By: Sylvia Burley
Whether you plan on watching the Olympic Games in person or from the comfort of your own home, you may be wondering about the hosting city. Situated on the Black Sea and the western part of Russia, you’ll find a popular city located 1,000 miles from Russia. While considered to be one of the most well-known spots for tourists to vacation, Sochi is also steeped in history.
The long history of Sochi dates back to ancient times when the city was home to the Zygii inhabitants. After the 15th century, the area was run by mountaineer clans from the surrounding areas. In 1829, the region was ceded to Russia following the Russo-Turkish warring. Sochi grew in popularity throughout the years and was granted municipal rights in 1914. The current population of the city is near 400,000.
It may hard to believe, but Sochi is known for its subtropical climate toward the lower elevations, with temperatures in the summer a comfortable 77 to 82 degrees. The average temperature in the winter months is around 43, with approximately 60 inches of precipitation every year.
The topography of Sochi can vary. The city stretches for 90 miles along the Black Sea and sits at a lower elevation than most of the areas that surround Sochi. It also has scenic views of the Caucasus Mountains that can stretch for miles, giving the residents and visitors a breathtaking picture of the city. It also features sandy beaches and clean waters, making it especially popular from June to September.
Winter Olympic Events
With Sochi being a favored resort town, many are wondering how well it will host the winter games in the New Year. However, Sochi is magnificent and boasts the best of both worlds. Events for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held along the mountainous and coastal clusters at the base of the Caucasus Mountains, making it an ideal spot for the various sporting events. Sochi’s venue outlook was the primary reason the area was chosen over Salzburg. The Olympic Games will hold over 11 new venues that have been tightly shielded from public view.
Although private shuttle company, www.shuttledirect.com, is a great way to get to and from the airport in most European countries, Sochi has other options for airport transfers and to get you around the city including trains, ferries, taxis, trolleybuses and minibuses known as “marshrutki.” They plan to have English speaking bus and train operators. You can also easily walk the city or rent a bike at one of 30 locations for a small deposit.
The nearby attractions of Sochi are plentiful with the DendraryBotanical Garden rated as the number one spot for visitors. Here you’ll find a 30 acre spread with over 1,800 varieties of plant life, fountains, sculptures and wild life. Travelers can also take a glimpse into the life of Joseph Stalin at his summer residence in Sochi. The home boasts a wax statue, amazing architecture, giant chess board, pool table, fountain and spacious courtyard.
This popular resort community was chosen for its history, unique characteristics, sporting venues and close proximity to the spectacular Caucasus Mountains. There is plenty to see and experience in Sochi and travelers will find the area bountiful in eateries and lodging. It also boasts an exciting nightlife with pubs, clubs and bars. While the temperatures will be warmer than most other Olympic Games, visitors will still want to secure warm clothing.
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