Located at the shore of the Black Sea, Sochi is a popular holiday destination of Russia. The city is surrounded by 3000 m high mountains which is probably why it is the location of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
People have been living in Sochi since the Paleolithic which is shown by the findings at Akhtyrshskaya Cave – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ancient Greeks were trading with the tribes living here, later, in the Middle Ages the Byzantine Empire spread Christianity in the region, many forts and temples of the city are from this era.
The area was under Ottoman jurisdiction until the beginning of the 19th century when during wars it was annexed by Russia. It was named Sochi in 1896.
The development of the holiday complex started at the beginning of the 20th century, hotels, parks were built and tea plantations were established.
The medicinal effects of the sulphuric thermal water erupting nearby can be enjoyed in many spas and sanatoriums.
Plenty of examples of the Stalinist, Empire style buildings can be seen in the city, for example the train station, the Winter Theater, the Sochi Art Museum. Also, the Summer Residence of Stalin can be visited, it houses an exhibition of his personal belongings.
From the Byzantine times, the ruins of the Godlik Fortress and the Loo Temple give the visitor a unique insight into the early history of the city.
The so called Singing Fountains can be seen in the city center. They are a spectacular sight, the fountains „dance” and „sing” to a rhythm complemented by visual effects. It is open in summer nights.
The Sochi Art Museum houses the largest fine art exhibition in the Black Sea region. The collection of the Sochi History Museum is one of the oldest cultural sights of the city. In preparation for the Olympics, the Museum of Sochi Sport Honour was opened, it shows the history of the Olympics and also Sochi’s participation in the organisation.
In the Dendrarium the visitor can have a walk with a view of astonishing landscapes and a great panorama of the sea and the Caucasus.
The venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics was built at the shore of the Black Sea. The Olympic Park contains 47 buildings including the huge Fisht Olympic Stadium with a capacity of 40000, the venue of the opening and closing ceremonies.
The city hosts the Formula One Russian Grand Prix in 2014.