Sochi: The Summer Capital of Russia

Sochi
Panorama of the resort city of Sochi
©iStockphoto.com/Elena_Kutnikova

Situated on the Black Sea coast, just north of the southern Russian border in Krasnodar Krai, is the city of Sochi, often called the summer capital of Russia. Spending a vacation in this legendary city is as prestigious among Russians as going on a holiday abroad. Out of all the cities on the Black Sea coast, Sochi is the third largest city by the number of tourists after the Ukrainian Odessa and the Bulgarian city of Varna.

Geographical location and climate

Sochi is located at the same latitude as Nice on the Mediterranean coast of France. The subtropical climate of Sochi is comparable to the climate of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The summers are hot and humid and the winters are warm, although there might be occasional snow and frost during wintertime.

The average annual temperature in Sochi is 57°F (14°C). During the summer months of July and August, expect the sea temperature between 77 and 84°F (25-29°C ). The number of cloudy days in Sochi does not exceed 66 days a year. Geographical position and climate in Sochi is actively used for the development of the tourism industry.

Sochi – a major tourist center

Krasnaya Polyana Skiing near Sochi
Ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana
near Sochi. Photo by Lite cc-by-sa 3.0

Sochi has something to offer in any season. In summer, thousands of tourists relax on long and clean beaches. In winter, Sochi's ski resorts entice travellers with breathtaking scenery, excellent trails and spacious cablecars.

Sochi boasts clean air, mineral springs that heal many deseases, and wonderful nature—the forests near the city are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city's world-class sanatoriums, vacation homes, camping sites and tourist centers welcome tens of thousands of visitors that come to Sochi every year. Sochi's numerous restaurants will please your taste buds with Russian, Georgian and Ukrainian cuisines. The city accomodaition ranges from luxurious five-star hotels to affordable hotels with prices that won't bite into your wallet.

Olympic Winter Games 2014

Sochi Olympic venues
President Medvedev examines the model
of planned Sochi Olympic venues
Photo by www.kremlin.ru

Sochi will host Russia's first Winter Olympics in 2014. Although the city submitted bids for the Olympic Games twice before—in 1994 and 1998—it only won the rights to host the games the third time.

In September 2009, Sochi became a member of the World Union of Olympic Cities, and the city is actively preparing to host XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games of 2014.

Major developments are underway to build new sports facilities and modernize the transportation system. All athletic venues planned for the Sochi 2014 Games will be divided into two clusters—Coastal and Mountain—each of which will contain its own Olympic Village. It will only take five minutes to get from the Olympic Village to a competition venue in the Coastal cluster, and 15 minutes in the Mountain cluster.

The opening and closing ceremonies will take place in the "Fisht" Olympic Stadium of the Coastal cluster. Ice hockey, curling, figure skating and speed skating competitions will also take place in this cluster. The venues of the Mountain cluster will host biathlon and ski races, alpine skiing, ski jumping, luge, bobsleigh, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding events.

Fun fact: Sochi will be the first city with a subtropical climate to host Winter Olympic Games.

Population of Sochi

According to the 2010 Census, the population of Sochi was 343,300 inhabitants. The population of the wider territory known as the Resort City of Sochi Municipal District comprised 415,087 inhabitants.

The city of Sochi has a long history and archaeologists are still finding various historical monuments there. The territory of Sochi was previously inhabited by nomadic tribes. Today, the majority of population in Sochi are Russians (61.4%). Other ethnic groups living in Sochi include Greeks (16.9%), Circassians (6.2%), Armenians (4%), Moldovans (3.1%), Georgians (0.2%), Ukrainians and some others. In summer, the population of Sochi spikes as a wave of "seasonal workers" migrate into the city. The locals of Sochi are rather hospitable and welcome new visitors.

XXII Olympic Winter Games Countdown

Here are a few Russian words to help you understand the interactive countdown widget above.

До XXII Олимпийских зимних игр в Сочи - Till XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi
До XI Паралимпийских зимних игр в Сочи - Till XI Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi

дней - days
недель - weeks
месяцев - months
года - years

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