occupied by the Soviet Union.

June 14 and August 23, 1987 The first large anti-Soviet and anti-occupation demonstrations in Rīga.

May 4, 1990 – Restoration of Independence Day.

August 21, 1991 Complete reinstatement of Latvia's independence.

April – May 2004 Latvia becomes a member of NATO and the European Union.


The National Anthem – Himna: “Dievs, svētī Latviju!” (“God bless Latvia!”) was officially proclaimed Latvia’s national anthem in 1920, but it also played an important role in leading to Latvia’s independence in 1918. It was written by Kārlis Baumanis in the second half of the 19th century.

|“Dievs, svētī Latviju, |God, bless Latvia, |

|Mūs’ dārgo tēviju, |Our dearest fatherland, |

|Svētī jel Latviju, |Do bless Latvia, |

|Ak, svētī jel to! |Oh, do bless it! |

|Kur latvju meitas zied, |Where Latvian daughters bloom, |

|Kur latvju dēli dzied, |Where Latvian sons sing, |

|Laid mums tur laimē diet, |Let us dance in happiness there, |

|Mūs’ Latvijā!” |In our Latvia! |



Latvian food: caraway cheese, grey peas with bacon, bacon-filled pastries and a special rye bread prepared according to ancient recipes. These are just some of the things, you could try out:


Biezpiena sieriņš – curd actually, but with sweet taste. You might want to try the ones

called “Kārums”

Kefīrs – specific dairy product

Ķīselis – thickened stewed fruit served for dessert

Griķi – buckwheat, eaten as a side dish with the main course

Skābēti kāposti – sauerkraut

Pīrāgi – bacon and onion wrapped in a thin layer of yeast dough. A real classic of Latvian cuisine.

Kūpināts siers – Smoked cheese, goes very well with wine

Eklērs– a cake with sweet cream inside

Frikadeļu zupa – meatball soup with bullion

Biešu zupa – red coloured beetroot soup

Rasols – salad with sour cream (Salad Olivier)

Kotletes – meatballs served with potatoes

Gaileņu mērce – chanterelles sauce in sour cream, usually served with potatoes

Siļķe ar biezpienu – herring served with cottage cheese


Beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage in Latvia, is excellent. Beers, such as Aldaris, Līvu, and Senču can be bought almost anywhere. A special ‘live beer’ like “Užavas” and “Brenguļu” can be found in selected pubs and restaurants. Black Balsam (Rīgas Melnais Balzams). It’s a strong (45%) infusion of various herbs, roots, and spices. It will cure your flu in no time. Add a few drops to flavor your tea, or a few spoons to lace your coffee, or in various cocktails. By itself it can be a very strong beverage!


Hello – Sveiki!/ Čau! (informal)

Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening – Labrīt!/Labdien!/Labvakar!

Good bye – Uz redzēšanos!/Visu labu! (formal); Atā!/Čau! (informal)

Thank you – Paldies

Please – Lūdzu

How are you? – Kā iet? (informal) Kā Jums klājas? (formal)

I’m doing fine – Man iet labi

Bon appetit – Labu apetīti

My name is ... – Mani sauc...

0 - nulle, 1 - viens, 2 - divi, 3 - trīs, 4 - četri, 5 - pieci, 6 - seši, 7 - septiņi, 8 - astoņi, 9 - deviņi, 10 - desmit

Yes – Jā

No – Nē

Excuse me – Piedodiet/Atvainojiet

I do not speak Latvian – Es nerunāju latviski

I speak Latvian – Es runāju latviski

What are you doing tonight? – Ko tu šovakar darīsi?

Cheers – Priekā!

I love you – Es tevi mīlu

I like Latvia – Man patīk Latvija!




You might want to start with visiting the Old Town: narrow streets, warehouses from Middle Ages, dwelling houses and numerous churches. In some places, one has the feeling of having travelled in time, and returned to the previous centuries. The best places and buildings to see in the Old Rīga are St. Peter’s Church, Dome Church, John’s Church, John’s Court, Cat’s House, the Rīga Castle, Three Brothers, the Powder Tower, the Swedish Gate, the Freedom Monument, and numerous other places like parks, squares, museums and gardens. The Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) is one of the architectural styles that dominates Rīga and makes it so unique. The examples of it are found everywhere in the city, but you will see the most expressive ensembles built at the beginning of the 20th century gathered together in Alberta, Elizabetes, Antonijas, Vīlandes, and Strēlnieku streets. You will also find a number of museums, art galleries and concert halls to get better acquainted with the history, art and music of Latvia. However, a nice idea is to visit the Tourism Information Office, for some useful maps, guides and info. In Rīga the main tourist information offices are located at Kaļķu str. 16, Līvu Square (Līvu Laukums, Old Town) and on the Town Hall Square in Old Town Rīga (Rātslaukums 6).


The Latvian National Opera (LNO) is located in the centre of Rīga (Aspazijas Blvd. 5). The LNO puts up nearly 200 productions per season and prepares on average six new productions. The basic repertoire of the Opera includes the majority of the golden classics, the productions of which often turn into surprising and bold long-term projects, such as the productions of Richard Wagner’s tetralogy. Students of JVLMA upon presenting their ISIC card have free admission to the third balcony. More info:


Usually the theatre plays in Latvia are held in Latvian, and some also in Russian.

In most theatres students are offered a discount, just be prepared to show your Student Card.

ω Latvijas Nacionālais teātris (Kronvalda Blvd. 2)

ω Dailes teātris (Brīvības str. 75)

ω Jaunais Rīgas teātris (Lāčplēša str. 27)

ω Krievu drāmas teātris (Kaļķu str. 16)

ωĢertrūdes ielas teātris (Ģertrūdes str. 101a) Tickets for performances available on web at and gallery ISTABA, K. Barona str. 31a.RE TIME



There is also a wide range of museums in Rīga and Latvia which offers both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Some of the museums:

ω The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum – This popular museum seeks to showcase everyday Latvian life from the 16th to the19th centuries. The museum was founded in 1924 on parklands bordering a beautiful lake shore on the outskirts of Rīga.

ω Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940–1991 – The Museum reveals Latvia’s history from 1940 until 1991, when occupations by both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were experienced.

ω Rīga Bourse Art Museum – The former Rīga Stock Exchange is transformed in a wonderful art museum.

ω Museum of the History of Rīga and Navigation – This is one of the oldest museums in Europe and it deals with the history of Rīga from its foundation to 1940. Furthermore its Column Hall is one of the best premises for chamber music concerts.

ω Museum of Nature – This museum was founded in 1845, and its expositions deal with both the Latvian and international natural worlds. The exposition is divided into six sections: Geology, Botany, Zoology, Anthropology, Nature Protection, and Palaeontology. By the way the museum is located just across the street – in the front of entrance of JVLMA.

ω Turaida Museum-Reserve – Protected monument of culture established in 1988 and embracing the center of Sigulda

More info:


In Latvia there is still the tradition to show the movies in the original language with Latvian and Russian subtitles. Therefore it can be another great way how to spend your free time. Usually, the only dubbed films are the ones for children.

ω “Splendid Palace” (Elizabetes str. 61) – offers a very diverse programme with an emphasis on European cinema. Many Western movies reach Latvia earlier than its neighbour countries,

ω “K. Suns” (Elizabetes street 83/85) – specializes in intellectual cinema,

ω “Kino Citadele” (13. janvāra str. 8) – a huge multiplex cinema showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters as well as live performance opera transmission from legendary New-York Metropolitan Opera and live HD transmissions from The Bolshei Ballet, offers a wide choice of movies (up to 15 movies shown simultaneously), comfort and enormous screens,

ω Kino “Cinamon” (Shopping centre “Alfa”, Brīvības gatve 372),

ω “Multikino” (Mūkusalas str. 71),




If you have come to study in Latvia, you should spend some time out of town. Here are some places you really should see:

ω Jūrmala (which means “seaside” in Latvian) is easy accessible by train. Jūrmala is a famous spa-town 25 km from Rīga and stretches along the cost of the Gulf of Rīga. Its 30 km long sandy golden beach and pine forests attract holidaymakers, especially in spring and summertime. The architecture of Jūrmala with its small wooden houses still keeps the charm of the turn of the century. (N.B. Jūmala consists of many little towns, so, when going by train, do not be surprised that you cannot find a stop called “Jūrmala”).

ω Sigulda is located in the picturesque valley of the Gauja River. Hilly riverbanks, caves in sandstone, ruins of the medieval castles make this town so unique.

ω The Slītere Nature Reserve in the northern part of Kurzeme.

ω The system of lakes in Latgale.

ω The Rundāle Palace and the castle of Jelgava, which were constructed by the famous architect Rastrelli.

ω The Gauja National Park and the coastlines of the country.

ω A horse-riding center on the Lake Burtnieku.

ω Liepāja and Venstpils are famous for their capacious harbors as well as architecture of the beginning of the century.

ω The Etnographic Open Air Museum – 100 hectares and you'll feel like you've traveled backwards a hundred and fifty or so years when things were simpler, dirtier, and inevitably much harder on the body. Watch blacksmiths and other craftsmen do their thing, or try some “authentic” Latvian food and ale.


Maybe you have already heard somebody saying that Latvia is the country of songs (or that Latvians are the nation who sings at all times). Well, it is quite true (even if usually asked to sing, many will say that they cannot.. it is just Latvian modesty talking). The best place to see it is during the Song and Dance Festival in Latvia that takes place every five years (Next one in 2013). The festival usually takes place in late June, and lasts a week. The number of amateur singers and dancers usually is around 20,000. However there are also annual festivals that you can also enjoy in summer:

ω The Opera Festival in Rīga and Sigulda,

ω The Festival of Ancient and Renaissance Music in Bauska and Rundāle,

ω The Festival of Chamber Music in Cēsis, etc.

More info:


Furthermore, Latvia also offers many, maybe less serious events, such as Positivus in Salacgrīva, Laba Daba in Līgatne, Fonofest near Cēsis, Baltic Beach Party in Liepāja, etc.

More info:

There are many film festival, such as Baltijas Pērle, 2ANNAS, etc., which offer the possibility to see both Latvian and international films.

More info:


The most popular shopping centres:

ω Galerija Centrs (is located in the centre of Rīga)

ω Origo (is located near the Central Terminal)

ω Stockmann (is located in the centre of Rīga)

ω Spice

ω Olympia

ω Domina Shopping

ω Mols

ω Sky and more

ω Alfa

ω Rīga Plaza


There is a canteen in the main building which serves wide range of meals from local products for reasonable price.

Opening ours: But if you want to cook for yourself: in Latvia bakeries and butcher’s shops are not so common; it is more common to buy food and general goods in the supermarkets (Rimi, Maxima, Mego, Supernetto, etc.)


Here are approximate prices for some daily products:

loaf of white bread – 0.70 – 0.90 EUR

1 kg of cheese – 8.00 – 12.00 EUR

1 kg of tomatoes – depending on season 1.50 EUR – 4 EUR

1 kg of potatoes – depending on season 0.30 EUR – 0.65 EUR

1 kg of bananas – 1.60 EUR

1 chocolate bar (100g) – 1.00 EUR

1 l of milk – 1.00 EUR

0,5 l of beer – 1.00 – 2.00 EUR in a grocery/3.00 – 5.00 EUR in a bar

1,5 l of mineral water – 0.70 EUR

1 l of juice – 1.50 EUR

1 l yoghurt – 1.60 EUR

(The prices may change. All supermarkets have special discount programs every week.)

Apart from the supermarkets you can also go the Baltic’s largest market place that has occupied the converted Zeppelin hangars. In each of the five hangars or ‘pavilions’ you will find a different specialty – such as meat, fish, groceries and dairy products, whilst a number of stalls and canopies around the hangars sell everything from fresh produce to cheap socks and dodgy DVDs. It is located right behind the Bus station and is open daily from 7.00–17.00.



ω Don’t forget to use safety belts while seated in a car.

ω Latvian law requires drivers to use their headlights at all times, including during the day.

Drunk driving is considered to be a very serious offense. Penalties for driving over the blood alcohol limit (0.5) include a heavy fine and jail sentence.


Postage to other EU countries costs 0.65 EUR for postcards and 0.78 EUR for letters; to other countries postage costs 0.72 EUR for postcards and 0.85 EUR for letters. Stamps can be bought also in kiosks, and some bookstores. When sending postcards or letters, look for a yellow box with the word “Pasts” written on it.


LIGHT REFLECTORS – It is advisable to use the light reflectors attached to your bag, jacket etc., as it is easier for drivers to notice you on the road. Moreover, people not using the light reflectors on dark and poorly lit streets might get fined by the Police.

NO SMOKING – In Latvia there are many restrictions for those who smoke. Moreover, if you light up your cigarette in a restricted area, the police might make you pay a fine. Therefore, avoid having your cigarette break in the following places: clubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, pubs, nightclubs, cinemas, casinos, gambling halls, concert and sport venues (unless there is a special designated smoking area) at bus, trolley and tram stops, bus and train station platforms (and of course inside the vehicles), taxis, parks, children’s playgrounds, city squares, swimming areas and all the common areas (such as stairwells, hallways etc.). If you see a sign that says: “NESMĒĶĒT 10 m NO IEEJAS”, you should know that it means “DO NOT SMOKE 10 m FROM THE ENTRANCE”. You will find these signs by the main entrances of schools, public buildings, etc. For your information: in Latvia it is illegal to sell tobacco products to persons younger than 18, so be ready to show documents if asked.

ALCOHOL – Open containers of alcohol are restricted in all public places. Alcohol use outdoors in Rīga is permitted only in summer cafés and beer gardens. It is forbidden also for shops to sell alcohol after 22.00. And again, you might be asked to show your documents, when purchasing alcohol, to prove that you are older than 18.


As Latvia is in the middle of the Baltic States, it is quite easy to make some trips to Lithuania and Estonia. There is a good bus connection with the biggest cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Šiaulai in Lithuania, and Tallin, Johva, Narva, Parnu, Tartu in Estonia)

More info:,

A ferry also travels to Stockholm. More info: en/

If you have your passport with you, maybe it is also a great idea to get a visa and use the opportunity to visit Russia (visa costs approx. 50 EUR and is ready within 30 days).PLORING LATVI


There are 36 foreign embassies in Riga. All embassies (except the embassies of Belarus, Portugal and the People’s Republic of China) are located in Old Rīga or the adjacent Art Noveau district. Below is a full list with addresses:

Austria (15 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67216125)

Azerbaijan (2 Raiņa Blvd., phone: +371 67142889)

Belarus (12 Jēzusbaznīcas str., phone: +371 67222560)

Belgium (13 Alberta str., phone: +371 67114852)

Canada (20/22 Baznīcas str., phone: +371 67813945)

The Czech Republic (29a Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67217814)

Denmark (11 Pils str., phone: +371 67226210)

Estonia (13 Skolas str., phone: +371 67812020)

Finland (1 O. Kalpaka Blvd., phone: +371 67078800)

France (9 Raiņa Blvd., phone: +371 67036600)

Georgia (3-2 Raiņa Blvd., phone: +371 67213136)

Germany (13 Raiņa Blvd., phone: +371 67085100)

Greece (11 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67356345)

Hungary (4 Alberta str., phone: +371 67217500)

Ireland (13 Alberta str., phone: +371 67039370)

Israel (2 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67635500)

Italy (9 Teātra str., phone: +371 67216069)

Japan (7 Vesetas str. , phone: +371 67812001)

Lithuania (24 Rūpniecības str., phone: +371 67321519)

Moldova (14 Zigfrīda Annas Meierovica Blvd., phone: +371 67359160)

The Netherlands (4 Torņa str., phone: +371 67326147)

Norway (14 Zirgu str., phone: +371 67814100)

Order of Malta (19/2 Pulkveža Brieža str., phone: +371 67325402)

People’s Republic of China (5 Ganību Dambis str., phone: +371 67357023)

Poland (6B Mednieku str., phone: +371 67031500)

Portugal (60 Balasta Dambis str., Kipsala, phone: +371 67821924)

Russian Federation (2 Antonijas str., phone: +371 67332151)

Slovakia (8 Smilšu str., phone: +371 67814280)

Spain (11 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67320281)

Sweden (8 A. Pumpura str., phone: +371 67686600)

Switzerland (2 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67338351)

Turkey (2 A. Pumpura str., phone: +371 67821600)

Ukraine (3 O. Kalpaka Blvd., phone: +371 67243082)

United Kingdom (5 J. Alunāna str. , phone: +371 67774700)

The United States of America (7 Raiņa Blvd., phone: +371 67036200)

Uzbekistan (11 Elizabetes str., phone: +371 67322424)

There are also 18 foreign consulates in Rīga (Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippine, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sri Lanka, Uruguay), which are not located

only in the city centre, but can be found in various parts of the city, even in the outskirts. Therefore, do not forget to consult the map of the city, in order not to get lost.

USEFUL LINKS – Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music homepage, useful information about all study programmes, study plans, courses` description etc. – useful information about shops, health, public transportation, maps, etc. – Latvian National Concert Agency – Latvian National symphonic orchestra – Latvian National Opera (free admission with ISIC card) – State Chamber Orchestra – online booking office, tickets for concerts, theatre etc. – Riga City public transport: routes, maps, time tables, etc. – Events taking place in Riga, general information – The Institute of Latvia: information, facts about Latvia – Erasmus Student Network Riga

.lv – State office of citizenship and migration affairs

Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

K. Barona 1, Riga



371 67228684

371 67820271

Vice-rector for International Relations

Assoc. prof. Dr. Maija Sipola

Phone: +371 67223522

Fax: +371 67820271


Room 110


Gunta Miheloviča

Anita Alksne

Phone: +371 67222935


Room 112, open all working days 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


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