Sochi is a resort town in the Russian riviera, located on the shores of the Black Sea. It lies in the Krasnodar Krai region near the Caucasus Mountains. It covers an area of 3,505 sq kms and had an approximate population of 343,334 in 2010. The city has come into the spotlight since it was chosen to host the Winter Olympics of 2014 which starts from 7th of February and extends up to 23rd of February. Ninety-eight events will be held in this city during the Olympics. The Olympics will be arranged by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC). Ironically, it is one of the few places in Russia that has a subtropical type of climate and little snow.
During the time of the Roman Empire, the Zygii people lived in the area around Sochi. Several different tribes ruled here. The Christian settlements were often destroyed by the Mongol invaders and other nomadic tribes of central Asia. During the medieval period, the area came under the Ottoman Empire. The region was acquired by the Russians in 1829 and they established the Fort of Alexandria at the site of modern Sochi in 1838. The first Russian Orthodox Church was constructed here between 1864 and 1870. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Sochi gained the reputation of a resort town and developmental efforts were undertaken since 1934. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sochi became the new summer residence of the Russian President. It has come into the limelight in 2007 when it won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Sochi stretches for 145 kms along the shores of the Black Sea and has a varied relief. The highest summits of the Caucasus rise from 2,000 to 2,500 m and are located in the Adler district of Sochi. Towards the northwest in the Tuapse region, the summits are 300 to 800 m high. These mountains protect Sochi from cold continental air.
How to reach (transport)
You can travel to Sochi in the following ways :
- The best way to travel to Sochi is by air. The city is served by the Sochi International Airport, which was completely remodeled for the Olympics and opened in 2010. There are domestic flights to a number of destinations in Russia as well as international flights to Vienna, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, and the former member states of Soviet Russia.
- You can also travel to Sochi by train from various destinations of Russia and Ukraine. The connectivity improves in the summer season.
- Sochi is connected by the M4/E115 highway with Moscow. You can also travel to Sochi from Europe by road via Ukraine and Turkey. Regular bus services are available to a number of destinations in Russia as well as to Ukraine, Moldova, and Abkhazia.
- Sochi has been a popular port of call for cruise ships. In addition, regular international ferries are also available from Turkey and Georgia.
Due to its location, Sochi enjoys a humid subtropical type of climate. It is protected from the cold Siberian winds by the Caucasus ranges. Summers are warm, lasting from May to October, while winters are mild and last from December to February. The city enjoys 300 days of sunshine annually – higher than most Russian cities. Most of the precipitation falls in winter as snow, but there is little continuous snow cover. However, the mountains of Greater Sochi receive heavy snowfall. A short spring lasts from March to May and is a comfortable season with less rain.
When to Visit
If you want to ski, the winter is the best time to visit Sochi. However, July and August are the peak tourist season with the most comfortable climate though September and October are also good months to visit the town.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
Some of the important events and festivals celebrated in Sochi are as follows :
- The biggest festival of the town is Kinotavr or the Russian International Film Festival which is the largest of its type in the country. It is held in June. It attracts filmmakers from all over the world to display their talents.
- The annual Beer Festival is held in May at the exhibition center of the town where vendors offers a variety of beers from different regions.
- The Christmas Bazaar is held throughout December when a variety of local goods are offered for sale.
Places to visit in Sochi
There are a number of things to see in Sochi. Some of the most notable sights are as follows:
- Stalin’s Summer Residence contains a museum with a number of exhibits related to the leader.
- The Loo Temple is a Byzantine site constructed in the 10th to 12th century.
- The Sochi Art Museum is housed in the most beautiful building in the town and has the largest collection of art in the Black Sea coast.
- The Museum of Sochi Sport Honour opened only in 2010 and contains exhibits related to the history of the Olympic Games and Sochi’s participation in it.
- The Riviera Park is the biggest in town and offers a number of leisure attractions.
Accommodation in Sochi is expensive, but there are a number of choices. The RODINA Grand Hotel & SPA is a five star hotel while there are a number of four star hotels like Bounty, Villa Anna, Diana Palace, Green House Hotel, and Vesna Hotel. Three star hotels include Sochi-Breeze, Aks Hotel, and Hotel Prestige, while the two star hotels include Hotel Akvatoriya, Nairi Hotel, and Paradise Park Hotel.
Last Updated on: February 14th, 2018