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Russian Federation
Krasnodar Krai
Type of Location
About Location

Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia,on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for 145 km (90 mi) along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains. According to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, the city had a permanent population of 343,300;up from 328,809 recorded in the 2002 Census, making it Russia's largest resort city.Sochi has been selected to be the host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 until at least 2020.It is also one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.The Zygii people lived in the area in antiquity. From the 6th to the 11th centuries, the area successively belonged to the kingdoms of Egrisi and Abkhazia who built a dozen churches within the city boundaries. From the 11th to the middle of the 15th century it was a part of the Georgian Kingdom. The Christian settlements along the coast were destroyed by the invading Gokturks, Khazars, and other nomadic empires whose control of the region was slight. The northern wall of an 11th-century Byzantinesque basilica still stands in the Loo Microdistrict.

Sochi is almost unique among larger Russian cities as having some aspects of a subtropical resort. Apart from the scenic Caucasus Mountains, pebble and sand beaches, the city attracts vacation-goers with its subtropical vegetation, numerous parks, monuments, and extravagant Stalinist architecture. About two million people visit Greater Sochi each summer,when the city is home to the annual film festival "Kinotavr" and a getaway for Russia's elite.A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 2,957 square kilometres (731,000 acres) Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, lies just north from the city.Sochi also has Europe's most northerly tea plantations. It is served by the Adler-Sochi International Airport. The Sochi Light Metro is under construction, projected to be complete by 2014.Sochi is also known for its sport facilities: a local tennis school spawned the careers of such notable players as Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Kafelnikov spent much of his childhood here, while Sharapova relocated to Florida at the age of 7). In late 2005, the Russian Football Union announced that it was planning to establish a year-round training centre for the country's national teams in Sochi. The city's warm climate was cited as one of the main incentives. And it's home of FC Zhemchuzhina who play in the Russian First Division.The Olympic facilities in Sochi are being built in areas that contain mass graves of Circassians that were killed during the Russian military campaigns lasting from 1860 to 1864.Circassian organizations in Russia and the Circassian diaspora around the world are asking for the construction on the remains of the Circassians to be halted, and not to hold the Olympics on the place of the genocide. Georgia passed a resolution on the 21st of May, 2011 recognising the Russian military campaign against the Circassians as a genocide, being the first country to do so.

How to Reach

By Air

Sochi's primary gateway is Sochi International Airport (IATA: AER ICAO: URSS), which is located in Adler district, right on the way to Krasnaya Polyana. It was totally reconstructed during the preparation to the 2014 Olympics. The new terminal was open in 2010 giving the city a chance to become a major regional air hub.Flight schedule differs depending on season with the peak number of flights in May-September. During the winter flight delays are possible due to weather conditions. Alternatively, Krasnodar or Gelendzhik airports can be used.

By Train

Sochi has two major rail terminals in Central Sochi and Adler. However, most trains make short stops at small transit stations of Great Sochi: Lazarevskaya, Loo, Dagomys, Matsesta and Khosta. Tickets can be purchazed via Russian Railways website [24] (at the moment the service is available in Russian only), at RZD counters, or via travel agencies. RZD opens ticket sales 45 days prior to ride, book in advance during the high season. There are regular train connections with key cities of Russia, and also with major cities of Belarus and Ukraine.

By Car

The M4 / E115 road connects Sochi with Moscow (1660 km) via Voronezh (1150 km), Rostov-on-the-Don (570 km) and Krasnodar (300 km).The quality of this busy road differs from a narrow serpentine to a highway depending on its section, tending to improve during last years. Normally it takes 2 days to reach the city from Moscow and 5-9 hours from Krasnodar, depending on traffic.Going to Sochi from Europe you can use transit roads through Ukraine or Turkey. In the last case a car can be transferred to Sochi from Trabzon by ferry. Please note that entering Sochi via Georgia and Abkhazia is impossible at the moment because of closed border between those two countries.

By Bus

Sochi main bus terminal is located right near the main train terminal in Central Sochi. The second important terminal is in Adler.

By Ferries

Going to Sochi by a cruise ship or by a regular ferry can be an attractive opportunity to visit Russia without visa. Passengers are allowed to stay up to 72 hours at Russian territory if they live at the cruise ship or at the hotel, which is arranged for this particular group tourist program.Unsurprisingly, up to now, most international tourists come to Sochi by cruise ships (please check the itinerary).The seaport of Sochi operates several regular international routes, mainly in the period from May to October.

Key places to visit
Saint Michael's Cathedral, Riviera Park, Sochi Art Museum, Sochi Olympic Park, The Singing Fontain


Places to Visit

Saint Michael's Cathedral

Is the oldest Orthodox church in Sochi and the entire Black Sea Oblast of the former Russian Empire. Its construction was decreed by Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia with a view to commemorating the victorious conclusion of the prolonged Caucasian War in 1864.The existing building was designed by Alexander Kaminsky. It was built between 1874 and 1890 with funds provided by Savva Mamontov and Count Felix Felixovich Sumarokov-Elston, among others. The church, long neglected by the Soviets, was restored in 1993. The domed baptistery and the sunday school were built next to the church in the 1990s.

Riviera Park

The most popular and the biggest public park of Greater Sochi, established in 1898 and fully renovated 100 years after. Riviera is an all-season sight.In summer it offers shadow and numerous leisure attractions, while in winter its silent alleys attract fans of quiet walks and solitude.The park has restaurants and bars, sports facilities, leisure centers, a cinema, and other attractions.The Green Theatre of the park is a venue for frequent concerts and festivals.But the main point of interest is probably Friendship Alley, established in 1960, with trees planted by famous politicians, celebrities and other well-known people. For example, 45 Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts planted their trees at this site. Free entrance.

Sochi Art Museum

The museum occupies one of the most beautiful buildings of Sochi, built in 1936.Its collection is the largest at the Black Sea coast (more than 5 000 items of various style and period from antique to contemporary).The exposition expands with new paintings of Sochi artists, regular solo exhibitions are organized.

Sochi Olympic Park

Imeretinskaya lowland of Adler district was chosen as the place of Sochi 2014 Olympic Coastal Cluster allocation (the Mountain Cluster is located at Krasnaya Polyana).Initially occupied with chaotically built private houses, this area started to be totally re-developed in 2007, seeming to be the largest construction site of modern Russia. As of 2011, the construction is on its midway and to be finished by the end of 2013.In 2014 the Olympic Park will be used for the Games opening and closing ceremonies, hockey, skating and curling competitions, and all medal award ceremonies. After the Games the park will become the city's legacy, while several competition venues will be transferred to other locations in Russia and the Olympic Village facilities will be converted into hotels and apartments.

The Singing Fontain

Located in the center of the city, at the corner of Kurortny Prospekt and Navaginskaya street, at the entrance to Sochi Trade Gallery.A pool with numerous water streams, and special sound and visual hardware, allowing the water to "sing" and "dance" in rhythym.The fontains operate only in summer evenings, when their visual effects are the best-seen.Initially constructed in 1970, the Singing Fontains were totally renovated in 2009.

Right Time to Visit

December - March
June - August


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