Sochi is a place where high snow-capped mountains descend to a warm balmy sea. Its unique climate and nature have placed it among Russia's main health resorts. The first written mention of the city dates back to 1641 and belongs to the Turkish general and traveler Evliya Çelebi. However, people came here during the Early Paleolithic Age some 350-400 thousand years ago.
Russia overtook the city (or rather the area where it was later built) in the 19th century after the Russian-Turkish war.
Sochi was founded in 1838 as a fort with the name Alexandria. It received its present name in 1890 and was awarded official city status in 1917.
Sochi today is one of the most modern cities in Russia
In 2007, it was chosen as the venue of the 2014 Olympic Games. Preparations for this important event included the construction or reconstruction of hundreds of kilometers of roads, railway stations, an airport, seaports, concert halls, museums, hospitals, schools, and dozens of hotels. The entire infrastructure – social, housing and amenities, and transport – was overhauled.
Sochi has become even more attractive for tourists as it offers year-round active recreation, including hikes to the mountains and rafting on the scenic river Mzymta. Snowboarders will be flown to mountain heights by helicopter. More than one hundred gravel and sand beaches are expecting tourists in summer. There is a plethora of aquatic entertainments, including wet bike riding, parasailing, and scuba diving to sunken WWII ships.
The mountains, are only a 40 minutes ride from the beaches
The Caucasian Mountains where you can breathe warm moist sea air, enabling downhill skiing even in March.
Sochi is not only Russia's, but Europe's longest city (over 145 kilometers) and second in the world after Mexico City. Sochi is a city of natural and historical sights. Every step you take you'll find something new. Some cases in point are stone dolmens, a yew and boxwood forest growing on an area of 310 hectares, Stalin's summer residence, and more. Entertainment places include the Sky Park with the world's longest suspension bridge, Sochi Park, the Russian twin of Disneyland, and the famous Tea Houses.
Four ultramodern ski resorts – Rosa Khutor, Gorky Gorod, Laura Gazprom and Alpika Service – operate on a year-round basis at Krasnaya Polyana, with their own ski trails, Terrenkurs, an artificial beach, adventure parks and Aquatic Parks in summer.
The famous tree nursery in Sochi with its 1,800 exotic plants from all over the world deserves a special mention. If you decide to take the ropeway, you will enjoy the scenic mountain and sea views that will open from the highest point in the tree nursery.
Thanks to the Olympic Games, Sochi has become one of the main sports areas in Russia. The distinctive feature of many stadiums in Sochi is that they have been designed as venues for numerous sports events. Sochi hosts all kinds of different competitions from ice hockey and curling, to Formula1.
The resort's unique infrastructure has created the basis for event tourism and made it possible to shift the market for cultural, business, humanitarian and entertainment events to Sochi
In 2016, the city played host to over 200 various events, including the Sambo 70 tournament, ASEAN-Russia Summit, Sochi-2016 International Investment Forum, SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta, World Choir Games, Sochi Open Russian Film Festival (Kinotavr), New Wave International Musical Contest, and many others.
Sochi is emerging as an important cultural venue. Each year, the city hosts viola maestro Yuri Bashmet's winter festival and autumn concerts, a musical festival organized by pianist Denis Matsuyev, Igor Butman's International Jazz Festival, and many other events.
In the summer of 2017, Sochi will host FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 games, to be followed by the 20,000-strong World Festival of Youth and Students. All of this will provide for a steady flow of tourists and enhance Russia's prestige.
The Fisht Stadium, the main and the largest stadium in Sochi, and host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. This stadium hosted both the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies.
After the Olympics, the arena was reconstructed so that it could host football matches. Currently the stadium’s maximum capacity is 45,000 seats, including 5,000 additional mobile seats. In the summer of 2017, the stadium hosted three group stage matches and the semi-final of the Confederations Cup.
The stadium was named after the Fisht mountain located in the western part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. Fisht means “white head”, while the stadium’s roof resembles a glacier.
In 2018, the Fisht Stadium will host four group stage matches (on June 15, 18, 23 and 26), as well as two play-off matches – the round of 16 (on June 30) and the final eight (on July 7).
In 2018, a festival for football fans will be held on Sochi’s famous boardwalk as well.
By air: The Sochi International Airport is within 30 kilometers of the city center. This year, the Adler Air Terminal Complex has been recognized as Europe's best in terms of service. The airport handles over 60 domestic and foreign flights. It takes 2.20 hours on average to reach the city from Moscow. The price of a round-trip ticket is upwards of 5,000 rubles (82 euros).
By train: From two to four trains depart daily from the Kazansky and Kursky railway stations in Moscow. Ticket prices from Moscow starts at 5,300 rubles (90 euros). The average travel time is 36 hours, but there are express trains (23.20 hours).
By coach: The ticket prices start at 3,000 rubles (50 euros). Travel time from Moscow is 32 hours.
By car: The M4 Don Road is best for reaching Sochi from Moscow. The route is about 1,650 kilometers long and it can be covered within 20 hours.
Inside the city: Lastochka electric trains put into service for the Olympic Games are recognized as the most comfortable inner-city conveyance vehicles. It takes a mere hour to reach Krasnaya Polyana from the center of Sochi. Air-conditioned coaches adapted for people with disabilities are also available for travelling along the coast. In addition, Sochi has a large fleet of registered taxies.
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